How to Draw Data Trees in Excel

by Jason Artman

Because Microsoft Excel 2010 has a selection of lines and shapes that you can add to documents, it is useful program for far more than spreadsheets. By putting borders around items and drawing lines to connect them, you can use Excel to create a data tree containing information such as a decision tree or genealogical history. If you do not have a dedicated program for creating trees and flowcharts, use an Excel spreadsheet instead.


Launch Excel 2010 and begin working on a new spreadsheet. Click the cell where you want the top item of the data tree to appear. Begin around cell J1 for a vertical tree or cell A10 for a horizontal tree to allow sufficient room for branches.


Click the "Home" tab at the top of the window. Click the arrow next to the Border button in the "Font" section of the toolbar and select "Thick Box Border" to draw a border around the tree item.


Click a cell a short diagonal distance from the first cell. For example, if you put the first tree item in cell J1, click cell "H4." Type the first item that you want to connect to the item you entered in the first cell and then place a border around it. Repeat this step using different cells to add additional branches below the first item on the tree.


Click the "Insert" tab at the top of the window and then click the "Shapes" button in the "Illustrations" section of the toolbar. Select an appropriate shape to use for the branches of the data tree such as a straight line or arrow. Click and drag to draw a line from the first item on the tree to one of the branches and then repeat this process to connect the remaining items.


Repeat Steps 3 and 4 to add additional items and branches to the tree.

About the Author

Jason Artman has been a technical writer since entering the field in 1999 while attending Michigan State University. Artman has published numerous articles for various websites, covering a diverse array of computer-related topics including hardware, software, games and gadgets.

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