Organization charts are a special type of flowchart that shows a hierarchy. You could create an organization chart with the flowchart shapes or by drawing rectangles and the lines between them, but with the Organization Chart template in Visio, you can take advantage of several very efficient features:
Although an up-to-date organization chart is useful in itself, Visio also stores information about an employee as custom properties of a shape. For example, an employee shape can include custom properties for name, department, telephone number, e-mail address, and other information, as Figure 10-1 shows. As with custom property data in other Visio drawings, you can use the data to generate reports, export spreadsheets or database files, or simply store the data with the chart.
Figure 10-1. You can use a diagram to track information about employees as custom properties, which you can create or import.
The Organization Chart template provides tools that aren't available with any other Visio solution. When you start a drawing with the Organization Chart template, Visio adds the Organization Chart toolbar, as Figure 10-2 shows. This toolbar is your clue not to rearrange shapes manually—Visio will do it for you. To adjust the layout and position of a department, select the department's top-level shape, such as a manager, and then click a button on the toolbar. Use the new Auto-Arrange Shapes button to adjust the spacing and layout of the entire chart. If you close the Organization Chart toolbar, you can reopen it by choosing View, Toolbars, Organization Chart.
Figure 10-2. Quickly rearrange departments or the entire chart with these Organization Chart toolbar buttons.
The Organization Chart menu repeats the layout options on the toolbar and includes additional layout styles in the Arrange Subordinates command. Other commands help you use the chart to locate people as well as import, export, and compare organizational data, as Figure 10-3 shows.
If you created an organization chart in Visio 2000 or Visio 5c (the Business Bonus Pack), you can open it in Visio 2002 to work with all of the organization chart tools.
Figure 10-3. The Organization Chart menu contains commands specifically designed for working with organizational data.
However, if your organization chart was created in Visio 5b or earlier, you must convert the diagram to have access to the organization chart features in this version. To convert an older organization chart, start Visio without opening any drawings. Choose Tools, Macros, Organization Chart, Organization Chart Converter. The converter leads you through the necessary steps, as Figure 10-4 shows. Converting creates a new Visio drawing file. Your original organization chart isn't changed.
Figure 10-4. You must convert organization charts created in Visio 5b or earlier to work with the tools in Visio 2002.