I am designing org charts using PowerPoint 2010 (because they will need to be edited by people without design software) and it's becoming maddening.

I decided to use the smart art feature because it seemed flexible and easy at first. I'm using the hierarchy preset. When I resize a box, it resizes and even moves all or some of the others. The way it will react is unpredictable.

Is there a way to disable this feature so that I can resize boxes independently and still keep the good features of smart art, such as lines following the boxes when you move them.

I've contacted Microsoft and worked with one of their chat people and it led me to this: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2007-word/smart-art-re-sizing-issue/068cea45-7ee6-4883-89e2-f434dfcdc006

Others have been unable to resolve this problem. Can SE do it? Thanks, Ian

3 Answers 3


I've found similar problems which I have been unable to resolve, and so have gone back to drawing organisation charts using plain old text boxes and connectors ("lines following the boxes when you move them" - usually Elbow or Elbow Arrow connectors)

Also, often I want to highlight a single box by filling it with a different colour from the others, which I don't think you can do with Smart Art org charts.

One thing that'll help is making sure your Grid and Guides are set to "Snap objects to other objects" and "Display smart guides when shapes are aligned".

  • @IanGraham: I think this is the best option. This wil give you the "lines following the boxes when you move them" feature you mention in the question as a feature from SmartArt you would want.
    – Aᵂᴱ
    Aug 31, 2012 at 12:34

The SmartArt is a "magic tool" that makes you able to concentrate on content rather than design. It does the design for you. If you want to control the design yourself, you are probably better off using other tools. If you don't wan't it to be smart, then Smart-Art is probably not the way to go...

I understand very well that this frustrates you as a designer, but the SmartArt is for common people that are not designers, and for most of the average users, the results using SmartArt will be much better than if they were responsible for handling the design themselves. The automatic re-sizing and positioning that happens is because everything should be aligned nicely within the SmartArt area.

If the user manages to mess up the positioning and sizes, there is a Reset Graphic button that will re-size and align everything as equally as possible.


2.Under SmartArt Tools, on the Format tab, in the Shapes group, do one of the following: Then, To make the shape bigger, click Larger (click the icons). To make the shape smaller, click Smaller( click the icons).

You can also use the drag handler in this screen and change the size as you please.

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