How to Make a Tree Diagram (Hierarchy Generation)

You can draw a tree diagram box by box or you can generate it from the text list. Software Ideas Modeler offers a handy solution which allows you to create a tree diagram very easily within seconds.

What Is a Tree Diagram?

A tree diagram (also known as hierarchy chart) is a type of an oriented hierarchical diagram. It is usually a top-down diagram (but also other directions are possible). It is a diagram without loops. It represents a composite structure with a root in the beginning (on the top), followed by branches and leaves that do not have any other parts or subhierarchies (on the bottom).

Tree Diagram Terminology

Root - the first element in the hierarchy. It does not have any parents. All other nodes come from this element.

Branch - an element in the middle of the hierarchy. It has a parent and also children (subnodes).

Leaf - a last element in the hierarchy. It has a parent but it does not have any children (subnodes).

Sibling - an element that comes from the same parent as another element.

How to Generate a Hierarchy Diagram

If you want to create a hierarchical diagram:

  • switch to the Project tab in the ribbon, and click on the Hierarchy Diagram button in the Generate Diagram group.
  • in the classic menu interface, you can find the option in Project / Generate Diagram / Hierarchy Diagram
Hierarchy Generation - Definition
Hierarchy Generation - Definition

It shows the Hierarchy dialog. There are two tabs in the dialog - General and Advanced. The General tab allows you to choose diagram type - it may be any diagram types (UML, ERD, etc.) - flowchart is set as the default option.

In the other drop-downs, you can specify the element for boxes and for the connectors. Flowchart process is the default option for the boxes and flowchart flow is used for connectors by default.

The largest part of the window is the text area called Definition. You can enter (or paste) your list of items there. The hierarchy is resolved by the indention of particular text lines. You can use e.g. hyphens or whitespaces for the line indentation.

Advanced Tree Settings

Hierarchy Generation - Settings
Hierarchy Generation - Settings

The second tab, called Advanced, offers plenty of parameters and settings you can use to adjust the generated result.

You can choose the direction of the generated connectors:

  • From child to parent (default)
  • From parent to child

Connector line style drop-down allows you to decide which type of connectors will be used in the tree:

  • Straight
  • Oblique
  • Rectangular
  • Rounded Rectangular
  • Smooth
  • Circle
  • Curve

The tree does not need to be created only from top to bottom; you can choose any direction:

  • Left to right
  • Right to left
  • Top to bottom
  • Bottom to top

You can also set the size of boxes for tree nodes and the offsets between tree nodes in both dimensions. The layout can be adjusted using these parameters:

  • Box width
  • Box height
  • Level offset
  • Sibling offset

Tree Diagram Generation

After clicking on the OK button, a new hierarchy chart based on the specified definition will be generated and added to the project.

Example of Tree Diagram

A tree diagram example based on a flowchart, generated using the Generate Hierarchy feature:

Tree Diagram Example
Tree Diagram Example

Hierarchy Diagram Tool

This tutorial describes hierarchy generation tools in our hierarchy diagram maker Software Ideas Modeler and how to work with them.

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