Free SharePoint Organizational Chart WebPart SimpleChart for SharePoint

I have written all sorts of organizational chart WebParts in the past leveraging various rendering engines and complex ruling, outputting in various formats with assorted hooked behavior wired to the org chart. Having studied users while they are interacting with the org chart software, something that I found is glitzy, flashy eye-candy org chart features have about an interest shelf-life of 5 minutes for the typical user. While numerous business circumstances can cultivate all types of useful material to incorporate into the software, they rarely make a long-term practical contribution to the applicability of the org chart software, and in my opinion deteriorate the direct usefulness. As by definition an organization chart is a diagram that shows the structure of an organization and the relationships and relative ranks of its parts and positions/job keeping it strictly within this scope is vital for product success.

So I decided to sit down, and write an organizational chart WebPart that just makes an org chart. That’s it. It draws an org chart. It doesn’t do anything else. But it sure can draw an org chart. A really simple one that is consummately faster than contestant WebParts.

To realize this requirement, I decided to utilize the Google Visualization API since it supplied fundamental minimum functions to integrate obligatory, decisive features. Using a primitive SharePoint list as the visualization data source it is also very unpretentious, generic and not irrevocably bound to an automated source. This obviously has pros and cons, but for me having control over the display is a big pro.

Outside of the lean features provided by the Google Visualization API, I wanted something that used a rendering engine that I didn’t have to maintain or even one that another company maintained and pushed out components as a shared library. I have had problems with that in the past with organizations using analogous libraries, and they might move a little quicker than I in retrofitting, so products reference discrepancy can occur.

Lastly, I wanted something small….a really concise solution not composed of numerous moving parts (under 10k packaged). Just a very maintainable, low chance of exception approach that had zero gold plating while staying within the realm of what a functional org chart should do. I wanted it as lean as possible, focusing not on features but on rendering speed.

Onto the SimpleChart WebPart!

The WebPart description file is Feature controlled, so activate the SimpleChart For SharePoint Feature from the  Site collection features:

9-29-2009 3-36-09 PM

One the activated the WebPart is pretty easy to find from the gallery:

9-29-2009 3-38-05 PM

Here are the default WebPart properties. Some of the properties will assume default values when not provided (like color etc.), others are necessary for the WebPart display.

9-29-2009 3-12-42 PM

Display Properties

The org chart has nominal configurable properties to manipulate the WebPart display:

9-29-2009 3-16-54 PM

(1) Allow HTML If in the SharePoint list feed, the strings are stored as HTML tags they will be rendered as HTML. Best to keep this on.

(2) Allow Collapse If you want to be really fancy, this makes the boxes collapse up and down. Oh la la.

(3) Background Color – For each element in the org chart the Hex Triplet (HTML Color) provided will apply style to the *unselected* boxes.

(4) Selected Color – For each element in the org chart the Hex Triplet (HTML Color) provided will apply style to the *selected* boxes.

Operational Properties

The other properties are related directly to the WebPart operation. In order to support a generic list datasource, the WebPart expects you to provide the SharePoint list name and associated field names, correlating to the properties of the user. Don’t worry about CAML delimiters; the WebPart will parse all the values correctly internally. So, before you start using the WebPart, make a list with:

  • Employee Name
  • Superior ID
  • Employee Title
  • Employee Phone
  • Employee Address
  • Employee Email
  • Employee City
  • Employee State
  • Employee Country

9-29-2009 3-19-06 PM

So what’s it look like? Here is a screenshot of my list data source:

9-29-2009 3-21-24 PM

Now in the above, take note that the TITLE FIELD IS CHANGED TO EMPLOYEE TITLE. I used a custom list as the base template. If you really want you can download it here. I didn’t want to have a field that had no relevancy in the list, so it is best to repurpose it to hold the employee title.

The output from this data in SimpleChart is:

9-29-2009 3-32-31 PM

Pretty much all the fields being used are self -explantory. Superior (Manager) ID is the integer that correlates to to the Employee ID of the desired branch, that is pretty much the only relational field. Obviously, toggling the color values you can make some pretty awful charts:

9-29-2009 3-41-40 PM

leads to this beauty:

9-29-2009 3-43-00 PM

If you want support, use the contact form and drop me a line, leave something in the comments, whatever. I can tailor probably tailor the part to your organization requirements as well if you need help.



Download is down, new version out 10/16/2009 COB.


You can download the new version here.

I am considering extending the data sources to use either profiles or AD DS lookups as well. If there is sufficient interest I might just do that. Leave feature requests in the comments! I generally will put them if I I get bored.


74 thoughts on “Free SharePoint Organizational Chart WebPart SimpleChart for SharePoint”

  1. This…is…fantastic.

    We already implemented it for project based org charts (to describe teams). In under an hour were getting positive feedback.

    One of the better WebParts I have used.

    Thanks Adam!

  2. Very nice WebPart Adam. We are using it on our project sites to build out team visuals.

    I like the idea of having some level of automation, but only as a side note. I think one of the reasons this is so nice is because you are not forced to use it in a particular context. But having the option would nice.


  3. It is definitly nice, but one thing I wouldn’t mind seeing added is the ability to move some of the org chart information to ToolTips.

  4. This is fabulous!! The AD datasource would be amazing or, in a perfect world, both an ad and custom list where the list can override relationships from ad. Great work!

  5. I would be very interested to see the extension of this webpart’s data sources to include using profiles, AD DS and AD/LDS. It would also be nice to have a way to specify a level or starting point for where the Org Chart begins. A better way to explain it would be to allow a way to specify a “Superior ID” to begin the chart with. If using user profiles, it may be necessary to only show an org chart relative to a particular team etc.

  6. Looks great – very functional and informative. I like the AD lookup option, as we are using AD to run our SP security. Another potential enhancement would be to see pictures of the empolyees from a image list.

  7. I have done everything right even the list i used yours but iam getting message that add some items to list. the items are already there. Even my custom list is not working . :S

  8. Excellent work! I can see a lot of uses for this. Does the google visualization API require a connection to the internet? If so it might be worthwhile noting that. Simple and easy to use is definitely what people want in the org chart.

  9. Hi, I have install the datasource and the webpart and done all configuration as explained but I always get this message

    “Please Add Items To The Org Chart list”

    Any idea?

  10. Same problem as Adeel, everything seems correct, list names, property names, but still same message :(

  11. I have ran the v2 install twice and still do not see the feature in the Site Collection Features. No errors on the install. Any ideas?

  12. Hi Kevin,

    I fixed this problem wiht manual Deployment

    Central Administration > Operations > Solution Management.

  13. Hi,

    I Install V2 in MOSS2007 SP2, in ActiveDirectMode work fine, but in SharePointListMode show this:
    “Please Add Items To The Org Chart list” Same error in version.

    My Farm
    02 – WebFronts in loadBalance
    01 – DataBase Server (SQL2008)

  14. @ Niccollas: Interesting, what does your list look like? That particuarlly error occurs when the exception is an ArgumentException when trying to build the list out, so the problem is *something* regarding the data source.

  15. extending the data sources to use either profiles or AD DS lookups is a great idea. Please go ahead. I would also like to learn how you did all this as well.

  16. OrgChart software is the Powerful Organizational Chart Software helps you to build Succession Planning Chart, Organizational Structure, Enable Resource Planning and Employee Communications.

  17. Having the same issue as Niccollas with the error message “Please Add Items To The Org Chart list” and I’ve successfully deployed and activated the feature. We have several sites within a site collection and workspaces under the sites. We would like to have an OrgChart list in each workspace (i.e., each of our projects needs its own project org chart with a PM at the top).

    Could really use your web part if I could get it to work. Is it looking for a single list at the site collection level? or is the context set to the local site/workspace? If you have this as open source, we can customize it to fit our needs.

  18. I have downloaded the package and ran the install but I cannot find the webpart. I have looked under the site collection features to enable it but it is not there. It is also not listed when I go to web parts under galleries. Any ideas? The install says everything completed successfully. I don’t know if it makes any differnce but my inetpub directory is not on the C drive it is on d.

  19. Brad:

    You have to deploy the solution from the SharePoint solution store. The install script only adds the solution

    @ everyone else having issues:

    I will look into the list datasource stuff this weekend. Sorry for the folks having issues.

  20. We tend to get a bit anxious about Google APIs in our shop. Does the WebPart have any hooks back into Google?

  21. Any update on the “Please Add Items to The Org Chart list” message? I’ve tried everything I can thing of and it never changes. There was mention of posting the source.. if that’s up somewhere I could take a swipe at figuring it out.

  22. I am also having problems with the install. I have added the solution, and deployed it. If I go into the central administration, it says that the solution is deployed to all applicable URL’s. However it does not show up in the site features to activate, or in the web parts list in SharePoint. Am I missing something?

  23. Nevermind, I figured it out. I needed to be logged in as administrator, so I could site collection features. That is where it gets activate, not under site features.

  24. Looks good. But I can do the same thing with Visio file exposed via a page view. Or better still a CorasWorks chart view. And that solution offers options to make the content actionable from the UI.

  25. Did you ever post the source? I love the web part but I need to hyperlink each box to the user’s profile page. I thought I would be able to do this with an additional column and some css

  26. Can you please provide the installation step for “SimpleChart For SharePoint”
    i can see the solution package on central administration.
    but after that i could not bring the webpart on to the site webpart gallary.

    can you please help.
    i am looking for org chart that should be created from sharepoint list.

  27. Hi Adam,

    I tried your webpart and wanted to see how it looks.I can see the webpart in central administration but not in the webpart gallary of the site.
    can you please let me know the instructions and if possible can share the source code..


  28. Adam,

    This is great, I have it working on lists, and looks and works beautifully.

    I was curious if at some point you plan to allow for the customisation of the list fields to display additional information and hide what you don’t want to see?

    Thanks for creating something and freely distributing it.


  29. Hi Adam,
    I have it installed and made a custom list with four records filled out completely, but I’m still getting the following error: “Please add items to the Org Chart list”. Any idea what might be happening?

    Do the list and column names need to match exactly like your example above? Is it possible to see more documentation on setting up the webpart for using AD? Are there default columns used for AD?


  30. Hi Adam,

    This would be perfect for me if I could edit the fields. Please do publish the source or (if your feeling extra generous) allow some user customisation of the lookups so it can be connected to different fields.



  31. Under site collection features I don’t have SimpleChart for SharePoint? Is it something I need to import to SharePoint initially?

  32. hi,

    We have a typical issue here, the number of nodes at a particular level comes to around 500 employees or more. But the moment the number of elements at a particular level increases as above (500 or more), the web part does not get displayed.

    We checked out the view sources of the page on which the webpart is placed, the data is retrieved, but the webpart does not display the data..

    Any limitations here, you help will be highly appreciated.


  33. For those who get “Please add items to the Org Chart list”

    Make sure that your associated field names do not have an extra space after them. This resolved the issue for me.

  34. I am getting below error
    Please Add Items To The Org Chart list

    even after checking space and same field name usage.
    Kindly help.

  35. Hello Adam

    Can you please publish the Source Code. As I need to make some changes. I would really appreciate if you do that.

    Thank you

  36. Great idea, shame it doesn’t work! I still get Please add items to the Org Chart list. Perhaps if you published the source the community could help solve this problem.

  37. Hi Adam,
    My client need a chart like this with photo. If you dont mind please share the source code. I will share after the change made…

    Thanks In Advance

  38. Hi Adam,

    I have installed the solution on my Moss 2007 server and have activated the feature from site collection features. I am unable to see the webpart from the add webpart option in the gallary. could you please help?

  39. I solved the issue by manually importing the orgchart.webpart into the gallary. I have a list with ID, Title and ParentID. When I try to configure your column configuration for list mode and enter these 3 as Employee ID, Name and Manager ID, it gives me error

    General Error : Cannot perform ‘=’ operation on System.Int32 and System.String.


  40. Finally managed to configure it. Apparently even the ID fields are to be all text fields, integer columns are not supported. Also an apostroph in the surname like Cruela D’Ville is not supported.

  41. Trying to install Org chart. Install seemed uneventful, but when I select the webpart, I get the following message under Import Error Message:

    Cannot import this Web Part.

    Then I apply the setting for SharepointListMode, including setting up the the list and all I get is this error that says: Please Add items to the Org Chart list.

    Can someone help?

  42. Hi,

    I have installed the Chart WebPart and activated the feature successfully.

    But when I place the WebPart on the page and set its properties, it is unable to show anything.The chart does not come up at all.It seems to me that the Webpart is not able to fetch data from the list.I have tried using the list template available on the site too, but the end result is same.

    Can any one help with this?


  43. Hi Adam,

    This is a great post but we as a developer are more interested in the code so is it possible for you to share the code or just you can guide us the approach or the API used for creating this kind of component.

    Looking forward for your reply.


  44. Hi there

    This solution looks great.

    I have been able to install the web part but I get a “Sandboxed code execution Request failed”
    Can you please advise

    Thanks in advance


  45. Blank web part and ‘please wait while scripts are loaded’ in status. Wouls love to be able to use this interesting web part. Any chance on making it Open Source so we can ‘stand on the shoulders…’ :)

  46. Hello All,

    Even after doing all the configuration and feature activation plus custom list creation when i am trying to add the web part and selecting the custom list it display error message “please add items to the org chart list”

    Kindly help how to resolve the issue.

  47. Hi
    I’ve installed this webpart but i can’t add it to new site. I can not find it in web parts list. I see only default SP web parts.
    I use SP 2010 Fundation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *