How to Quickly Make a Decision Tree in PowerPoint By Customizing Templates
When it comes to communicating your ideas visually, it’s hard to beat PowerPoint. Its powerful yet easy-to-use interface has made it ubiquitous. No wonder “PowerPoint” has become synonymous to “presentation.”
And with PowerPoint templates, you can visualize anything without starting from scratch. Your imagination and creativity are the only limits to where you can take a PowerPoint template. They’ve become so easy to use that you can customize a template to fit a variety of needs and get professional-looking results.
In this article, I’ll be customizing a mindmap template from Envato Elements to create a simple decision tree.
Decision Trees In Your Presentation
A decision tree is a visualization of a decision point, the various alternatives you’re considering, and the probable implications of each choice.
You may want to include a decision tree in your presentation for several reasons:
Use a decision tree to help your audience think through a decision and weigh the pros and cons of various options.
Include a decision tree to give the rationale for your proposed course of action and gain support for it.
Your audience will better understand your decision tree—and stay actively engaged in your presentation—if you make it visually compelling.
A PowerPoint template helps you do just that.
Keep reading to find out how to create a decision tree in PowerPoint using a slide template.
The decision tree PowerPoint slide I’m creating is for this decision point: Should Acme company allocate $25,000 of its advertising budget on Facebook ads or a trade show?
I’ll use the Expected Value of each to show why one option is clearly better than the other. (Note: The figures in the decision tree I’m creating are make-believe data for a fictitious company, Acme Inc.)
How to Customize a Slide Layout to Create a Decision Tree in PowerPoint
I chose this template because it offers dozens of mindmap slide templates, and mindmaps most closely resemble the decision tree I want to make. PowerPoint templates for flowcharts, organization charts, and timelines also work well as the basis for decision tree diagrams.
A decision tree has two basic parts:
nodes contain ideas, assumptions, or facts. You may choose to use different shapes to distinguish different types of information that nodes can contain:
square or rectangle nodes hold a question, criterion, or option
circle nodes show uncertainties, such as probabilities
triangle nodes denote stopping or end-points
branches connect nodes with each other
Ultimately, you get to decide what your decision tree will look like. You can follow the convention or get as creative as you like, depending on your goals and your audience.
With those basics in mind, let’s create a decision tree in PowerPoint.
1. Draw the Decision Tree on Paper
The first step to creating a decision tree in PowerPoint is to make a rough sketch of it… on paper. It’s much easier to make corrections on paper than on the actual PowerPoint slide, so don’t skip this step.
Your initial drawing doesn’t have to include any design details, such as specific shapes, colors, and text styles. You do need all the information you want to include in your decision tree.
Here’s what my rough sketch looks like:
This sketch also comes in handy when you choose a PowerPoint template, which is the next step of this process.
(Note: In the screenshots that follow, I’m using Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac version 16.26. If you’ve got a different version of PowerPoint, then your interface and workflow may be slightly different.)
2. Choose & Download a MindMap Template
Find a PowerPoint template with a diagram that already closely resembles your sketch. You’ll make your work much easier if you minimize the amount of customization you need to do.
If you’re choosing from the thousands of PowerPoint templates in Envato Elements, you can download as many as you want and look at each slide template to find one in the format and style you want.
When you’ve found and downloaded the best diagram template for your decision tree, copy the template first before editing it.
Copying the template before editing it makes it easy for you to revert to the default settings, if you ever need or want to start from scratch. This also allows you to use the template for other projects in the future, without having to download it again.
(If you forget to do this step, don’t worry. You can download templates from Envato Elements an unlimited number of times without paying extra.)
3. Format the Nodes & Branches
After copying the mindmap template, you’re ready to customize it to create your decision tree.
Begin building the decision tree from the main node, moving outwards to the stopping points. I’m going to build out Option 1, Facebook ads, first so I can simply copy it later to show Option 2.
Tip: As much as possible, copy existing objects on the slide template instead of inserting new ones from scratch. This simplifies the process for you, maintains the integrity of the template design, and helps you avoid making mistakes.
1. Delete Unwanted Slide Objects
I only need the right-half of the mindmap, so I need to delete the entire left part of the mindmap.
If all the objects of the slide are grouped, you must first ungroup them. Select the group then select Arrange > Ungroup.
Now, we can delete everything on the left side of the large circle. Click-and-drag to select multiple objects then right-click and select the Cut option.
Select all the remaining objects on the slide, then drag everything to the left to make room for the rest of the decision tree.
2. Add New Nodes and Branches
Add a circle to create a new node. Click Insert > Shapes > Oval.
Copy and paste the existing boxes and lines to create additional nodes and branches. Click and drag the various objects into position.
You may need to alter their size or orientation to accommodate your decision tree. For example, I’ve got to flip the brackets I copied horizontally.
To flip an object, select the object and then select Arrange > Rotate > Flip Horizontal.
Repeat the process to insert a new shape. This time add a triangle for the end-point of Option 1. Now, the structure of Option 1 is complete!
4. Enter Your Information
It’s time to begin adding your information into the decision tree.
1. Add or Replace Text Inside Nodes
To replace the placeholder text, double-click inside the text box and type your information.
To add text inside the new shapes you created, copy and paste an existing text box. Drag it into a shape, then type inside it.
Use the remaining text boxes to create headers for “Expected Value,” “Total Expected Value,” “Best-Case,” and “Worst-Case.”
Copy the objects for Option 1 and paste it onto the node for Option 2.
Replace the text with the information for Option 2.
The decision tree is almost complete!
5. Brand the Decision Tree Slide
All that’s left for us to do is to add the company branding to the slide.
1. Change the Color Theme
To change the color theme of your decision tree slide, click Design and then click the arrow under the color theme thumbnails. Select Colors and choose the color theme of your choice.
Tip: Read the instructions for the PowerPoint template you downloaded for specific instructions on how to add the color themes that come with the template.
2. Insert the Company Logo
To add the company logo, click Insert > Pictures > Picture from File….
Locate the image file in your computer, click on the file name then click Insert.
Drag the logo into place. Click and drag on a corner of the image to resize it.
The decision tree is done!
More Decision Tree PowerPoint Templates (With Unlimited Downloads)
If you’re ready to make a decision tree from a PowerPoint template, you’ll find many to choose from at Envato Elements. You can download an unlimited number of templates for PowerPoint, as well as Google Slides and Keynote, for one low price.
These presentation templates aren’t specifically for decision trees, but as you’ve seen in this tutorial, you can easily customize other diagrams to create a decision tree.
And, if you want to jazz up your decision tree with unique fonts, premium photos, and creative icons, you get unlimited downloads of all that, too, at no additional cost.
Here are a few PowerPoint templates from Envato Elements with many diagrams to choose from:
This template provides dozens of organizational and data chart templates that can be transformed into decision trees. Their colorful and clean designs are sure to get and keep your audience’s attention.
Choose from 20 mindmap diagrams in this template to build your decision tree with. The charts are colorful and attractive while remaining clean and clutter-free. The use of icons, shapes, and color helps you communicate effectively without filling your decision tree with text.
Mundo PowerPoint template offers hand-designed flowcharts, mindmaps, timelines, and other diagrams that are suitable for decision trees. What makes Mundo unique is its use of circles as the main shape of each diagram. Choose Mundo if the circle is a main feature of your branding.
More PowerPoint Templates You Can Customize
As you can see, the possibilities for creating a decision tree in PowerPoint are almost endless!
For more creative inspiration, check out other great templates featured in these posts:
You can create many engaging charts, including decision trees, in PowerPoint. You don’t have to be a professional designer to get a powerhouse chart. By starting with the right template and applying simple techniques, you can create diagrams that truly speak a thousand words
Read these articles to create more memorable and persuasive charts in PowerPoint:
An easy way to create a decision tree slide is to begin with a PowerPoint template.
First, have a clear idea of what you want your decision tree to look like. Then, choose the PowerPoint template that resembles your vision. Finally, customize the template to bring your vision to life.
You’ve got numerous PowerPoint templates to choose from—with unlimited downloads—in Envato Elements. Alternatively, you can pay for every single use of PowerPoint templates at the GraphicRiver marketplace. Either way, you get a wide selection of high-quality templates for your presentation.
These premium PowerPoint templates give you the advantage of being professionally designed and built to be easy to customize with your own information and branding. And you’re never on your own because you’ve got the added benefit of after-sales support from the template designer.
Now that you know how to create a decision tree in PowerPoint, you can visualize your decision-making process. This will help you to not only make better decisions but also to gain the support of others on that decision.