How to Create a Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs in PowerPoint using SmartArt

Last updated on February 16th, 2024

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology, proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity and this chart become part of any introduction to business and organizations, so often we will need to download free diagrams and Maslow pyramids for our PowerPoint presentations.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, all of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow use the terms Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, and Self-Actualization needs to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.

We can create a Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid in PowerPoint and SmartArt graphics. This article will explain how to do it.

How to Make a Maslow Pyramid in PowerPoint? Step by Step Guide

First, we need to open a blank template. Then we will insert a new SmartArt Graphic. Learn how to insert SmartArt in our previous articles, but if you don’t have time to review our previous posts then here we summarize it.

Go to Insert -> Insert SmartArt Graphic and from the dialog box choose Pyramid SmartArt. You can use Pyramid chart for:

Use to show proportional, interconnected, or hierarchical relationships with the largest component on the bottom and narrowing up. Level 1 text appears in the pyramid segments and Level 2 text appears in shapes alongside each segment.

So that’s perfect for our needs.

After inserting the pyramid, you can start adding the pyramid steps or sections, just filling the hierarchy on the list.

Here is an example with the following hierarchy corresponding to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In the list we will add the following needs:

  • Selft actualizations
  • Ego needs
  • Social needs
  • Security needs
  • Body needs
If you need to highlight any of these needs or steps in the pyramid, you can even use the formatting options, like Font Bold or similar.

How to change the pyramid options

We can add some styles to the SmartArt graphic just to make it more interesting, for example change the colors instead of the plain colors used for the shapes, or add a 3D style.

By default all the steps in the pyramid have the same height, but sometimes we need to highlight one of the steps just to make it bigger for example. This can be helpful if we need to denote that a given pyramid step need more power or attention. For example, if we want to increase the pyramid height for the step on top we can change the size and format shape. Select that shape and then apply format options. Here in this picture we explain how to change the size and height for one single shape.

For example, accordingly to Wikipedia, the Physiological needs can be described as literal requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body simply cannot continue to function. Air, water, and food are metabolic requirements for survival in all animals, including humans. Clothing and shelter provide necessary protection from the elements. The intensity of the human sexual instinct is shaped more by sexual competition than maintaining a birth rate adequate to survival of the species.

And finally, here is our result for this chart and pyramid. Here you can free download Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs Pyramid for Microsoft PowerPoint or to be used in any other diagram or document that you need. This can be great for organizations or MBA courses.