Being able to represent content in a graphical way can add immense meaning and visual appeal to any presentation. I always find that graphics can portray information in a better way than a screen full of text and for that reason I love the use of SmartArt. Like any feature in Microsoft Office it needs to be used with some restraint, having a presentation with 20 slides containing 20 SmartArt graphics isn’t going to help anyone, but when used in the right context they can give your information the visual representation it may need.
Many users confuse SmartArt with the Charts feature often used in Excel and other applications, however unlike Charts, SmartArt does not rely on data in the document which it then uses to create a visual representation. SmartArt is 100% graphics based and does not need the information to be located anywhere within your document or presentation, you add it manually directly into the graphic.
SmartArt provides great flexibility so that you can customise the way it looks, how many shapes it contains, colour schemes etc. I have used SmartArt for pie charts, organisational charts and much more.
In a previous post I have looked at how to convert text already contained within a presentation into SmartArt without the need to retype it. You can check it out here.
In future posts I will look at ways of customising a SmartArt graphic and the features available on the SmartArt tools tabs.
To insert a SmartArt graphic, follow these steps:
- Open Microsoft PowerPoint
- A new blank presentation will be displayed
- Now let’s insert a new slide for us to place our SmartArt graphic
- From the Home tab select the New Slide button and choose the Title and Content slide layout
- A second slide will be displayed
- At the top of the slide you can include your own title, such as My SmartArt graphic
- In the Content area of the slide you will see six (6) content options, one of those is the SmartArt graphic icon, click on it to insert a new SmartArt graphic
- The Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box will appear
- You will see the various categories shown on the left side of the dialog box
- Scroll through the options to see what is possible, then select the Hierarchy category and choose the Hierarchy option then click OK
- The SmartArt graphic will now be inserted and the Text pane will appear allowing you to type text into each shape
- I find it much easier just to type the text I want directly into each shape. The Text pane does have great uses however for a basic SmartArt graphic I prefer the direct option
- Click the X in the top right corner of the Text Pane to close it
- Now click in the first text box shape at the top of the hierarchy
- Enter the text you wish to display, for my example I am going to create a organisational chart
- Now click in the next text box on the second row and enter text into the shape
- Repeat this process to add text into each shape displayed
- Let’s say we need to add another person reporting to Robyn however there is only one shape displayed
- To add a new shape ensure that the Shape for Robyn is selected
- Select the SmartArt Tools > Design tab
- Click the Add Shape button and choose Add Shape Below
- You will now see a new shape appear allowing you to add another member
It’s important to remember that when you are working with SmartArt graphics you must have the graphic selected in order for the additional tabs on the ribbon to appear. Once you deselect, or click anywhere on the screen away from the SmartArt graphic, the SmartArt Tools tabs will disappear.
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction on how to insert a SmartArt graphic into PowerPoint. Please let me know if you have any specified requests or any questions via my Contact Me page or social media.