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Useful ways to use SmartArt Graphics in your presentations

SmartArt is a diagramming tool in Powerpoint that allows you to create visual representations of information.  Your SmartArt graphics can be designed to match the look and feel of your presentations and can be used to create process flows, cycle diagrams, pryamids and orgazational charts. SmartArt is also created from the Insert tab > Illustrations Group on the Ribbon.

SmartArt graphics can be created from scratch by choosing from several different types of layouts and the one you choose will depend on what information you want to convey and in what way.  For example, the Process layout shows the steps to complete a particular task whereas the Hierarchy layout illustrates the structure of an organization such as an organizational chart.

Requirements:  PowerPoint 2013 or 2016.  To follow this tutorial, open up the Hiking Adventures Begin PowerPoint presentation and follow the directions below:

Insert a SmartArt Graphic in PowerPoint

  1. Click on slide 3 to select it and then click on the Insert tab > Illustrations Group > SmartArt button on the Ribbon. The Choose a SmartArt dialog box will appear.
    Add a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint
  2. Click the List category
  3. Scroll down and choose Vertical Block List in the fifth row. Notice the description in the right hand pane.  Click the OK button.
    List layout in SmartArt graphic
  4. The SmartArt image will be inserted in your document and the text pane should now be visible as shown in the image below. If not, click the tab on the left side of the graphic.
    Tip!  When entering text in the SmartArt graphic, you will need to press the down arrow on your keyboard and not the ENTER key as pressing the ENTER key will add a new bullet point.
    SmartArt text pane
  5. With the first bullet in the Text Pane selected, type Bone Density and then press the down arrow on your keyboard to move to the next bullet. The text will appear in your graphic.
  6. Type Weight Bearing  then press the down arrow key again to move to the next bullet and type Strenghens Core.  Your graphic should now look like the following:
    SmartArt text pane
  7. You can also type directly in the text boxes.  Click in the second text box and type Heart. Click in the text boxes next to Heart and type Lowers risk of heart disease and Improves Blood pressure.
    Smartart Text Boxes in PowerPoint
  8.  Click in the third text box and type Weight. Click in the text boxes next to Weight and type Burns about 250+ calories/hour and Helps control weight.  Your SmartArt graphic should look like the following:
    SmartArt bullets

Converting Bullet Lists to SmartArt

You can also convert text already typed in your presentations, such as a bulleted list, into a SmartArt graphic.  Once converted, you can then style the SmartArt graphic by adding colors, fills, outlines and other effects as desired.  Depending on the SmartArt graphic layout you choose, you can also add pictures and additional text and change the layout type at any time.

  1. Click on Slide 4 to display it and then select the bulleted list or click anywhere in the list. Click the Home tab > Paragraph group and click the Convert to SmartArt Graphic button.  You can also click More to open the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box.
    Convert bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint
  2. Choose the Vertical Picture Accent List layout.  Your slide should look like the following.
    Convert bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint

Style your SmartArt Graphic

When working with SmartArt graphics, the SmartArt Contextual tab will appear. Here you will see two new tabs, the SmartArt Design tab and the SmartArt Layout tab.

  1. Make sure your SmartArt graphic is still selected. Then, under the Design Tab, click the more button to display SmartArt styles.  Choose the 3D Polished Style.
    Styling SmartArt in PowerPoint
  2. Click the Design tab > SmartArt Styles Group and click the Change Colors button on the Ribbon 2. Select the Gradient Loop Accent 1 style.
    Styling SmartArt in PowerPoint
  3. If you have a picture SmartArt, you can click on the pictures and choose an image to go into each section.  Browse to the location where your images are located and add one picture for each bullet as shown below.  See Adding images to your PowerPoint presentations.
    Add a picture to a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint

There are several other options that you can try out for your SmartArt diagrams.  It’s a good idea to experiment with these options to customize your presentation as needed.