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Date Created: August 15th 2011
Last Updated: August 15th 2011

Using Circlify
Pricing and Support


PowerPoint makes a great drawing program -- however it is not too easy to duplicate content such as shapes, especially in a repeated pattern without summoning too many dialog boxes. However, tasks such as these can be made super simple -- probably more simple than even doing it in a dedicated drawing program using Circlify, a third party add-in for PowerPoint. Circlify lets you quickly create circular graphics and intricate illustrations for icons, logos, illustrations, etc.

Circlify is from GMARK, a company based in the UK. You can learn more about Circlify and their other products from their site. My contact at GMARK for this review was Jamie Garroch - thank you, Jamie.


Using Circlify

Download the installer from the link given above, run the setup routine, and follow the instructions. Follow these steps to use Circlify within PowerPoint -- do note that Circlify works within PowerPoint 2007 and 2010:

  1. Launch PowerPoint. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation -- you can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting Home tab | Layout | Blank. This provides a nice blank slide without any placeholders.

  2. Now insert any shape of your choice on the blank slide (for this review I have used a Oval shape as you can see later in Figure 1). You can also insert a picture or even a text box -- it really doesn't matter what you have on the slide.

    Oval shape placed on the blank slide
    Figure 1:
    Oval shape placed on the blank slide

  3. Access the Circlify tab of the Ribbon, as shown highlighted in red in Figure 2. Then click the Circlify Shapes button (highlighted in blue in Figure 2) located within the Circlify tab of the Ribbon.

    Circlify Shapes button within Circlify tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 2: Circlify Shapes button within Circlify tab of the Ribbon

  4. This will open the Circlify interface, as you can see in Figure 3.

    Circlify interface with Guide tab selected
    Figure 3: Circlify interface with Guide tab selected

    There are three tabs in the Circlify interface: Guide, Shapes, and Editing Help -- and the tab you see depends on where you were before you closed this dialog in your last session. While almost everything that happens within Circlify is triggered from the Guide and Shapes tab, the last tab called Editing Help provides documentation on using the add-in -- but even if you do not read this help, using Circlify is very easy.

    Your first stop should be the Guide tab (refer to Figure 3 above) -- within this tab you need to set two choices:

    1. You first set the Guide Diameter -- basically this determines the center as a circle -- the larger your guide diameter is, the more spread your duplicate shapes will be when "circlified" later. And of course, if you have a long shape, then you can set the guide diameter to "0" as well.

    2. You then decide if you want the guide diameter to be visible as a shape on your slide -- typically this is a circle of the diameter you choose -- if you set your guide diameter to "0", then you need not select this option.

  5. You next move on to the Shapes tab (refer to Figure 4) -- here you can set properties for the shape that has to be duplicated and placed around the guide. Before we explore these options, note that Circlify lets you use a shape source other than your slide selection, and also set its size (these options have been highlighted in red in Figure 4 below) -- we will explore more of this option later -- let us now look at the other options within this tab:

    • Number of Shapes lets you set the number of duplicates of the source shape to appear on the guide diameter.

    • Rotate Shapes lets you rotate shapes in various ways -- No translates to no rotation, Around Circumference rotates shapes around the perimeter of your guide, and Around Center rotates shapes on their center points. The thumbnail area highlighted in blue in Figure 4 below changes its appearance to show you how the various rotation options will look like.

    Options within Shapes tab of Circlify interface
    Figure 4: Options within Shapes tab of Circlify interface

    Look again at Figure 4 above where the Shape Source and Shape Size options have been highlighted in red. If you already selected an object in your slide (as in Figure 2), then these options do not make much of a difference. On the other hand, if you summoned Circlify without any selection on your slide, then you can create a shape from scratch to duplicate within the Circlify interface. Selecting the radio button in front of the circle shape within the Shape Source option brings up PowerPoint's usual Shapes gallery up, as shown in Figure 5 below. Once you select a shape from this gallery, the Shape Size will be enabled, and you can now set the size of the shape you chose. When you set the size of the shape, the shape will be resized maintaining its original height to width proportion. You can’t make it just longer or wider.

    Shapes gallery within the Circlify interface
    Figure 5: Shapes gallery within the Circlify interface

  6. Once you have made your choices in the Guide and Shapes tabs, click the OK button (or just press the Enter key). Based on the values you input, Circlify will create/duplicate the graphics, as shown in Figure 6. You can now select the original shape and the guide diameter and delete them, if required.

    Graphic created using Circlify
    Figure 5: Graphic created using Circlify

  7. You can now group all your slide objects or unite them with PowerPoint 2010's new Combine Shapes options to get amazing results. You can also select all shapes on the slide, and quickly apply Shape Styles to them. Of course, you can also manually change their Shape Fills, Shape Outlines, and Shape Effects. Figure 6 shows a preset Shape Effect applied to the graphic created earlier (refer to Figure 5 above).

    Circlify graphic with a 3D PowerPoint effect
    Figure 6: Circlify graphic with a 3D PowerPoint effect

  8. You may also want to see this online presentation on creating repeating patterns with Circlify.

    Click above to view on Slideshare


Pricing and Support

Circlify costs $49.00 for a single user license.

Support options include phone, email and online demo movies.



Circlify is among the new breed of PowerPoint add-ins that use PowerPoint's amazing drawing engine, and make it more useable for everyday users -- also the product has a great price:performance ratio.


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