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Working with SmartArt


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Date Created: May 17th 2007
Last Updated: May 17th 2007






...continued from Page 1

Common SmartArt Procedures
Working with Organization Charts
Troubleshooting


Common SmartArt Procedures

Although different SmartArt variants might look as different as chalk and cheese, they work similarly for several common procedures such as adding text, changing colors, resizing, adding effects, and deleting shape elements or the entire SmartArt graphic. All also have the convenient text pane that makes text editing almost as easy as typing in bulleted text.

Adding and Editing Text in Your SmartArt

You can add or edit the text on the shape elements in all SmartArt graphics by using these procedures:

  • Click on the existing placeholder text on the shape element, or start typing if you have a shape without text. Or just select the text in the shape and type to replace the text.
  • Type the text in the text pane that you see when you select a SmartArt graphic (see Figure 12.6). If you can't see the text pane, double-click on the SmartArt graphic to activate the SmartArt Tools Design tab of the ribbon and click the Text Pane option. Remember, this is a toggle option.


    Figure 12.6: The text pane makes it easy to add or edit text in a SmartArt graphic.

  • If you convert a bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic, it already contains text. To convert a bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic, just right-click some selected text in the bulleted text placeholder and choose the Convert to SmartArt option in the resultant context menu

You can format the text contained inside a SmartArt graphic in several ways, sometimes with different results:

  • Select some text, and right-click to summon the mini toolbar that contains font formatting options. In this mini-toolbar, it's easy to apply boldface, a new font, and so on.
  • Select some text, and make sure your Home ribbon is active. You can find all the formatting options in the font area. If you want even more options, click the dialog launcher arrow in the Font area to bring up the Font dialog box, which provides more options.
  • Double-click your SmartArt to summon the SmartArt Tools tabs in the ribbon, then choose the SmartArt Tools Format tab to make it active. Select your text, and then apply any of the effects found in the WordArt Styles drop-down gallery. Remember, after you apply a WordArt style, your text may not behave like normal text—to convert it back to normal text, select the text again and choose the Clear WordArt option at the bottom of the WordArt Gallery (see Figure 12.7).


    Figure 12.7: Apply and clear WordArt styles to text in a SmartArt graphic.

Even if you chose a SmartArt graphic that doesn't support adding, editing, or formatting text in this manner, you can add text in the form of a text box. To add a text box, click the Text Box button on the Insert tab of the ribbon, click where you want the text box to appear, and type your text.

Changing Colors in Your SmartArt

You can change the colors of your SmartArt graphic quite easily:

  1. Double-click on the edge of your SmartArt graphic to bring up the SmartArt Tools tabs in the ribbon.

  2. In the SmartArt Tools Design tab, click the Change Colors button to open the Colors gallery that you can see in Figure 12.8.


    Figure 12.8: The Color Gallery has small previews that show live results.

  3. Choose from the color options in any of the categories. PowerPoint shows you a live preview of the option as you hover your mouse over the small previews.

  4. To apply one of these options, click the small preview associated with that option.

Note: If you want to change the colors or another attribute of any individual shape, just right-click and choose the Format Shape option to bring up a dialog box of the same name. This dialog box provides color and fills options that you won't find in the Color gallery. However, do remember that the Color Gallery options are based on color principles and will look good and coordinated all the time. In contrast, the Format Shape dialog box lets you do what you want.

For more information about the Format Shape dialog box, see Chapter 15.

Resizing and Repositioning Your SmartArt

How resizing and repositioning works depends upon what you want to resize:

  • The entire SmartArt graphic
  • A shape or other element contained in a SmartArt graphic

Fortunately, the process itself works in the same way and is dependent on what you have selected—the entire SmartArt graphic, or just an element contained within the SmartArt.

Resize

To resize, you can

  • Select and drag the handles surrounding the selection.
  • Double-click the selection to summon the SmartArt Tools tabs in the ribbon. Select the Smart Art Tools Format tab, and click on the Size button so that you can type in figures for an exact size you require.

Reposition

Follow these guidelines to reposition:

  • To reposition, you need to select and drag it to a new position.
  • If you want to reposition an element within a SmartArt graphic, be aware that you cannot reposition it to an area outside the area of the SmartArt graphic.
  • Also, some elements, when repositioned, change more than just their position; they change their relationships to other elements. For example, repositioning a shape in an organization chart might change the hierarchy, as well.

Adding Effects

If you have seen the flat diagrams of earlier PowerPoint versions, and wished you could make them look a little more spectacular, then you'll love all the effects that you can apply to SmartArt now.

However, you cannot select the entire SmartArt graphic and apply an effect. The effects you use in PowerPoint are Shape Effects that can only be applied to individual shape elements within a SmartArt graphic.

Follow these steps to apply, change, or remove an effect:

  1. Select the shape inside the SmartArt graphic to which you want to apply a Shape Effect.

    You can also select multiple shapes by Ctrl-clicking, and you might also want to select all the shapes within a SmartArt graphic.

    You can also select lines such as connectors within a SmartDraw graphic because these are also shapes.

  2. Selecting these shapes activates the SmartArt Tools tabs in the ribbon—click the SmartDraw Tools Format tab to make it active.

  3. Now you can either open the Shape Styles drop-down gallery and choose a preset effect, or click the Shape Effects button to find a Preset as well as several other sub-menus, which in turn contain even more galleries that let you play with all sorts of effects.

PowerPoint shows you a live preview of all the effects as you hover your cursor over the options. When you like a particular effect, just click to apply it to the selected shapes.

Note: Remember, you can always click the Undo button on the Quick Access Toolbar to undo your last action.

Deleting a SmartArt Graphic

To delete a SmartArt graphic, select it and press the Delete key. If you end up deleting just a part of the SmartArt graphic, and you wanted to delete the entire SmartArt, then select the frame around the SmartArt graphic and press the Delete key again.

The Content placeholder might appear, depending on whether the SmartArt was inserted from a layout or through the SmartArt button on the Insert ribbon.

If you want to create another SmartArt, you can start over from here, accessing the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box by clicking the placeholder or the SmartArt button on the Insert tab of the ribbon.

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Working with Organization Charts

Although an Organization Chart is actually just another SmartArt graphic, it has particular nuances that make it a class apart, and completely different from other SmartArt variants.

Indeed, special applications are available that create only organization charts. You might not need to invest in a specialized application, though, because PowerPoint's implementation of this graphic type is quite complete.

To add an organization chart, choose one of the Organization Charts available in the Hierarchy category of the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box that you can see in Figure 12.9 and click OK.


Figure 12.9: Choose the Hierarchy category for some Organization Chart samples.

For a refresher on how to open this dialog box, see "Adding SmartArt to a Presentation" earlier in this chapter

Tip: It's best to design your organization chart on paper first, particularly if you're not familiar with this application. This lets you focus on creating the chart rather than on content.

PowerPoint inserts an organization chart SmartArt in to your presentation and activates the SmartArt Tools tabs in the ribbon. Also, the SmartArt Tools Design tab becomes active, and the normally grayed out Layout button in the Create Graphic group of the tab becomes live.

Now that you have placed an organization chart, you'll notice that there's either no text or a text placeholder on all the shapes that invites you to type in some text. You might also want to add more shapes (boxes) to the organization chart and change its layout.

Inserting More Shapes

To add more shapes (boxes) to your organization chart, do either of the following:

  • Select a shape and click the Add Shape button on the SmartArt Tools Design ribbon.
  • Select a shape, right-click, and select the Add Shape option in the resultant context menu.

In either case, you'll see the Add Shape menu that you can see in Figure 12.10.


Figure 12.10: Add a shape to your organization chart.

Unlike previous versions of PowerPoint that made you choose between a sub-ordinate, co-worker, or assistant shape, this version of PowerPoint makes it super simple by providing you with options that don't require you to get very familiar with org-charting terminology. You need to choose from

  • Add Shape After
  • Add Shape Before
  • Add Shape Above
  • Add Shape Below
  • Add Assistant

You will choose a different option depending on where you want to place a new shape:

  • On the same level: The first four options add a shape in relation to the position of the selected shape on the right, left, top, or bottom. All these shapes are on the same level.
  • On a lower level: The Add Assistant option places a shape which is hierarchal lower than the selected shape.
  • On a higher level: This is not required because every organization chart has at least one shape on the highest level. If you need more shapes on this level, select the highest shape, and add another shape at the same level. However these shapes aren't connected to the original shape.

Changing the Layout

You can change the layout of the assistants (hierarchal, lower shapes) in your organization chart, again in relation to a selected shape within the organization chart.

Follow these steps to change the layout of the assistants:

  1. Select the shape that is at a level higher than the assistants.

  2. In the SmartArt Tools Design tab of the ribbon, click the Layout button to see the menu that you can see in Figure 12.11.


    Figure 12.11: Change the layout of the assistants.

  3. Choose from the following four options, which are shown in Figure 12.12.

    • Standard—This is the normal, default layout.
    • Both—Distributes the assistants equally in columns and rows.
    • Left Hanging—Distributes all assistants in a left hanging column.
    • Right Hanging—Distributes all assistants in a right hanging column.

Whichever of these options you choose, all assistants remain linked to the original shape. Figure 12.12 shows you samples of all the four layouts.



Figure 12.12
: Sample assistant layouts.

Note: To change the level of a selected shape in your organization chart, click the Promote and Demote buttons in the SmartArt Tools Design tab of the ribbon.

Formatting Your Organization Chart

You can format an organization chart just as you format any other SmartArt graphic. For example, you can reposition it, change its colors, modify line width, and so on. You'll primarily do this by using the options explained earlier in this chapter for other SmartArt graphic variants, or through the Format dialog box (right-click and choose Format Shape from the menu).

For more information about formatting SmartArt graphics, see "Formatting SmartArt" and "Commom SmartArt Procedures," earlier in this chapter.

For more information about the Format dialog box and the Drawing toolbar, see Chapter 15.

Is your organization chart is a mess? See "Fixing a Problem Organization Chart" in the "Troubleshooting" section near the end of this chapter.

You can also animate your organization chart for extra emphasis.

To learn more about animation in PowerPoint, see Chapter 16.

Caution: Remember to consider readability and visual clarity when you modify an organization chart's defaults. Some formatting can enhance a chart's appearance, but too much formatting can make it confusing or—worse—unreadable.

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Troubleshooting

Fixing a Problem Organization Chart

I tried creating an organization chart for the first time, and it's a real mess. Do I have to delete the entire slide?

No, just delete the organization chart itself. From there, you can begin again. If you see a Content placeholder, click the Insert SmartArt button. If you see nothing, click the SmartArt button on the Insert tab of the ribbon. In each case, the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box appears.

Expanding Diagram Choices

I can't create the graphic I want with the SmartArt choices.

Remember that you can apply style options in the Shape Styles and Shape Effects galleries. If those options aren't enough, you can create a diagram yourself from the shapes in the Insert tab of the ribbon. You can also manually design an illustration with PowerPoint's drawing tools. As a last resort, create your diagram in another program (such as Visio, SmartDraw, or Illustrator) and then insert it.

Also, Microsoft has allowed third-party providers to create more SmartArt graphics. In time, this will mean that there will be tons of new SmartArt graphics, and you might even get a particular style created for yourself.

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