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Picture Spirographs in PowerPoint

By: Geetesh Bajaj

Date Created: November 15th 2007
Last Updated: March 2nd 2009


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This tutorial is a variation of the spirograph tutorial that I did earlier… This was almost as much fun to do, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one - download the finished picture spirographs here...

  1. Launch PowerPoint – by default it may open with a new slide. Otherwise, insert a new slide in any new or existing presentation (shortcut key to insert a new slide: Ctrl+M).

  2. Apply the Blank slide layout to the new slide. Select the Home tab on the Ribbon, and click the Layout option to summon the Layout gallery that you can see in Figure 1. Then choose the Blank layout option. The Blank slide layout has no text or content placeholders, and works best if you want to create a drawing that covers an entire slide!

    Slide layout
    Figure 1: Slide layout

  3. Now select the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and click Clip Art. This brings up the Clip Art task pane that you can see in Figure 2.

    Clip Art
    Figure 2: Clip art

  4. As you can see, I searched for an apple in the Clip Art task pane. I then chose a simple apple picture and dragged it on the slide (see Figure 3).

    Apple Clip Art
    Figure 3: Apple clip art

  5. Now resize the apple to around a quarter of its original size, and duplicate it (Ctrl+D). With the duplicated apple selected, access the Picture Tools Format (or Drawing Tools Format) tab on the Ribbon, and choose Rotate | Flip Vertical (see Figure 4).

    Flip Vertical
    Figure 4: Flip Vertical

  6. Place the original apple on the top center of the slide, and the duplicated (flipped) apple at the bottom center of the slide. Select both apples, and access the Picture Tools Format (or Drawing Tools Format) tab on the Ribbon, and choose Align | Align Center (see Figure 5).

    Align
    Figure 5: Align

  7. Your apples will now look like what you see in Figure 6. With both the apples still selected, access the Picture Tools Format (or Drawing Tools Format) tab on the Ribbon, and choose Group |Group.

    Group
    Figure 6: Group

  8. With the apple group selected, press Ctrl+D four times to end up with five apple groups, as shown in Figure 7.

    Duplicate
    Figure 7: Duplicate

  9. Press Ctrl+A to select all the apple groups. Then activate the Picture Tools Format (or Drawing Tools Format) tab on the Ribbon, click the Align option to summon the Align gallery, and choose both the Align Left and Align Top options (see Figure 8).

    Align Left and Top
    Figure 8: Align left and top

  10. You’ll end up with what looks like just two apples rather than ten! Don’t worry – the apples are all there even if they are overlapping each other. For now, just click on an empty area of the slide so that nothing is selected.

  11. Now we’ll use a new PowerPoint 2007 feature: the Selection and Visibility task pane. On the Home tab of the Ribbon, choose Select, Selection Pane as shown in Figure 9.

    Select
    Figure 9: Select

  12. This brings up the Selection and Visibility task pane, shown in Figure 10.

    Selection and Visibility
    Figure 10: The Selection and Visibility task pane can be docked, or moved around as a floating window.

  13. Start working on the stack from the bottom up. Leave the bottommost apple group untouched, and select the apple group right above the last one. This will select the corresponding apple group on the slide. Now select the Picture Tools Format (or Drawing Tools Format) tab on the Ribbon, and click the dialog launcher in the Size Group (last option to the right) to bring up the Size and Position dialog box.

  14. Select the Size tab in this dialog box, and type in 20 in the Rotation box. Don’t press the Close button to send away this dialog box – just press the Tab key on your keyboard and move the dialog box a little so that it does not overlap the stacked apple groups. You’ll also be able to preview the rotated apple as shown in Figure 11. Also, since the Size and Position dialog box is non-modal, you can still leave it open and continue other tasks like selecting other apple groups on the slide.

    Size and Position
    Figure 11: Size and position

  15. Now select the third-last apple group from the bottom of the stack, and enter 40 in the Rotation box within the Size and Position dialog box.  Continue doing the same thing with the subsequent apple groups, just increment each rotation value by 20 so that the Rotation value of the topmost apple group is 80. You’ll end up with something akin to what you can see in Figure 12.

    Rotated Apple Group
    Figure 12: Rotated apple group

  16. Press Ctrl+A to select all the apple groups on the slide. Right-click carefully so that you don’t accidentally move any apples, and choose Group | Group as shown in Figure 13.

    Grouped Apples
    Figure 13: Grouped apples

  17. With the group still selected, press Ctrl+D to duplicate the entire group of ovals. Press Ctrl+A again to select both the groups, and align them both left and top, as explained previously in Step 6 (refer to Figure 5).

  18. Deselect the groups by clicking in an empty area of the slide, then select the top apple group in the Selection and Visibility task pane, access the Size and Position dialog box again and enter a Rotation value of 100 to end up with a complete apple spirograph as shown in Figure 14.

    Completed Spirograph
    Figure 14: Completed spirograph

  19. If you need to animate individual apples within the spirograph, or change the apple to another picture, it is a good idea to ungroup the apple spirograph now. To do that, press Ctrl+A to select all shapes, and then carefully right-click so that you don’t move anything accidentally. Choose Group | Ungroup. Do Group | Ungroup twice more so that you end up with the individual apples that you can see in Figure 15.

    Ungrouped Spirograph
    Figure 15: Ungrouped spirograph

Tip: You can replace the apples in the spirograph with other pictures! To do that, make sure you ungrouped the shapes as explained in step 17. Then press Ctrl+A to select all shapes, select the Picture Tools Format tab on the Ribbon, and click Change Picture to bring up the Insert Picture dialog box. Choose any suitable picture – experiment and you’ll achieve picture spirographs so amazing that people will have a difficult time believing this was created within PowerPoint!

Figures 16 and 17 show you some of these variations:

Spirograph with a changed picture
Figure 16: Spirograph with a changed picture


Another spirograph variation
Figure 17: Another spirograph variation



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    since November 02, 2000