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Smart Connectors in PowerPoint 2013

Learn what Smart connectors are, and how they are different from conventional lines in PowerPoint 2013.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and 8

Connectors are essentially some of the shapes found within the Lines category of the Shapes gallery in PowerPoint 2013, as shown in Figure 1. To understand why only some of these lines can work as connectors, we first need to understand what a connector is. A connector is a line that creates a link that joins two shapes or any other slide objects to create a relationship. These connectors are linked to the slide objects they are connected -- this means that they move automatically when the linked objects are moved. That's the reason why they are called "Smart connectors" -- you'll learn more about all the other smart things these connectors do in subsequent tutorials of this series.

Lines category within Shapes gallery
Figure 1: Lines category within Shapes gallery

Since the connectors are a variant of lines, they don't have any fill attributes. However all the outline formatting options available in PowerPoint 2013 can be applied to connectors including line thickness, dash styles, arrowheads, etc.

Although connectors look like conventional, simple lines, there is a fundamental difference because unlike simple lines, connectors "connect" two shapes or any other slide objects to each other. Move any of the slide objects"connected" to the connector, and the connecter resizes and repositions automatically. So which of the variants in the Lines category of the Shapes gallery (see Figure 1 above) are connectors? All variants except the last three can act as both simple lines or connectors -- how they act depends upon how you place or draw them.

Tip: If you want a line to act as a connector, you'll have to first insert / draw the shapes or other slide objects -- then add the connectors that link between them. Remember that you cannot add a slide object to an existing connector -- rather you can only add a connector to an existing slide object. We explore this in further detail in our Drawing Connectors in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.

Figure 2 shows a connector sample that was created using just rectangles and lines (that act as connectors).

Sample diagram using closed shapes and connectors
Figure 2: Sample diagram using closed shapes and connectors

Learn more about the types of connectors, and how you can draw them.

See Also:

Smart Connectors in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Smart Connectors in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows


PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-book


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