There are so many ways in which you can create a better chart or a diagram using nothing apart from the tools available in PowerPoint -- yet playing with all these options does take a fair amount of time. If you want something quick, and also want the graphic content of your slides to shine through, then you may want to explore our review product: CrystalGraphics Chart and Diagram Slides for PowerPoint. Charts and Diagram Slides for PowerPoint is from CrystalGraphics, a well-known vendor of PowerPoint add-ins for more than a decade. This add-in comprises over 1000 data-driven charts and editable diagrams. All the content is available as slides that you insert into your existing presentations. While the entire content is available as PowerPoint slides (in the PPTX format), the best way to use these is via a custom add-in that plugs into PowerPoint.
You can learn more about the Chart and Diagram Slides for PowerPoint from their site. My contact at CrystalGraphics for this review was Jasmine Ricks -- thank you, Jasmine.
Presently, the entire Chart and Diagram Slides for PowerPoint collection is available in 10 volumes of 100 slides each. You can buy any individual
volume, or the entire 10 volumes as part of a combo collection. You are provided a download link once you buy one or more volumes. Once you download
the files, you need to install. Once installed, you see the new Menu Commands group within the Add-Ins tab on the
Ribbon, as shown highlighted in
Figure 1. Although this tutorial is done in PowerPoint 2010, Chart and
Diagram Slides for PowerPoint also works within PowerPoint 2007.
Figure 1: Menu Commands group within the Add-Ins tab
Follow these steps for a small walkthrough that shows how you can use Chart and Diagram Slides for PowerPoint:
- Open an existing presentation or create a new presentation.
- Now, access the Add-Ins tab of the Ribbon, and click the
Insert CrystalGraphics Chart or Diagram Slide button, highlighted in red within
- This brings up the CrystalGraphics Chart and Diagram Slide Finder dialog box, as shown in Figure 3. Notice
that you see thumbnails of all slides included in the volumes you buy.
- You can choose slides from individual Volumes -- just click the Volume button to bring up a drop-down list, as
shown in Figure 4. Choose the volume you are looking for from the list -- note that only Volumes you buy and install will show up on
this list. Additionally, you can choose either the All or Favorites options. We found no way to select any of the
slides as a Favorite -- choosing this option seems to bring up the recently used slides instead.
- Once you have narrowed down to which volumes you want to look within, you can also search individual slides by typing keywords within the Search box (highlighted in red within Figure 4, above). Click the blue Search icon to see search results.
- From the Finder (or your search results), select the slide you want to insert into your presentation and click on any of the buttons explained
below, as shown in Figure 5:
Figure 5: Slide selected within CrystalGraphics Chart and Diagram Slide Finder dialog box
- Insert and Exit: When this button (highlighted in blue within Figure 5) is clicked, the slide will be inserted into your presentation and you will return to the PowerPoint interface.
- Insert: This button (highlighted in red within Figure 5, above), when clicked will insert the selected slide into your presentation without exiting the CrystalGraphics Chart and Diagram Slide Finder dialog. This way you can add more chart or diagram slides to your presentation.
- Exit: This takes you back to the PowerPoint interface.
- Figure 6, below shows a slide inserted into our presentation.
Figure 6: Selected slide inserted within the presentation
- Preview your slides and save your presentation.
Figure 2: Insert CrystalGraphics Charts or Diagram Slide button with Add-Ins tab
Figure 3: CrystalGraphics Chart and Diagram Slide Finder dialog box
Figure 4: Volume drop-down list within CrystalGraphics Chart and Diagram Slide Finder dialog box
CrystalGraphics Chart and Diagram Slides for PowerPoint is available as 10 individual volumes -- at the time of writing, 10 volumes were available for US$49.00 each. You can also get a 10 volume combo that includes the entire collection for US$249.00 -- that's a saving of almost 50%.
Support is through e-mail, telephone, and online FAQ.
CrystalGraphics Chart and Diagram Slides for PowerPoint is easy to use and slides from this collection can be used into any PowerPoint presentation. The collection of charts and diagrams are creatively-designed and some of them are also animated. All the content uses native PowerPoint shapes and SmartArt graphics -- making easy for you to edit them as required. You can also change any data for a chart.
However, not all the content is theme aware -- so do not expect the graphic to always coordinate with the colors used in your existing presentations. The folks at CrystalGraphics added: "Since themes and templates can modify the color schemes of some of the diagrams in such a way that they don’t look very good (and white goes with everything) we decided to default to not changing the slide to match the theme. But, if you want it to match your theme, all you have to do is select the slide and click on the theme or template you want, and it will change accordingly."
The cost is reasonable too, especially if you buy the 10 volume Combo. All put together, the product is worth its price if you use even a few of the charts and the diagrams included.