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Read an exclusive book excerpt from Special Edition: Using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 for Windows.

This book extract from Special Edition: Using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 is presented here with permission from Pearson Education.

The book, authored by Patrice-Anne Rutledge, Geetesh Bajaj, and Tom Mucciolo is probably the most detailed volume on PowerPoint you'll find anywhere. In addition, it also looks beyond PowerPoint to design sense, presentation and speaking skills. The book has been completely updated for PowerPoint 2007 and includes a free CD that contains software that you can use.

I wish to thank Lisa Jacobson-Brown for facilitating the permission to extract.

Understanding SmartArt
Adding SmartArt to a Presentation
Formatting SmartArt
Sample SmartArt Variants

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Understanding SmartArt

Some of the coolest improvements in PowerPoint 2007 are related to the overhaul of its diagramming features, which let you add much more than detailed diagrams and organization charts to presentations. Collectively, all the diagrams available in PowerPoint are now called SmartArt.

With SmartArt, you can:

  • Show all sorts of relationships using diagrams
  • Change between SmartArt graphic types so that you can determine which SmartArt variant works best for you
  • Change the colors and effects of your SmartArt graphic so that they use the same Theme Colors as your presentation
  • Customize the look of the SmartArt graphic further by editing individual shape elements contained within the SmartArt

So why should you want to use SmartArt when you can use just plain bulleted text? There are many advantages to using SmartArt:

  • SmartArt lets you visually represent a variety of concepts and ideas that might not work too well with just text.
  • SmartArt looks coordinated with your presentation, and you can match it with the look of your presentation.
  • You can change your bulleted text to SmartArt with one click.
  • You can change between SmartArt variations, and you can also customize an existing SmartArt type. This quick change lets you explore visual options that were never available before.


Adding SmartArt to a Presentation

The fastest way to add SmartArt to your presentation is to apply a slide layout that contains a placeholder for SmartArt. To do so, click the down arrow below the New Slide button in the Home tab of the ribbon, and then choose any of the Content layouts from the fly-out Layout Gallery.

To learn more about how slide layouts affect your presentation, see "Understanding Slide Layouts" in Chapter 2, "Creating a Basic Presentation."

If you chose any of the layouts that includes a Content placeholder, click the Insert SmartArt Graphic button in the placeholder. The Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box opens (see Figure 12.1).

Figure 12.1: The Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box gets you started.

You can also insert SmartArt by clicking the SmartArt button in the Insert tab of the ribbon.

Choosing SmartArt

This dialog box has a tri-pane view that makes exploring and choosing your options a quick, three-step affair:

  1. Choose any of the SmartArt categories that you want to use. The top category called All lets you explore all SmartArt variants available on your system. Other categories place related SmartArt variants into logical types like Line, Process, Cycle, Hierarchy, Relationship, Matrix, and Pyramid.
  2. You might have more categories available if you install a SmartArt collection from a third-party provider, or if you install something newer that you downloaded from the Microsoft site.
  3. The middle pane shows you all the variants available under a particular category. Large thumbnails of each variant make it easy to find exactly what you are looking for. If you don't find something that you need, choose something that is the closest to your requirement, and then refer to the editing options for SmartArt that are covered later in this chapter.
  4. The last pane shows you an even larger preview of the selected SmartArt variant along with a very helpful description.
  5. When you have selected the SmartArt variant you want to use, click the OK button to place it on the active slide.

Even if you choose the wrong SmartArt variant, you can change it later.

Tip: If you already have a text placeholder that uses bullets to identify points, you can convert it to a SmartArt graphic. To do that, just right-click the text placeholder and choose Convert to SmartArt in the ensuing context menu.

Can't find the right diagram? See "Expanding Diagram Choices" in the "Troubleshooting" section near the end of this chapter.


Formatting SmartArt

After you place SmartArt on your slide, you need to format it to fulfill your requirements:

  • You might want to add or edit text.
  • You might want to change the theme colors or apply a style to the shapes.
  • You might want to add or remove shapes within the SmartArt.
  • You might want to realign or resize the SmartArt.
  • You might want to change to another SmartArt variant.

Whatever you might want to do, it's all done from the two new SmartArt Tools ribbon tabs that you can see only when some SmartArt is selected on a slide:

  • SmartArt Tools Design ribbon (see Figure 12.2)

  • Figure 12.2: SmartArt Tools Design ribbon tab.
  • SmartArt Tools Format ribbon (see Figure 12.3)

  • Figure 12.3: SmartArt Tools Format ribbon tab.

Tables 12.1 and 12.2 explain the functions of the buttons on these ribbon tabs.

Button Name Description
Add Shape Adds another shape to the selected SmartArt graphic.
Add Bullet Adds a bullet at the same level as the selected text.
Right to Left Changes the direction of the chosen element such as an arrow from right to left. This is a toggle option.
Layout Enables you to change the hierarchy level of the selected SmartArt component.
Promote Promotes the level of the selected SmartArt component.
Demote Demotes the level of the selected SmartArt component.
Text Pane Makes the text pane visible so that you can also edit the SmartArt text as bullet points. This is a toggle option.
Layouts Shows more layouts in the same SmartArt type—so if you have an organization chart on the slide, this shows you more SmartArt layouts for organization charts.
Change Colors Lets you change the color combination of the elements contained in the SmartArt graphic.
SmartArt Styles Provides more styles of the selected SmartArt graphic, with changed colors and effects.

Reset Graphic Resets the graphic to the original SmartArt graphic, which is helpful if you have resized elements.

Table 12.1: SmartArt Tools Design Ribbon Buttons.

Button Name Description
Edit in 2-D Works for SmartArt elements with 3-D effects that you might find easier to edit in 2-D.
Change Shape Enables you to change the shape of a selected SmartArt element; for example, you can change an arrow to a rectangle.
Larger Makes the selected SmartArt element larger.
Smaller Makes the selected SmartArt element smaller.
Shape Styles Applies ready-formatted styles to selected SmartArt elements.
Shape Fill Changes, adds, or removes the shape fill of a selected SmartArt element.
Shape Outline Changes, adds, or removes the shape outline of a selected SmartArt element.
Shape Effects Changes, adds, or removes effects applied to a selected SmartArt element.
WordArt Styles Applies a WordArt style to the text contained in a selected SmartArt element. Also enables you to change the fill, outline, and effects.
Arrange Reorders, aligns, groups, and rotates selected SmartArt elements.

Size Resizes selected SmartArt elements.

Table 12.2: SmartArt Tools Format ribbon Buttons

Formatting Individual SmartArt Elements

After you have placed a SmartArt graphic on a slide, there's a lot you can do to change its appearance:

  • Add more shapes—for example, add another shape to a cycle diagram or organization chart.
  • Change the colors and effects of the shape elements in a SmartArt graphic.
  • Resize and reposition the entire SmartArt graphic, or resize and reposition individual elements such as shapes within the graphic.
  • Change the SmartArt graphic variant to something else, or just experiment and see whether another SmartArt graphic variant works better.
  • Reorganize the graphic by promoting or demoting levels, changing directions of shapes such as arrows and so on.
  • Change individual shape elements within the SmartArt graphic, or make them smaller or larger.
  • Change the font formatting of the text within the SmartArt graphic.
  • Add animation to a SmartArt graphic.
  • To learn more about animation, see Chapter 16, "Working with Animation."
  • Reset a SmartArt graphic if you want to start all over again with the formatting.


Sample SmartArt Variants

Because there are so many SmartArt graphic variants, it would probably take an entire book to explain them all. However, some variants are more popular than others, and some of these diagram types have been available in previous versions of PowerPoint—so users might be more familiar with them.

Figures 12.4 and 12.5 illustrate examples of some of these SmartArt graphics.

Figure 12.4: There are a variety of ways to illustrate information in PowerPoint.

Figure 12.5: Additional diagram options are also available.

Note: Remember that SmartArt graphics are only one way to present information visually in PowerPoint. You can also create flowcharts and other illustrations, for example, to convey similar information using PowerPoint's Shapes.

To learn how to use Shapes to create flowcharts or other diagrams, see "Inserting Shapes" in Chapter 15, "Working with Shapes and Objects."


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