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Adding Shapes to Existing SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how you can add more shapes to existing SmartArt graphics in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows. You can add shapes before and after existing shapes, or even above and below shapes.

Once you insert a SmartArt graphic within PowerPoint or convert some bulleted text to SmartArt, you may want to add more shapes to your SmartArt graphic. Fortunately, the SmartArt feature allows you to make these additions and later edit them too. You can add more shapes to your existing SmartArt graphics either from within the SmartArt graphic itself or through the Text Pane. Note that adding a new shape to a SmartArt graphic entirely depends on the SmartArt variant that you are using. Some variants offer more options than the others.

Follow these steps to add more shapes to your existing SmartArt graphics in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows:

  1. Select your existing SmartArt graphic, as shown in Figure 1, below. The SmartArt graphic variant that we have selected is the Diverging Radial.

  2. Figure 1: Diverging Radial SmartArt
  3. When the SmartArt graphic is selected, you'll find two contextual tabs activated on the Ribbon. These are the SmartArt Tools Design and SmartArt Tools Format tabs, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, below.

  4. Figure 2: SmartArt Tools Design and Format tabs on the Ribbon
  5. Contextual Tabs

  6. The SmartArt Tools Design and the SmartArt Tools Format tabs are contextual tabs. These tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time. They only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.
  7. Select any individual shape within the SmartArt graphic and click the SmartArt Tools Design tab on the Ribbon, as shown in Figure 2, above.
  8. Within this SmartArt Tools Design tab, click the Add Shape button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3, below, to bring up a drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 3.

  9. Figure 3: Add Shape button


  10. Alternatively, you can right-click the selected shape to get the resultant contextual menu, as shown in Figure 4, below. Here, choose the Add Shape option. Note that options here are exactly the same as shown within the Add Shapes drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 3, above.

  11. Figure 4: Add Shape drop-down gallery
  12. These options are explained below:
  13. Add Shape After

  14. Inserts a shape at the same level after the selected shape.
  15. Add Shape Before

  16. Inserts a shape at the same level before the selected shape.
  17. Add Shape Above

  18. Inserts a shape one level above the selected shape.
  19. Add Shape Below

  20. Inserts a shape one level below the selected shape.
  21. Add Assistant

  22. This option places a shape which is hierarchically lower than the selected shape. Shape Assistant is only available if you have chosen an organization chart layout.
  23. You'll see that last three options in Figures 3 and 4 are grayed out. This is because these options logically don't work with the SmartArt graphic variant being used (Diverging Radial). Each SmartArt graphic variant will allow some options, and gray out the others.

See Also:

Working with SmartArt: Adding Shapes to Existing SmartArt Graphics (Glossary Page)

Adding Shapes to Existing SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Adding Shapes to Existing SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Adding Shapes to Existing SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Adding Shapes to Existing SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows