Most of the time, SmartArt graphics work great with their default looks. Yes, you can change your SmartArt graphics to other layouts and you can also change the Theme colors or apply a SmartArt Style to make your SmartArt appear distinct and unique. What many users don't realize though is that you can change the actual shapes within a SmartArt graphic. For instance, you can change some rectangles in your SmartArt graphic to become ovals with a mere click or two!
Follow these steps to change shapes within a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows:
- Select your existing SmartArt graphic, as shown in Figure 1, below.
- Note that once you select a SmartArt graphic, two contextual tabs activate on the Ribbon. These are the SmartArt Tools Design and the SmartArt Tools Format tabs, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, below.
Figure 1: Continuous Block Process SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint
- The SmartArt Tools Design and 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.
- Select any shape within the SmartArt graphic that you want to change. In the example shown in Figure 2, we have selected the rounded rectangle in the middle. Now, select the SmartArt Tools Format tab on the Ribbon.
Figure 2: SmartArt Tools Format tab selected
- Within the SmartArt Tools Format tab, locate the Shapes group. Then, click the Change Shape button, as shown in Figure 3, below.
Figure 3: Change Shape button selected
- Doing so brings up the Shapes gallery, as shown in Figure 4, below. Select any shape you like. For this tutorial we have selected the Oval shape, as shown in Figure 4, again.
Figure 4: Oval shape selected within Shapes gallery
- Figure 5, below, shows the selected rounded rectangle is now changed to an Oval. Note that only the shape is changed and other attributes such as fill color, outline color, etc, remain the same (compare Figures 2 and 5).
Figure 5: Selected shape within a SmartArt graphic is changed from a rectangle to an oval
- Save your presentation often.
Advanced SmartArt: Change Shapes within a SmartArt Graphic (Glossary Page)