As part of this ongoing SmartArt series, you have learned that SmartArt graphics can be customized to a large extent. You can resize and move individual shapes, format text and change colors, add and delete shapes, and animate them in sequence. However, these customization options have their limitations. Any customization is within the bounding box within which your SmartArt graphic is contained. To get over these limitations, you may consider converting your SmartArt graphic to a collection of individual editable shapes that can be manipulated further.
This approach does have its advantages since you are no longer tied to the SmartArt feature and can now treat the individual shapes as normal PowerPoint shapes that can be formatted, positioned, or animated as you deem fit! However, this freedom does come at a price. First of all, this is a one-way process, and you lose any editability for the SmartArt graphic from that point in time.
Follow these steps to convert SmartArt graphics into individual shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:
- Select your existing SmartArt graphic, as shown in Figure 1, below. The SmartArt graphic variant that has been used is the Horizontal Picture List.
Figure 1: Horizontal Picture List SmartArt with text
- Select the SmartArt tab of the Ribbon, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1, above.
- Within this tab, locate the Reset group, and click the Convert button, as shown highlighted in blue in Figure 1, above, to access the drop-down list, as shown in Figure 2, below.
- In this drop-down list, select the Convert to Shapes option (refer to Figure 2, again).
Figure 2: Convert to Shapes option
- The SmartArt tab is a contextual tab. This is a special tab on the Ribbon that is not visible all the time. This tab only makes an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.
- This action will convert the selected SmartArt graphics to shapes, as shown in Figure 3, below. Note that the ungrouped SmartArt graphic now shows typical selection handles as in the case of any PowerPoint shape. You no longer see the SmartArt selection box, as shown earlier in Figure 1.
Figure 3: SmartArt graphic converted to shapes
- Now, right-click (or Ctrl + click) the converted SmartArt graphic to bring up a contextual menu, and choose the Grouping | Ungroup option, as shown in Figure 4, below.
Figure 4: Ungroup option within the Grouping sub-menu of converted SmartArt contextual menu
- This action also ungroups the entire converted SmartArt graphics into individual shapes, as shown in Figure 5, below.
Figure 5: Converted SmartArt graphic ungrouped into individual shapes
- Now, you can select individual shapes and format them as you like. Look at our tutorials on Shapes to learn about the techniques you can use to make your shapes do so much more.
- Save your presentation.
Backup Your Slide Before You Convert?
Do note that any editability for your SmartArt graphic will no longer be retained once you convert it into shapes. So if you are not sure, do create a copy of your slide that contains the SmartArt graphic, and then do the conversion.
Advanced SmartArt: Convert SmartArt Graphics to Shapes (Glossary Page)