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Harvey Balls in PowerPoint for Windows

Learn how you can quickly create Harvey Balls in PowerPoint for Windows. We also explore a little history about Harvey Balls.

Harvey balls are round ideograms or pictograms that show different states of a ball with quarters added or subtracted to attain five states between start and completion, as shown in Figure 1, below. They have been named after Harvey L. Poppel, who started using them in the 1970s. They are often used in business reports, documents, and presentations because they show progressive data at a quick glance.


Figure 1: Harvey balls with five progressive stages

While you can use Harvey balls as shown in Figure 1, above, you can also use them in a reversed progressive direction, as shown within alternate rows in Figure 2, below.


Figure 2: Harvey balls with several progressive stages

As you can see, there are four sequences of Harvey balls in Figure 2, above. These are explained below, from top to bottom:

  1. Empty to full, clockwise
  2. Full to empty, clockwise
  3. Empty to full, counter-clockwise
  4. Full to empty, counter-clockwise

We will now look at three ways to add Harvey balls in PowerPoint and other Office programs such as Word and Excel. These three ways are:

1. Using the Icons feature

To insert Harvey balls using the Icons feature, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the slide where you want to insert Harvey balls, and access the Insert tab of the Ribbon. Now, click the Icons button, highlighted in red within Figure 3, below.

  2. Figure 3: Icons button on the Insert tab
  3. No Icons Button?

  4. Are you not seeing the Icons button on the Insert tab of the Ribbon? You may be running an older version of PowerPoint. Newer versions such as PowerPoint 365 and perpetual versions including PowerPoint 2021 and 2019 include the Icons feature. Older versions may be missing this option.
  5. See Also: Updates for Microsoft 365 Applications
  6. This action will bring up the Icons dialog box, that you can see in Figure 4, below. In the Search box, highlighted in red within Figure 4, type in harvey balls, and PowerPoint will show results. If you look at the search results, as shown in Figure 4, you will notice that other than the Harvey balls for each quarter, you will see Harvey balls in many more increments. In fact, PowerPoint almost considers Harvey balls as clock-like and provides options for each hour.

  7. Figure 4: Icons dialog box in PowerPoint
  8. Select the Harvey balls you want to use on your slide, as shown highlighted in green within Figure 4, above. Note that you can select multiple Harvey balls. When you are done selecting the icons you need, click the Insert button, highlighted in blue within Figure 4.
  9. Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise?

  10. Do note that PowerPoint provides only clockwise Harvey balls. If you want counter-clockwise Harvey balls, go ahead and choose the clockwise ones because they can be flipped in PowerPoint to become counter-clockwise.
  11. To flip, select the Harvey ball. Next, access the Home tab of the Ribbon, and click the Arrange button. In the ensuing drop-down menu, choose the Rotate | Flip Horizontal option. You can also press the Alt key, and then sequentially press the H, G, O, and H keys.
  12. PowerPoint will place these Harvey ball icons overlapping each other, but you can re-order and line them up, as shown in Figure 5, below.

  13. Figure 5: Line up your Harvey balls

While these Harvey balls are originally colored black, you can recolor them to any color you want. Select any of the Harvey ball icons, and you will see the Graphics Format contextual tab on the Ribbon. Click the Graphics Fill button in this tab to change the color of your Harvey ball icon.

2. Using the Symbols option

To access Harvey ball characters from the Symbol dialog box, follow these steps:

  1. In PowerPoint, click to place your insertion point. This insertion point can be within a text box, text placeholder, a shape, or even a table cell, as shown in Figure 6, below.

  2. Figure 6: Place an insertion point within a table cell
  3. Now access the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and click the Symbol button, as shown in Figure 7, below.

  4. Figure 7: Click the Symbol button
  5. Doing so brings up the Symbol dialog box, that you can see in Figure 8, below. Make sure you change the font within the Font drop-down list to Segoe UI Symbol, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 8.

  6. Figure 8: Harvey balls in the Symbol dialog box
  7. About the Segoe UI Symbol Font

  8. The Segoe UI Symbol font was created by Microsoft, and like Wingdings, this font contains many common and uncommon symbols, emoji, pictures, dingbats, icons and images.
  9. The font is installed as part of most Microsoft Windows installations, and it's also available as a Cloud font in Microsoft 365 applications.
  10. Select any of the Harvey ball characters, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 8, above. Do note that you may have to scroll down and locate these characters. Once you select any single character, click the Insert button, highlighted in green within Figure 8.


  11. Quickly Add Symbols

  12. Double-click any character to quickly add it to your insertion point in PowerPoint. You can double-click characters in quick succession, one after the other, to add multiple characters to your insertion point on the slide.
  13. Alternatively, you need not close the Symbol dialog box, and can select another character and press the Insert button. Repeat this process to add successive characters.
  14. Figure 9, below, shows added Harvey ball characters to different table cells. Do note that the Segoe UI Symbol font only provides clockwise Harvey balls, and you do not have the option to add counter-clockwise Harvey balls.

  15. Figure 9: Harvey balls added as Symbol font characters

3. Drawing Harvey balls

Folow these steps to draw Harvey balls in PowerPoint:

  1. Navigate to the slide where you want to insert Harvey balls. Access the Home or Insert tabs of the Ribbon, and click on the Shapes gallery or the Shapes button to bring up the gallery shown in Figure 10, below. Click the Partial Circle shape option, highlighted in red within Figure 10.

  2. Figure 10: Partial Circle shape in the Shapes gallery
  3. Click once to place a Partial Circle shape on your slide, as shown in Figure 11, below. You will notice that this placed shape has two yellow handles.

  4. Figure 11: Two handles on the Partial Circle shape
  5. Select the shape and press Ctrl + D twice to create two more instances of this shape, and then re-arrange the three shapes in a line, as shown in Figure 12, below. Notice that you don't see the yellow handles shown in Figure 11, above when multiple shapes are selected.

  6. Figure 12: Three Partial Circle shapes selected
  7. Now, drag the yellow handles on all three shapes to create sequential Harvey ball shapes, as shown in Figure 13, below. Do note that we have only worked on 3 of the 5 Harvey ball shapes needed, and even these only contain the quarter segments without the circle. We will remedy this situation in subsequent steps.

  8. Figure 13: 3 of the 5 Harvey ball shapes being created
  9. With these three shapes selected, remove their line attributes, and change their fill color as needed. Also, place 5 perfect circles on the same slide, as can be seen in Figure 14, below. These circles have no fill attributes and they do have 3 pt. line attributes. Do note that all circles and the three Partial Circle shapes we placed are 1 inches in both height and width. You can choose whichever size you want as long as you ensure that all shapes are sized the same, and all shapes have identical widths and heights.

  10. Figure 14: Create five circles for the Harvey balls
  11. Drag the three Partial Circle shapes to overlap the perfect circles placed below them, as shown in Figure 15, below. Compare with Figure 14, above.

  12. Figure 15: Overlap the perfect circles
  13. As you can see in Figure 15, above, we already ended up with four of the five Harvey balls needed. For the rightmost Harvey ball, add a solid fill of the same color as used elsewhere, so that you end up with the five Harvey balls shown in Figure 16, below.

  14. Figure 16: Harvey balls created in PowerPoint
  15. Next, select individual components of the three Harvey balls in the middle, and group them.

As you can see, there are several ways to add Harvey balls in your PowerPoint presentations. You can use an even easier way and download a sample PowerPoint file with Harvey balls already placed in various slides.


10 13 08 - PowerPoint Chart Types: Harvey Balls in PowerPoint (Glossary Page)