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Smart Connectors in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn what Smart connectors are, and how they are different from conventional lines in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. These connectors are linked to the slide objects they are connected with.

Connectors are lines that join two shapes or objects, and can be found within the Lines and Connectors category within the Shape gallery in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac, as shown in Figure 1. These connectors link between (or join) two shapes like rectangles, triangles, scribbles, etc. to show a relationship. In addition, they also work with other slide objects such as pictures. Since these connectors are linked to slide objects, they move automatically when the linked objects are moved. That's the reason why they are called "Smart Connectors". You'll learn more about all the other smart things these connectors do in subsequent tutorials of this series.

Figure 1: Lines and Connectors sub-gallery within the Shape gallery

Since the connectors are variants of lines (outlines of open shapes), they don't have any fill attributes. However, all the outline formatting options available in PowerPoint 2011 can be applied to connectors including line thickness, dash styles, arrowheads, etc.

Although connectors look like conventional, simple lines, there is a fundamental difference because unlike simple lines, connectors "connect" two slide objects to each other. Move any of the objects "connected" to the connector, and the connecter resizes and repositions automatically. So, which of the variants in the Lines and Connectors category within the Shape gallery (see Figure 1 above) are connectors? All variants except the last three can act as both simple lines or connectors—how they act depends upon how you place or draw them.

Tip: If you want a line to act as a connector, you'll have to first insert/draw the shapes, and then add the connectors that link these shapes. Remember that you cannot add a shape to an existing connector—rather, you can only add a connector to an existing shape (or another slide object).

Figure 2 shows a connector sample that was created using just rectangles and lines (these lines act as connectors).

Figure 2: Sample diagram using closed shapes and connectors

Learn more about the types of connectors, and how you can draw them in subsequent tutorials.

See Also:

Smart Connectors in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Smart Connectors in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows