SmartArt Illustrations

When using SmartArt PowerPoint lets you communicate information with graphics. Use PowerPoint SmartArt to illustrate specific ideas.

Introduction

PowerPoint 2010

SmartArt allows you to visually communicate information rather than simply using text. Illustrations can enhance your presentation, and SmartArt makes using graphics especially easy.

In this lesson, you will learn how to insert a SmartArt graphic, modify the color and effects, and change the organization of the graphic.

SmartArt graphics

Video: SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2010

Launch video!Watch the video (3:57).

PowerPoint has a variety of SmartArt graphics you can use to illustrate and organize different types of ideas. To get the most out of SmartArt, you'll need to know how to insert a SmartArt graphic, modify the color and effects, and change the organization of the graphic.

Optional: You can download this example for extra practice.

To insert a SmartArt graphic:

  1. Select the Insert tab.
  2. Select the SmartArt command in the Illustrations group. A dialog box will appear.
    The SmartArt CommandThe SmartArt Command
  3. Select a category on the left of the dialog box and review the SmartArt graphics that appear in the center.
  4. Select the desired SmartArt graphic, then click OK.
    Selecting a SmartArt graphicSelecting a SmartArt graphic

To see more details about a graphic, click any image and a larger preview of the graphic with additional text details will appear on the right side of the dialog box.

To add text to a SmartArt graphic:

  1. Select the graphic. A border will appear around it with an arrow on the left side.
  2. Click the arrow on the left side of the graphic to open the task pane.
    The arrow to open the task paneThe arrow to open the task pane
  3. Enter text next to each bullet in the task pane. The information will appear in the graphic and will resize to fit inside the shape.
    Typing text into the task paneTyping text into the task pane
  4. To add a new shape, press Enter. A new bullet will appear in the task pane, and a new shape will appear in the graphic.

You can also add text by clicking the desired shape and then typing your text. This works well if you only need to add text to a few shapes. However, for more complex SmartArt graphics working in the task pane is often faster.

To convert existing text to SmartArt:

  1. Select the list or paragraph you want to change to SmartArt, then right click. A drop-down menu will appear.
  2. Hover the mouse over Convert to SmartArt.
    Converting text to SmartArtConverting text to SmartArt
  3. Select the desired SmartArt graphic, or click More SmartArt Graphics at the bottom of the menu to view more options.

    Hovering to preview the SmartArtConverting SmartArt to text

You can also convert SmartArt back to text. Select your SmartArt, then click the SmartArt Tools Design tab. Click Convert, then select Convert to Text.

Converting SmartArt to textConverting SmartArt to text

Changing the organization of a SmartArt graphic

To add a shape to a graphic:

  1. Select the graphic. The Design and Format tabs appear on the Ribbon.
  2. Select the Design tab.
  3. Decide where you want the new shape to appear, and select one of the shapes nearby.
  4. Click the drop-down arrow on the Add Shape command in the Graphics group. A menu will appear.
  5. Select Add Shape Before or Add Shape After to add a shape on the same level as the one you selected. To add a shape above or below that one, select Add Shape Above or Add Shape Below.
    Adding a shapeAdding a shape

To move shapes to a higher or lower level:

  1. Select the graphic. The Design and Format tabs appear on the Ribbon.
  2. Select the Design tab.
  3. Select the shape you want to move.
  4. To move the shape to a higher level, click the Promote command in the Create Graphic group, or click Demote to move it lower.
    Promoting a shapePromoting a shape
  5. The shape will move one level higher or lower.
    The promoted shapeThe promoted shape

You can also demote and promote shapes from within the task pane. With the insertion point in the task pane, press the Tab key to demote a shape. Press the Backspace key (or Shift+Tab) to promote a shape. It's a lot like creating an outline with a multilevel list in Word 2010. For more information, you may want to review our Working with Lists lesson from our Word 2010/ tutorial.

To rearrange shapes on the same level:

  1. Select the graphic. The Design and Format tabs appear on the Ribbon.
  2. Select the Design tab.
  3. Select the shape you want to move.
  4. In the Create Graphic group, click Move Up or Move Down.
    Moving a shape on the same levelMoving a shape up on the same level
  5. The shape will move one space up or down.
    The moved shapeThe moved shape

Modifying the SmartArt graphic's appearance

To change the SmartArt layout:

  1. Select the graphic. The Design and Format tabs will appear on the Ribbon.
  2. Click the Design tab.
  3. In the Layouts group, click the More drop-down arrow to view all of the layouts.
    Changing the layoutViewing the SmartArt layouts
  4. Hover the mouse over each layout to see a live preview.
    Hovering to preview the new layoutSelecting a new layout
  5. Select the desired layout.

If the new layout is different from the old one, some of your text may not show up. Before selecting a new layout, check carefully to make sure no important information gets lost.

To change the SmartArt style:

  1. Select the graphic. The Design and Format tabs will appear on the Ribbon.
  2. Click the Design tab.
  3. In the SmartArt Styles group, click the More drop-down arrow to view all of the styles.
    Viewing the SmartArt StylesViewing the SmartArt styles
  4. Hover the mouse over each style to see a live preview.
    Selecting a SmartArt StyleSelecting a SmartArt style
  5. Select the desired style.

To change the color scheme:

PowerPoint provides a variety of color schemes to use with SmartArt. The color schemes use theme colors, so they will vary depending on the theme you're using.

  1. Select the graphic. The Design and Format tabs will appear on the Ribbon.
  2. Select the Design tab.
  3. Click the Change Colors command. A drop-down menu appears, showing various color schemes.
  4. Select the desired color scheme.
    Selecting a new color schemeSelecting a new color scheme

If you want to change the appearance of a single shape within the SmartArt graphic, select the shape and click the Format tab. You can then modify the shape style, color, effects, and other settings for that shape.

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing PowerPoint presentation. If you want, you can use this example.
  2. Insert a SmartArt graphic. If you're using the example, go to slide 6 and change the bulleted list into SmartArt.
  3. Enter text into the graphic. If you're using the example, click the SmartArt you just created. Add a new employee on the level below Elizabeth Walter, Design Specialist.
  4. Change the SmartArt style. If you're using the example, change the style on slide 10.
  5. Change the color scheme. If you're using the example, change the color scheme of the SmartArt on slide 7.