SmartArt Graphics

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

Introduction

Video: SmartArt Graphics

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SmartArt allows you to communicate information with graphics instead of just using text. There are a variety of styles to choose from, which you can use to illustrate many different types of ideas.

To insert a SmartArt graphic:

  1. Select the slide where you want the SmartArt graphic to appear.
  2. From the Insert tab, select the SmartArt command in the Illustrations group.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the SmartArt command
  3. A dialog box will appear. Select a category on the left, choose the desired SmartArt graphic, and click OK.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Inserting a SmartArt graphic
  4. The SmartArt graphic will appear on the current slide.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The inserted SmartArt graphic

You can also click the Insert a SmartArt Graphic command in a placeholder to add SmartArt.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Inserting SmartArt from a placeholder

To add text to a SmartArt graphic:

  1. Select the SmartArt graphic. The SmartArt task pane will appear to the left.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The SmartArt task pane
  2. Enter text next to each bullet in the task pane. The text will appear in the graphic and will resize to fit inside the shape.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Adding text in the SmartArt task pane
  3. 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 delete any bullets you're not using to remove the shapes.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Adding a shape

You can also add text by clicking the desired shape and then typing. 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:

PowerPoint makes it easy to transform traditional bullet points into an eye-catching SmartArt graphic. If you already have text on a slide, you can convert it to SmartArt. In our example below, we'll change the bullet points into SmartArt to help illustrate a process.

  1. Right-click the list or paragraph you want to convert to SmartArt.
  2. Hover the mouse over Convert to SmartArt, then select the desired SmartArt graphic.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Converting text to SmartArt
  3. The text will appear as a SmartArt graphic.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The text converted to SmartArt

You can also convert SmartArt back to text. From the Design tab on the right side of the Ribbon, click the Convert command, then select Convert to Text.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Converting SmartArt to text

Changing the SmartArt organization

To add a shape:

  1. Select the SmartArt graphic, then click the Design tab on the right side of the Ribbon.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Design tab
  2. Decide where you want the new shape to appear, then select an adjacent shape.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting an adjacent shape
  3. Click the Add Shape command in the Graphics group. A drop-down menu will appear.
  4. Select Add Shape Before or Add Shape After to add a shape on the same level as the selected shape. Select Add Shape Above or Add Shape Below to add a shape above or below the selected shape.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Adding a shape
  5. The new shape will appear.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The newly added shape

To promote or demote shapes:

  1. Select the SmartArt graphic, then click the Design tab on the right side of the Ribbon.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Design tab
  2. Select the shape you want to promote or demote. In our example, we'll demote a shape.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting a shape to demote
  3. To move the shape to a higher level, click the Promote command in the Create Graphic group. To move it to a lower level, click Demote.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Demote command
  4. The shape will move one level higher or lower.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The demoted 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. For more information, you may want to review our lesson on Indents and Line Spacing.

To rearrange shapes on the same level:

  1. Select the SmartArt graphic, then click the Design tab.
  2. Select the shape you want to move.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting a shape to move
  3. In the Create Graphic group, click Move Up or Move Down.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Move Up
  4. The shape will move to a new location on the same level, and any shapes nested below it will also move.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013The moved shape

Customizing SmartArt

After inserting SmartArt, there are several things you might want to change about its appearance. Whenever you select a SmartArt graphic, the Design and Format tabs will appear on the right side of the Ribbon. From there, it's easy to edit the style and layout of a SmartArt graphic.

To customize SmartArt

To change the SmartArt layout:

If you don't like the way your information is organized within a SmartArt graphic, you can always change its layout to better fit your content.

  1. Select the SmartArt graphic, then select the Design tab.
  2. In the Layouts group, click the drop-down arrow.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the drop-down arrow
  3. Select the desired layout or click More Layouts... to see even more SmartArt options.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting a SmartArt layout
  4. The selected layout will appear.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The new SmartArt layout

If the new layout is too different from the original, some of your text may not show up. Before deciding on a new layout, check carefully to make sure no important information will be lost.

Challenge!

  1. Create a new presentation.
  2. Insert a SmartArt graphic.
  3. Enter text into the graphic.
  4. Try promoting and demoting shapes between levels.
  5. Try moving shapes up and down on the same level.
  6. Change the color scheme.
  7. Change the SmartArt style.