SmartArt

Learning Objectives

  • Create and insert SmartArt.

SmartArt is a dynamic type of image that you will often see in PowerPoint slides. SmartArt can be used to group lists of information together, through bullet lists for example, or to show a process, through cycles. Fortunately, you do not need to be a graphic designer to create and insert simple and effective SmartArt into a PowerPoint presentation.

Before you actually insert SmartArt, you should determine what you are attempting to convey and the best way to convey it. One helpful item here is the descriptions provided for each basic SmartArt graphic shape. You can access these descriptions by selecting the Insert a SmartArt Graphic option on a new slide. When you do, you will see this window:

A smart art graphic menu has been opened showing all of the different types of smart art available to choose from.

The graphic styles displayed immediately under All are the commonly used ones, but you can navigate to specific styles using the menu on the left. For this walkthrough, we will create a basic cycle SmartArt graphic. This type of graphic is useful when describing a process, such as what happens when a customer returns a defective item. This example will be used to describe how to create a SmartArt graphic.

A smart art graphic menu has been opened showing the different types of smart art cycles available.

Once you click OK, the graphic is automatically sized into your slide, just like inserting any image. Remember: at the end of the day, a SmartArt graphic is just an image. Therefore, you add them to slides using the same steps shown on the previous page. You have to insert a SmartArt graphic before you can actually create the graphic.

The graphic inserts into the slide with default options, but those are very easy to change, as we will soon seeA Microsoft Powerpoint is open with two slides. The second slide has been selected and a smart art cycle has been inserted.

Using the text box on the left, type in what should be displayed in each portion of the graphic. To move between portions of the graphic, in this case the circles, click on the next bullet in the text box or on the next shape in the graphic. Below, all text has been updated and a title has been added to the slide.

A Microsoft Powerpoint is open with two slides. The second slide has been selected and a smart art cycle has been inserted. A text box to the left has opened allowing access to change the content inside the cycle.

You can edit the text at any time by clicking on the “Type your text here” box or the circle you wish to edit. If you have left the slide or presentation and come back to edit it later, you will need to click on some part of the SmartArt graphic to bring the “Type your text here” box back onto the screen.

Practice Question

If you want to change the color scheme, layout, number of shapes in the graphic, or any other option, you can do so using the Design tab and the options available in that ribbon. Note this Design tab is only available after you have clicked on the SmartArt graphic. This is not the standard Design tab that is always available in PowerPoint.

A Microsoft Powerpoint is open with two slides. The second slide has been selected and a smart art cycle has been inserted. A text box to the left has opened allowing access to change the content inside the cycle. A green box in the ribbon has appeared highlighting the design tab in the menu.

Once you have created your SmartArt graphic, you can use the Convert to Shapes option to make your SmartArt graphic a static image. Once you do this, you can still edit the text inside the shapes, but you cannot change other options such as color, layout, or number of shapes.

A Microsoft Powerpoint is open with two slides. The second slide has been selected and a smart art cycle has been inserted. A text box to the left has opened allowing access to change the content inside the cycle. A green box in the ribbon has appeared highlighting the design tab in the menu. A green arrow is pointing to the convert button making the cycle become static.

Practice question

Check Your Understanding

Answer the question(s) below to see how well you understand the topics covered in the previous section. This short quiz does not count toward your grade in the class, and you can retake it an unlimited number of times.

Use this quiz to check your understanding and decide whether to (1) study the previous section further or (2) move on to the next section.