Customize SmartArt

Already shown in the Insert SmartArts chapter, we have seen the advantages of pre-drawn charts: to visually stage content with just a few clicks. However, PowerPoint offers many more possibilities to individualize the charts. This chapter shows how to vary colors, shapes and sizes.

Customize size

If we mark the chart, we see white handles.


We click on a drag point and keep the mouse button pressed while we resize the chart with the moving mouse. While dragging, the mouse pointer becomes a black cross.


We finish the process by releasing the mouse button.


The size of individual elements is adjusted using the same procedure. We select an element with a click and click again on a drag point without releasing the mouse button.


When the size fits, we release the mouse button.


Several elements can be formatted at the same time. To do this, simply select several elements by pressing the CTRL key while clicking on the desired images, shapes, text passages, etc. with the mouse.


Selecting several elements at the same time is a very useful function and will be used more often in this chapter.

Now we click on any handle of a selected shape and enlarge the element. At the same time we see that the other selected shapes resize.


Alternatively, the selected shapes can be adjusted to larger (or smaller) on the Format tab (SmartArt tools) in the Shapes group.


Exchange shapes

PowerPoint offers numerous charts with the most diverse combinations of forms and representations. Each one is a finished SmartArt, but at the same time it can be seen as a draft. They are basic frameworks waiting to be adapted to your own presentation. By customizing the shapes we give the layout a more individual touch.

To do this, we select all the shapes that should be changed.


Then we navigate to the Formats tab (SmartArt Tools) to the Shapes group and click the Change Shape button.


A shape catalog opens. Here we select the new shape with one click. In our example we choose the shape ellipse.


The shapes have adjusted. Depending on which shapes are selected, the text may shift and be adjusted accordingly.


Edit font

Now we change the appearance of the font.

In the first step we adjust the font of the whole chart. Therefore we mark it with a mouse click.


Es empfiehlt sich nicht zu viele verschiedene Schriftgrößen und Schriftarten zu verwenden, da bei zu viel Kreativität die Übersicht leiden kann.

We move to the Start tab in the Font group and click the Increase Font button. The larger the font, the easier it is for the audience to read the text.


The advantage of the Enlarge Font button is that fonts of different sizes will remain different sizes and will not be the same size. This makes sense, for example, when headings in the charts are larger than the text and should remain so.

This is what the result looks like:


Adjusting the text size often results in the text not fitting properly into the shape. Either we enlarge the shape as described above or we reduce the margin for the text. To do this, we right-click on the corresponding SmartArt graphic and click Format Shape in the context menu.


On the right side, the Formatting Shape bar appears. We click on the Text Options area (red arrow) and there further on the Text Field category (green arrow).


Here we adjust the margin by clicking the small down arrow on the button. Alternatively, we can enter a number ourselves in the input field.


And this is the result:


Hinweis: Falls der Text noch immer nicht passt, können wir in den Text einen “Trennstrich” einfügen um einen Zeilenumbruch zu erzwingen. So passen auch große Worte in die Formen. An dieser Stelle empfiehlt es sich die Textpassagen komplett zu überarbeiten und von der Menge her zu kürzen.

Of course, the fonts can be edited even further. All options in the Start tab in the Font group can be applied. This is explained in detail in the chapter Customize Fonts.

Format colors

SmartArt charts can be given a completely new look and enhanced with colors and effects in just a few simple steps.

First, we highlight the SmartArt chart.


We click the Change Colors button on the Design tab (SmartArt Tools) in the SmartArt Style Sheets group.


Depending on the preset design colors, a catalog with several templates opens. With one click we select a color variation.


And this is the result:


3D effects can be applied to the design templates using the same procedure. We click the small arrow (red arrow) in the SmartArt templates group.


Now another catalog opens with several 3D effects that can be selected with one click.


How 3D effects are applied in detail is explained in the Shapes and effects chapter.

Continue with individual adjustments: The color of each element within the chart can be varied. To do this, we click on a shape to select it.


Now we navigate to the Format tab (SmartArt Tools) in the Shape Types group and click the Fill Color button to recolor the shape.


The Fill colors button is also located in the Start tab in the Drawing group.

As described in the chapter Shapes and colors, all elements of the SmartArt can be adjusted visually at this point.