We have already seen bullets or a simple text enough times. To present content better, charts were invented. PowerPoint SmartArts are charts that can be filled with your own texts and images and can be adapted to your own wishes with many settings. Charts help to show connections, hierarchies, processes, etc. in an understandable way. PowerPoint offers SmartArts for numerous topics, which we will use and adapt in this chapter.
There are two ways to insert a SmartArt. Either we create the content first and choose a suitable SmartArt afterwards or we choose a SmartArt chart first and insert content into the placeholders. In this chapter, both procedures are shown.
We click the Insert tab and click the SmartArt button in the Illustrations area.
The Insert SmartArt graphic dialog box opens with three columns. On the left is an overview of all SmartArt categories, in the middle is a list of available charts (sorted by category), and the right bar describes the SmartArt graphic selected in the list. In our example we click twice on the SmartArt Horizontal image bar (clicking OK also works).
The SmartArt is inserted in the middle of the slide. After we select it, a blue frame appears (similar to diagrams). At the dotted parts of the frame there are handles to adjust the size and position of the SmartArt.
As in the example before, we select the SmartArt; if it is not already selected. Now let’s take a closer look at the frame: on the left side, at mid-height, there is a button with a small arrow. Clicking on it shows us a new area where content can be inserted.
However, this step is often not necessary because the “Enter text here” button is already open.
The [Text] field after the bullet is a placeholder and will be replaced by your own text or heading.
When a text is entered in the left bar, it is immediately visible in the chart.
Content can also be written directly into the placeholders. To do this, we click on a placeholder and paste our text into it. The font size always adjusts so that it is inside the box. Lots of text with small letters along with it. Note: For how to edit text in shapes, see the tutorial Text in Shapes.
We click on the placeholder for images.
And the Insert Image dialog box opens. We click Browse to select an image from the hard disk.
The Open Graphic dialog box appears. Here we select a suitable graphic on a storage location and click on Insert.
The same procedure is used to insert the other images into the placeholders.
If the image does not fit, it can be made to fit by using a specific command. We click on the Format tab (Image Tools) in the Size section on the small arrow (pointing downwards) at Crop. In the following menu we select the Fit option. PowerPoint will fit the size of the original image to the image placeholder.
After we have inserted all the images and headings, a SmartArt will look like this:
Add text layers and more text
Most SmartArts offer the possibility to create multiple levels of enumerations. To illustrate this, let’s reopen the Content Insert area from the chapter above and look at the left “Enter text here” bar. We click on the first text box.
By typing the “Enter” or “Enter key” ↵ we insert another placeholder.
We can insert as many placeholders as we want. In our example, we want to create a new layer for our three rows. Therefore, we press the Tab key (key to the left of the Q labeled so ⇥ or so ↹) to create a subpoint. The Enter key ↵ can then be used to create additional sub-points. Each main point can have any number of sub-points, as in our example:
Note: At most a second level should be created. So that a chart does not become too complex, as a rule no third or fourth level of subpoints should be started. A small rule: If a main point has only one subpoint, this is a formal error. If subpoints are set, there should be at least two.
Using this technique we create subheadings for all headings. The result may look like this:
Find matching SmartArt to content
If the text is already written, a matching chart can be created with a few mouse clicks to better showcase the content. Not all texts are suitable for all SmartArts. Also, SmartArts of the Process category only make sense if a process or development is described; unsuitable SmartArts can confuse.
A slide with multiple bullets is best, as in our example:
We select the text element:
To click the Convert to SmartArt button in the Paragraph group on the Home tab.
As described in the above chapter “Inserting SmartArts”, we select a suitable SmartArt. Since this is a process, we choose a process SmartArt.
The text changes to a SmartArt.
How to customize SmartArts is explained in the tutorial Customize SmartArts.