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Andrew Childress Feb 14, 2017
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Building a presentation is a time-limited exercise. I usually find myself rushing to polish up presentation slides before sending them off for review or updating content at the last moment.

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The last thing I have time for is drawing my own illustrations in a slideshow. This is where Powerpoint SmartArt comes into play. 

You may be wondering: What is SmartArt in PowerPoint exactly? 

Think of SmartArt as a time-saving graphic tool, built into PowerPoint—which allows you khổng lồ choose among various ready-made layouts & preset styles khổng lồ help you visualize your ideas with. SmartArt comes with ready-to-use charts, diagrams, process maps, & more.

In the screenshot below, you can see a simple example of SmartArt, where I"ve added a graphic illustration to show several steps in a process:

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SmartArt graphic visualization example. 

In this tutorial, I want lớn teach you how to lớn use SmartArt in PowerPoint. With it, we can add flexible và great-looking illustrations khổng lồ our slideshows quickly.

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How lớn Use SmartArt in PowerPoint (Quick-Start Video)

If you want khổng lồ learn more about how lớn use SmartArt in Microsoft PowerPoint, check out the quick screencast below. I"ll walk you through examples of how you can use it khổng lồ improve your presentations.


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Keep reading for a written step-by-step tutorial on how to lớn use SmartArt in PowerPoint, & some more ideas on how lớn leverage it to quickly visualize information in your presentation.

How to Make Your First SmartArt Graphic in PowerPoint

To add your first piece of SmartArt, go to lớn the Insert menu on the PowerPoint ribbon. Find the SmartArt menu option and click on it to lớn launch the SmartArt menu.

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Go lớn the Insert > SmartArt menu to địa chỉ cửa hàng a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint.

The next thực đơn that pops up allows you khổng lồ choose what type of SmartArt to add to your PowerPoint presentation. PowerPoint has a variety of SmartArt graphic styles khổng lồ work with.

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Choose one of the SmartArt styles lớn insert it into your PowerPoint presentation.

You"ll notice that PowerPoint has a variety of categories for SmartArt. On the left side, you can choose from styles such as "List", "Process", "Cycle." Choose one of these categories based on the nội dung that you"re working with (more on that later.)

The thumbnails in the center of the window are various types of SmartArt. Click on one khổng lồ preview it on the right side of the window. There are helpful descriptions that explain what the SmartArt can be used to present.

Once you"ve selected a SmartArt type, click on OK to insert it into your presentation.

How to địa chỉ Meaningful content to Your SmartArt

You"ve added SmartArt lớn your presentation. Now what? It"s time to địa chỉ some content and make it meaningful lớn your audience.

When SmartArt is added, a context thực đơn opens up khổng lồ the left of your data. If you can"t see this menu, click on the small arrow to mở cửa it up. (The thực đơn is labeled "Type your text here" in the screenshot below.)

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Type your text into the bullet points in the SmartArt content window.

This menu is used khổng lồ populate the SmartArt. You can type over the bullet points to showroom text lớn the SmartArt. As you add that text, the SmartArt will automatically update with the text you type.

Another way lớn modify your SmartArt is khổng lồ simply double-click on an individual object và type in it. 

Ready to customize SmartArt objects? Let"s keep moving.

How to lớn Modify SmartArt Elements

In the example above, the default SmartArt object has three bullet points that populate the SmartArt arrow. But, what if we wanted four, or five, or more objects on it?

To địa chỉ cửa hàng another object to lớn the SmartArt, you can vì chưng it one of two ways; the first is lớn find the Add Shape option, which is on the far left side of the Ribbon when you"ve selected Design. Click on Add Shape, or click the dropdown arrow & choose to showroom a new object After or Before.

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Add a Shape khổng lồ SmartArt.

Additionally, if you"re working in the context menu ("Type your text here" on the left side) you can simply press return on your keyboard to showroom a new bullet point to lớn the list, và a new object will be placed into your presentation.

If you had too many objects on your slide, simply click on one và press delete on your keyboard. PowerPoint will remove it from the presentation.

You can also manually reposition individual elements in the slideshow. Click-and-drag to lớn move objects around within the SmartArt. In the screenshot below, you can see how I"ve moved the boxes around khổng lồ show the steps as descending.

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Modifying PowerPoint SmartArt to lớn make steps descend.

How to lớn Change SmartArt Layouts

What if you start working on your SmartArt và realize you chose the wrong layout? You can easily change the layout & preserve your content. 

With a SmartArt object selected, find the Layouts section of the Design tab. Simply click on a new layout, & PowerPoint will convert your nội dung to the new selection.

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Quick change to lớn a SmartArt layout.

In the screenshot above, I"m working with the same SmartArt I"ve been using throughout this tutorial. The only thing that"s changed is the layout I"ve applied to it.

How to lớn Style Your SmartArt

Don"t like the default style for your SmartArt object? No problem. Make sure that you"ve got your SmartArt selected & click on the Design tab on the ribbon. 

There"s a SmartArt Styles section of the thực đơn where you can choose from preset SmartArt styles. Click the dropdown arrow lớn view all of the available styles for your selected SmartArt.

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SmartArt style options.

Click the dropdown arrow và choose a new style lớn change your SmartArt to. In the screenshot below, I selected a more three-dimensional style và applied it lớn my SmartArt.

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Three-dimensional style SmartArt applied.

Although the original SmartArt layout is preserved, you can change the graphic style with a single click.

Finally, you can also change the colors used in a SmartArt presentation. Click on Change Colors in the dropdown & choose a new color scheme for your SmartArt object.

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Changing SmartArt colors.

If you want to restyle individual elements, click on the Format tab. You can change the fill và outline colors of individual objects in your SmartArt chart.

8 Important Types of SmartArt (And When It"s Best to Use Them)

As you can see on the SmartArt window, PowerPoint has a litany of options for presenting data with SmartArt. With so many options, you might wonder what the right type of SmartArt lớn use is.

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There are several categories of SmartArt. How vì chưng you know which one to lớn use in your presentation?

Depending on the type of data that you"re presenting, some types of charts work better than others. Keep in mind though, there are no rules on how to lớn use SmartArt—only suggestions. 

Let"s look at the important types of SmartArt và the right situations khổng lồ put them to lớn best use:

1. List

If you have a simple bulleted danh mục of data in PowerPoint, the SmartArt list style is an easy upgrade khổng lồ make the data more visually appealing. 

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Here are several types of SmartArt danh mục styles.

Lists are pretty versatile. There"s a wide variety of SmartArt styles in PowerPoint, ranging from simple "Basic Blocks" lớn "Vertical Lists" that show things in a sequenced, descending order. If you aren"t sure what style to lớn use, start with a danh mục style & iterate from there.

2. Process

Process flows are one of my favorite ways lớn use SmartArt. When I"m working with teams to document how a process should work, SmartArt is a great visual map to capture processes.

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SmartArt is perfect for process maps, including the preset styles shown above.

The Process SmartArt styles can help you record how things should happen, step by step. If you"re making a hàng hóa for example, use a Process to lớn show how the sản phẩm goes through each steps of the manufacturing process.

3. Cycle

Cycles are similar to process maps, but the idea is that they are continuous. Use a Cycle type chart when you"re mapping a process that will keep on going.

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Cycles are similar to lớn Process SmartArt objects, but the idea is that the process is continuous.

Cycles are continuous, ongoing processes. If you run a company where processes flow similarly each month, use cycles to lớn capture those processes.

4. Hierarchy

Hierarchies are designed to lớn show how things descend in an organization or process. One natural use for this type of chart is building an organizational chart for a company or group of individuals.

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Use Hierarchy to lớn show how things descend or how larger parts fit into a whole.

Another use for a hierarchy is lớn show the individual parts of a larger whole. Imagine using a hierarchy to lớn show the raw materials inside of a finished product.

5. Relationship

A relationship SmartArt is designed lớn show how individual parts relate. In the examples below, you can see that there are a variety of relationship charts: balance charts, funnels, and hexagons.

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Use Relationship Smartart khổng lồ show how individual parts relate to each other.

The common thread is that these charts show how parts relate lớn one another. 

6. Matrix

Matrix charts are similar khổng lồ relationship charts, but it"s more about taking one object and splitting it into equal parts that biến hóa the whole.

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Use Matrix SmartArt lớn demonstrate both relationships & how parts fit into the whole.

7. Pyramid

Pyramids are kind of like hybrids between process charts & hierarchies. Each of the pyramids are unique & show how the parts of the pyramid fit together.

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Pyramics have characteristics of other SmartArt options, but in a quality triangle shaped design.

8. Picture

The Picture category in PowerPoint SmartArt is a bit of a wildcard; it contains styles from a variety of categories, but makes it easy to địa chỉ cửa hàng images from your computer.

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Picture SmartArt is a flexible type that includes a number of image presentation options.

Make Use of SmartArt in PowerPoint

SmartArt is one of those shortcuts to lớn great looking presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint. Stop drawing your own custom illustrations and look for opportunities lớn use SmartArt khổng lồ craft quick visualizations with instead. It"s a great time-saver that results in good chất lượng graphic results.

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More PowerPoint Presentation Resources

Giving a presentation isn"t a genetic trait; it"s a skill that you can build lượt thích any other. Here are more great tutorials on building your presentation skills:

Check out our Ultimate Guide lớn the Best PowerPoint Templates or jump over lớn trending best selling PPT templates on GraphicRiver. Also, if you need more visual styles in PowerPoint, check out: 

Have you been using SmartArt? Feel không tính tiền to giới thiệu any tips or ask a question in the comments below.