Lesson 28: SmartArt Graphics
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.
Watch the video below to learn more about working with SmartArt.
To insert a SmartArt graphic:
- Place the insertion point in the document where you want the SmartArt graphic to appear.
- From the Insert tab, select the SmartArt command in the Illustrations group.
- A dialog box will appear. Select a category on the left, choose the desired SmartArt graphic, then click OK.
- The SmartArt graphic will appear in your document.
To add text to a SmartArt graphic:
- Select the SmartArt graphic. The text pane should appear on the left side. If it doesn't appear, you can click the small arrow on the left edge of the graphic.. If it doesn't appear, click the small arrow on the left of the SmartArt to toggle it on and off.
- Enter text next to each bullet in the text pane. The text will appear in the corresponding shape. It will be resized automatically to fit inside the 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 text pane is often faster and easier.
To reorder, add, and delete shapes:
It's easy to add new shapes, change their order, and even delete shapes from your SmartArt graphic. You can do all of this in the text pane, and it's a lot like creating an outline with a multilevel list. For more information on multilevel lists, you may want to review our Lists lesson.
- To demote a shape, select the desired bullet, then press the Tab key. The bullet will move to the right, and the shape will move down one level.
- To promote a shape, select the desired bullet, then press the Backspace key (or Shift+Tab). The bullet will move to the left, and the shape will move up one level.
- To add a new shape, place the insertion point after the desired bullet, then press Enter. A new bullet will appear in the text pane, and a new shape will appear in the graphic.
- To remove a shape, keep pressing Backspace until the bullet is deleted. The shape will then be removed. In our example, we'll delete all of the shapes without text.
Organizing SmartArt from the Design tab
If you'd prefer not to use the text pane to organize your SmartArt, you can use the commands on the Design tab in the Create Graphic group. Just select the shape you want to modify, then choose the desired command.
- Promote and Demote: Use these commands to move a shape up or down between levels.
- Move Up and Move Down: Use these commands to change the order of shapes on the same level.
- Add Shape: Use this command to add a new shape to your graphic. You can also click the drop-down arrow for more exact placement options.
In our example, we've been organizing a graphic with a hierarchical layout. Not all SmartArt graphics use this type of layout, so remember that these commands may work differently (or not at all) depending on the layout of your graphic.
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.
- There are several SmartArt styles, which allow you to quickly modify the look and feel of your SmartArt. To change the style, select the desired style from the SmartArt styles group.
- You have a variety of color schemes to use with SmartArt. To change the colors, click the Change Colors command and choose the desired option from the drop-down menu.
- You can also customize each shape independently. Just select any shape in the graphic, then choose the desired option from the Format tab.
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.
- From the Design tab, click the More drop-down arrow in the Layouts group.
- Choose the desired layout, or click More Layouts to see even more options.
- The selected layout will appear.
If the new layout is too different from the original, some of your text may not appear. Before deciding on a new layout, check carefully to make sure no important information will be lost.
- Open a blank document.
- Insert a Basic Cycle SmartArt graphic from the Cycle category.
- Insert the following text in clockwise order: Condensation, Evaporation, Infiltration, Precipitation, Collection.
- Delete the shape containing the word Infiltration.
- Select the shape containing Evaporation, and click the Move Down command twice to move the shape between Collection and Condensation.
- Change the SmartArt Layout to Block Cycle.
- Change the colors of the SmartArt to a range of your choice.
- Change the SmartArt Style to Intense Effect.
- When you're finished, your SmartArt should look like this: