Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Applications

Working with SmartArt

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Common SmartArt Procedures

Although different SmartArt variants might look as different as chalk and cheese, they work similarly for several common procedures such as adding text, changing colors, resizing, adding effects, and deleting shape elements or the entire SmartArt graphic. All also have the convenient text pane that makes text editing almost as easy as typing in bulleted text.

Adding and Editing Text in Your SmartArt

You can add or edit the text on the shape elements in all SmartArt graphics by using these procedures:

  • Click on the existing placeholder text on the shape element, or start typing if you have a shape without text. Or just select the text in the shape and type to replace the text.
  • Type the text in the text pane that you see when you select a SmartArt graphic (see Figure 12.6). If you can't see the text pane, double-click on the SmartArt graphic to activate the SmartArt Tools Design tab of the ribbon and click the Text Pane option. Remember, this is a toggle option.
    Figure 12.6

    Figure 12.6 The text pane makes it easy to add or edit text in a SmartArt graphic.

  • If you convert a bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic, it already contains text. To convert a bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic, just right-click some selected text in the bulleted text placeholder and choose the Convert to SmartArt option in the resultant context menu.

You can format the text contained inside a SmartArt graphic in several ways, sometimes with different results:

  • Select some text, and right-click to summon the mini toolbar that contains font formatting options. In this mini-toolbar, it's easy to apply boldface, a new font, and so on.
  • Select some text, and make sure your Home ribbon is active. You can find all the formatting options in the font area. If you want even more options, click the dialog launcher arrow in the Font area to bring up the Font dialog box, which provides more options.
  • Double-click your SmartArt to summon the SmartArt Tools tabs in the ribbon, then choose the SmartArt Tools Format tab to make it active. Select your text, and then apply any of the effects found in the WordArt Styles drop-down gallery. Remember, after you apply a WordArt style, your text may not behave like normal text—to convert it back to normal text, select the text again and choose the Clear WordArt option at the bottom of the WordArt Gallery (see Figure 12.7).
Figure 12.7

Figure 12.7 Apply and clear WordArt styles to text in a SmartArt graphic.

Even if you chose a SmartArt graphic that doesn't support adding, editing, or formatting text in this manner, you can add text in the form of a text box. To add a text box, click the Text Box button on the Insert tab of the ribbon, click where you want the text box to appear, and type your text.

Changing Colors in Your SmartArt

You can change the colors of your SmartArt graphic quite easily:

  1. Double-click on the edge of your SmartArt graphic to bring up the SmartArt Tools tabs in the ribbon.
  2. In the SmartArt Tools Design tab, click the Change Colors button to open the Colors gallery that you can see in Figure 12.8.
    Figure 12.8

    Figure 12.8 The Color Gallery has small previews that show live results.

  3. Choose from the color options in any of the categories. PowerPoint shows you a live preview of the option as you hover your mouse over the small previews.
  4. To apply one of these options, click the small preview associated with that option.

For more information about the Format Shape dialog box, see Chapter 15, p. 272.

Resizing and Repositioning Your SmartArt

How resizing and repositioning works depends upon what you want to resize:

  • The entire SmartArt graphic
  • A shape or other element contained in a SmartArt graphic

Fortunately, the process itself works in the same way and is dependent on what you have selected—the entire SmartArt graphic, or just an element contained within the SmartArt.


To resize, you can

  • Select and drag the handles surrounding the selection.
  • Double-click the selection to summon the SmartArt Tools tabs in the ribbon. Select the Smart Art Tools Format tab, and click on the Size button so that you can type in figures for an exact size you require.


Follow these guidelines to reposition:

  • To reposition, you need to select and drag it to a new position.
  • If you want to reposition an element within a SmartArt graphic, be aware that you cannot reposition it to an area outside the area of the SmartArt graphic.
  • Also, some elements, when repositioned, change more than just their position; they change their relationships to other elements. For example, repositioning a shape in an organization chart might change the hierarchy, as well.

Adding Effects

If you have seen the flat diagrams of earlier PowerPoint versions, and wished you could make them look a little more spectacular, then you'll love all the effects that you can apply to SmartArt now.

However, you cannot select the entire SmartArt graphic and apply an effect. The effects you use in PowerPoint are Shape Effects that can only be applied to individual shape elements within a SmartArt graphic.

Follow these steps to apply, change, or remove an effect:

  1. Select the shape inside the SmartArt graphic to which you want to apply a Shape Effect.

    You can also select multiple shapes by Ctrl-clicking, and you might also want to select all the shapes within a SmartArt graphic.

    You can also select lines such as connectors within a SmartDraw graphic because these are also shapes.

  2. Selecting these shapes activates the SmartArt Tools tabs in the ribbon—click the SmartDraw Tools Format tab to make it active.
  3. Now you can either open the Shape Styles drop-down gallery and choose a preset effect, or click the Shape Effects button to find a Preset as well as several other submenus, which in turn contain even more galleries that let you play with all sorts of effects.

    PowerPoint shows you a live preview of all the effects as you hover your cursor over the options. When you like a particular effect, just click to apply it to the selected shapes.

Deleting a SmartArt Graphic

To delete a SmartArt graphic, select it and press the Delete key. If you end up deleting just a part of the SmartArt graphic, and you wanted to delete the entire SmartArt, then select the frame around the SmartArt graphic and press the Delete key again.

The Content placeholder might appear, depending on whether the SmartArt was inserted from a layout or through the SmartArt button on the Insert ribbon.

If you want to create another SmartArt, you can start over from here, accessing the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box by clicking the placeholder or the SmartArt button on the Insert tab of the ribbon.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account