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SmartArt: One Picture is Worth More Than a Thousand Words in Microsoft Office

Switching to Microsoft Office 2007 or Office 2010 is a big change for most people. Fortunately, the struggle of learning a dramatically different interface and tracking down the new look and location of important commands is often offset by improved or added features. Among the many useful and long overdue upgrades to Office 2007 and Office 2010, one of my favorites is SmartArt, a significant improvement to the Diagram feature in Office 2003. You will appreciate this great tool if you have ever wasted hours of your valuable time trying to manually create a good looking diagram with drawing shapes, lines and arrows.

Easy to use, a SmartArt graphic is an excellent choice to illustrate a concept such as a process, organizational or other relationship chart, or cycle diagram. Available in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, a SmartArt graphic is a much better choice than, for instance, one more PowerPoint slide with bullets. SmartArt is also available in Microsoft Office 2010 and includes additional graphics.

To add a SmartArt graphic to an Office 2007 or Office 2010 file:

  1. From the Insert tab, choose SmartArt from the Illustrations group.
    This example is from PowerPoint 2007.

SmartArt, graphics, diagram, create SmartArt

  1. Select a category of SmartArt for the concept you want to visually describe. Navigate through your choices to see examples and explanations of the available graphics. Keep in mind you can add or remove graphics, change colors, and re-size and move the SmartArt object. (Note: screen display is from Office 2007; the Office 2010 SmartArt display is similar with extra options).

graphics, diagrams, Word 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Excel 2007

  1. Once you create a graphic, you can add text to the shapes using the optional SmartArt Text pane or by clicking directly into the placeholders on the shapes. Some layouts even support adding pictures. Shapes can be added or removed from the graphic and the layout will adjust accordingly. Do you need six shapes but your graphic has only five? Just press [Enter]. Use [Delete] to remove extra shapes.

create graphics, SmartArt, Office 2007, diagrams, graphics, charts

  1. Click into your document to finish the SmartArt. Click back into the graphic as needed to modify your work.

Start adding SmartArt graphics to clarify and improve your communications.

Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro

Dawn Bjork Buzbee is The Software Pro and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist (MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.

This article and more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with copyright and attribution.
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Press [Alt] to see KeyTip Badges on the Office 2010 & Office 2007 Ribbons. Then, just press the 1-2 letter/number combination to pick a command.
 
Did You Know?
The new Office 2010 file formats (except Access 2010) now have 4-character file extensions. Find out more at:
Office 2010 File Formats.

The new Office 2007 file formats (except Access 2007) now have 4-character file extensions. Find out more at:
Office 2007 File Formats.
 

 
 
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