How to Use SmartArt to Create Interesting Lists in a PowerPoint Presentation

Microsoft PowerPoint includes a great feature called SmartArt that allows you to easily create visual representations of information. With SmartArt, you can quickly convert bulleted lists into colorful graphics that capture your audience’s attention.

Why Use SmartArt for Lists

Using SmartArt for lists has several benefits:

  • Makes information more visual and memorable
  • Adds color and visual interest to plain bulleted lists
  • Helps reinforce key points
  • Breaks up heavy text content
  • Engages your audience

So if you want to transform boring lists into snazzy graphics that impress your viewers, SmartArt can help.

Types of SmartArt Graphics for Lists

PowerPoint offers a wide variety of SmartArt graphics tailored to displaying lists and processes. Here are some of the most useful ones:

  • Hierarchical charts – Show hierarchical relationships with org charts and pyramids
  • Matrixes – Perfect for comparing multiple items side-by-side
  • Process charts – Illustrate sequential steps and workflows
  • Relationship charts – Highlight connections between different components
  • Lists – Simple vertical or horizontal lists with icons or images
  • Cycles – Display circular relationships and repeating processes

You can browse all the SmartArt graphic types within PowerPoint to find the best ones for your specific lists and content.

Creating a SmartArt Graphic

Adding a SmartArt graphic to showcase your lists is simple:

  1. In PowerPoint, select the Home tab
  2. In the Paragraph section, click the SmartArt icon
  3. A dialog box will open. Select the graphic type you want from the large selection
  4. Once selected, a blank graphic will appear on your slide
  5. To add your list items to it, just click on the text placeholders and type or paste your text
  6. When finished, close the dialog box

As you add your list items, the graphic will automatically grow and format based on the graphic type you chose.

Customizing and Formatting SmartArt

The true power of SmartArt comes from customizing the graphics to match your brand and content. To format your graphic:

  • Change layouts – Apply different arrangements and styles from the selection pane
  • Resize shape – Enlarge, shrink, or reposition individual elements
  • Edit text – Fine-tune text within each shape
  • Alter colors – Match colors to your brand palette for consistency
  • Add visual interest – Incorporate logos, icons and images

Don’t be afraid to explore all of the formatting options available. Making small tweaks goes a long way in creating professional, interesting graphics.

SmartArt Design Tips

Follow these tips when working with SmartArt graphics for maximum visual appeal:

  • Choose a graphic that fits your message – Don’t just pick the first option
  • Start with a blank slide – Add the SmartArt first, then build your slide around it
  • Use concise text – Long sentences are hard to format
  • Balance text and images – Don’t overwhelm your graphic
  • Be consistent with formatting – Match colors, sizes, and fonts
  • Focus attention with effects – Try shadows, reflections, and 3D effects
  • Don’t over-animate – Subtle animations work best

Examples of Effective SmartArt Lists

To see SmartArt lists in action, here are two examples that use graphics to transform standard bulleted lists into visually compelling elements that present information clearly.

1. Matrix Comparing Healthcare Plans

This matrix layout allows side-by-side comparisons of different plans:

Healthcare plan matrix

Breaking down complex information into an easy-to-scan matrix helps the audience grasp differences and make informed decisions.

2. Process Showing Product Delivery

The circular graphic illustrates the step-by-step process for deliveries:

Product delivery process

Visually walking through the sequence of events helps viewers understand what to expect and how the process works.

These are just two examples of how SmartArt can spice up ordinary lists and make them more visually stimulating. Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities!