PowerPoint 2010: SmartArt Illustrations

Introduction to SmartArt

SmartArt is a powerful feature in PowerPoint 2010 that allows users to create visual representations of information and ideas. With SmartArt, you can easily convert bullet points and lists into eye-catching diagrams and graphics.

There are over 100 SmartArt graphic layouts to choose from in categories like lists, processes, cycles, hierarchies, relationships, matrices, pyramids, pictures, and more. So whether you want to show a process flow, illustrate connections, layout an organizational chart, or visualize concepts, SmartArt has you covered.

Benefits of using SmartArt:

  • Communicate complex information visually
  • Enhance slide design
  • Create designer-quality graphics with a few clicks
  • Represent concepts and ideas dynamically
  • Transform boring bulleted lists into graphics
  • Emphasize important points
  • Make presentations more memorable

How to Insert a SmartArt Graphic

Inserting a SmartArt graphic into your PowerPoint slides only takes a few simple steps:

  1. Go to the Insert tab
  2. Click the SmartArt icon in the Illustrations group
  3. Select a SmartArt category on the left side of the dialog box
  4. Choose one of the graphics in the center pane
  5. Click OK

The SmartArt graphic will be inserted into your slide with placeholder text that reads “[Text]”.

Tip: Hover over a graphic in the dialog box to see a preview and description of how that layout can be used.

Customizing SmartArt Graphics

The real power of SmartArt comes from customizing the graphics to fit your specific needs. There are several ways to tailor your SmartArt visual:

Add Text

Replace the [Text] placeholders by:

  • Clicking inside a shape and typing text
  • Opening the Text pane and entering text next to bullet points

Pro Tip: Add more shapes to the graphic by right-clicking on a bullet point and selecting “Add Shape After” or “Add Shape Before”.

Change Layouts

Try different layouts by:

  • Selecting the graphic and going to SmartArt Design > Layouts
  • Picking another layout from the dropdown menu

Before switching, check that no data will be lost from the change.

Modify Color Schemes and Styles

Change the color and style by going to SmartArt Design:

  • Open the Change Colors dropdown
  • Select color variations like Colorful Range, Monochromatic, or Colored Outline
  • Click on the SmartArt Styles icon
  • Choose from multiple combinations of shapes, edges, depth, etc.

Reset Graphics

If you don’t like the changes, reset the SmartArt graphic back to the default layout and styling by going to SmartArt Design > Reset Graphic.

Tips for Using SmartArt Effectively

Here are some best practices when working with SmartArt graphics:

  • Keep it simple – Don’t overwhelm your audience with complex graphics. Use basic SmartArt layouts that clearly communicate your idea.
  • Balance text and images – Don’t let your graphics overpower text content on your slides. Make sure to leave enough blank space around SmartArt.
  • Be consistent with design – Maintain consistency by using compatible colors, styles, fonts, effects and depth for all your graphics.
  • Use flat, simple graphics for print – If your presentation will be printed, opt for minimalist 2D graphics since 3D effects don’t translate well to paper.
  • Add animation – Bring your SmartArt to life with animations like fades, transitions, and motion paths. But don’t go overboard!


SmartArt graphics allow you to communicate concepts visually and make engaging presentations easily. With a gallery of layouts to illustrate ideas and customization tools to fine-tune graphics, SmartArt saves time while adding flair. Use these dynamic diagrams to capture attention, demonstrate relationships, and energize your message.