Convert Bullets to SmartArt in PowerPoint

Even dogs can't take "Death by PowerPoint"
When your presentation has gone to the dogs…

In spite of the warnings, (can you spell “Death by PowerPoint?”), who can resist the multiple bulleted list on at least a couple of slides? Your audience has read the points before you can talk about them so their eyes glaze over or they are tweeting while you speak. Wow them instead by using SmartArt to display great graphics that make your point without a bullet in sight!

Here’s the usual (yawn) bulleted list slide:

You know it is exciting information that they need to have but  they won’t get it if you can’t keep their attention. Less text and more graphics is the way to go.

Transform That List to a Graphic

You can convert each point to an object and leave the original text or, better yet, reduce the amount of text and explain the rest. Here’s the steps:

  • Select the bulleted list on the slide
  • Click Home tab; Paragraph group; Convert to SmartArt icon
  • Roll mouse over graphics to see live preview and choose a shape
  • Apply color changes, special effects, etc., from the Design and Format ribbon tabs

Now, in a few mouse clicks, your bulleted list can become a graphic…

Edit the text to one or two words in large font on each object, and there you go!

More Convert to SmartArt Options

Here’s another example of quickly changing normal bullet points to a Smart Art graphic style and then changing the special effects and color scheme:

After selecting the bulleted list, explore the SmartArt Graphic choices under Convert to SmartArt in the Paragraph group on the Home tab. It is Live Preview so you get to see the effect as you mouse over the options:

Format SmartArt Graphics with Color and Style

Quickly apply some special effects in the SmartArt Styles group on the SmartArt Tools Design tab for something like this:

Now, change the color scheme with the Change Colors drop down arrow:

Your slides will never be boring again!

You can also change the properties of parts of the main object by clicking them separately. Use Design and Format in SmartArt Tools on the Ribbon to apply different colors and special effects for objects and text.

TIP:  Use keyboard shortcuts to gain even more control by breaking up each box/graphic with CTRL SHFT G. You can then treat each object separately. Each one can have its own personality! When formatting is complete, if desired, group them as one object with CTRL G. (This allows applying same formatting all at once and/or moving the parts as one object).

No more excuses for bland presentations. Are you using this great feature? Tell me what you changed to make your PowerPoints shine!

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