PowerPoint 2007: Quick Charts

SmartArt is an adjunct to the graph and chart wizard that earlier versions of the program provided and which is also available here. The new tool, though, provides a raft of different graphics and its real strength lies in the range of modern, professional styles that can be applied to an entire figure with a couple of mouse clicks.

The tool can produce graphics for list, process, hierarchy and pyramid charts and can intelligently interpret, for example, a bulleted list. If you have five items in your list, then five elements are automatically created in the SmartArt graphic and the text of each bullet is applied to the panel, button or other graphic element. Styles and colour schemes can be selected directly from the Ribbon and you can freely edit its contents at any point after you've created it.

Here's a quick example. Start a new presentation, add a slide after the title slide and on that, type the following names as a bulleted list into the main text pane:
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Now, highlight the list and click on the Convert to SmartArt Graphic button in the Paragraph section of the Home tab. Select an organisation chart from the SmartArt palette and the list becomes a chart in a couple of clicks. You can select a style and colour from the drop-down selector in the SmartArt Tools Design tab. You can easily add extra characters or change the positions of those in the list and the SmartArt graphic auto-adjusts to reflect the changes.
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The first of our videos looks at some of the new features in PowerPoint 2007 by creating a holiday slide show

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