How to Insert SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2010

By Geetesh Bajaj

SmartArt is a new component within PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 for Windows that replaces the diagram options in previous versions of PowerPoint. SmartArt also allows you to replace bullet points with info-graphic content using text-within-shapes that’s more logical to view and present.

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to insert a SmartArt graphics within PowerPoint 2010. If you are new to this, do also take a look at the What is SmartArt? and SmartArt Samples pages.

Follow these steps to insert a new SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2010:

1. Create a new presentation, or open an existing presentation in PowerPoint.

2. When you insert a new slide in PowerPoint, it uses the default Title and Content Slide layout.  But if you open a new presentation, it opens a new slide with the default Title Slide layout which you have to change to Title and Content.

3. Click the Layout button/option in the Home tab of the Ribbon to bring up the Layout gallery as shown in Figure 1. Select any of the layouts that include a content placeholder (the small palette like collection of multicolored buttons visible on some of the slide layouts (see Figure 1 again).

Figure 1: Choose a slide layout that includes a content placeholder

4. If your slide layout has a content placeholder, click the Insert SmartArt Graphic button among the six buttons in the content placeholder that you can see in the slide within Figure 2.

Figure 2: Content Placeholder

Alternatively, if you want to insert a SmartArt in an existing slide that has no content placeholder, just select the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and click the SmartArt button, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: SmartArt button under Insert tab of the Ribbon

5. Either of these options opens the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box that you can see in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box

The left pane lists the types of SmartArt graphics available — the middle area displays SmartArt graphic variants within the selected type, and the area towards the right shows a preview of the selected SmartArt graphic along with a brief description.

6. Select any of the SmartArt graphic variants you want to insert, and click OK.

7.  This will place the selected SmartArt graphic on the slide, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Inserted SmartArt graphic

8. When the SmartArt graphic is placed on the slide, click the arrows located on the left side (highlighted in red in Figure 5 above) to open the text pane (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: SmartArt graphic text pane

9. Any text content added or edited within the text pane shows up within the SmartArt graphic as well.

10. Save your presentation.

About the Author:

Geetesh Bajaj has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional.) He heads Indezine (  a presentation design studio and content development organization based in Hyderabad, India. The site attracts more than a million page views each month and has thousands of free PowerPoint templates and other goodies for visitors to download. He also runs another PowerPoint- related site ( that provides designer PowerPoint templates.

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