PowerPoint: Transform bullets into SmartArt

If you have sat through your fair share of presentations, you may have heard the phrase Death by Bullet Points. If you’re not familiar with this phrase, it refers to the overuse of boring bullet points that tend to put people to sleep. While there are various ways to minimize the overuse of bullet points, one of my favorite tips is how to add a visual element to existing bullet points with SmartArt.

Convert SmartArtTo convert bullet points to SmartArt, follow these steps.

  1. Select the bullet points you want to convert.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click Convert to SmartArt Graphic.
  3. In the SmartArt gallery, click your desired SmartArt graphic layout or click More SmartArt Graphics to view all of the layouts.
  4. Select a SmartArt layout and click OK.

The most difficult part is selecting the right layout. Not because there are a lot of choices, because the wrong layout can convey the wrong message. For example, you wouldn’t use a process layout for a list of items that don’t follow a progression or sequential order. If in doubt, select a layout in the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box and read the description under the thumbnail on the right. The See Also link at the end of this blog post has additional tips on how to choose the right layout.

SmartArt Layouts

TipAfter your bullets are transformed, if you find the SmartArt formatting tools are too constraining, you can convert your SmartArt to individual shapes or convert it back to text using the Convert tools found on the SmartArt Tools Design tab in the Reset group.

For more ideas on how to minimize the overuse of bullets, check out the tips in this blog post: 10 ways avoid death bullet points

See Also: Choosing the right SmartArt layout and formatting SmartArt

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