Create Professional Illustrations with Ease using SmartArt Graphics

Create Professional Illustrations with Ease using SmartArt Graphics

Create Professional Looking Illustrations with Ease using SmartArt Graphics!

A SmartArt graphic is a visual representation of your information that you can quickly and easily create, choosing from among many different layouts, to effectively communicate your message or ideas. With SmartArt graphics and other features such as themes, you can create designer-quality illustrations with only a few clicks of your mouse. It is much faster to use a SmartArt graphic then to try and use the Drawing tools in Microsoft Office.

You can create a SmartArt graphic in Excel, PowerPoint, Word, or in an e-mail message in Outlook. Although you cannot create a SmartArt graphic in other Office programs, you can copy and paste SmartArt graphics as images into those programs.

The table below lists the different type of SmartArt categories that are available. When you switch layouts, most of your text and other content, colors, styles, effects, and text formatting are automatically carried over to the new layout.

To do this

Use this type

Show nonsequential information.


Show steps in a process or timeline.


Show a continual process.


Create an organization chart.


Show a decision tree.


Illustrate connections.


Show how parts relate to a whole.


Use pictures to convey or accent content.


Show proportional relationships with the largest component
on the top or bottom.


Below is an example of a Process SmartArt graphic.

Process SmartArt Graphic

To create a SmartArt graphic

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click SmartArt.
    Illustration Dialog Box
  2. In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box, click the type and layout that you want.
    SmartArt Dialog Box
  3. Enter your text by doing one of the following:
    • Click in a shape in your SmartArt graphic, and then type your text.
    • Click [Text] in the Text pane, and then type or paste your text.
    • Copy text from another program, click [Text], and then paste into the Text pane.

To change the colors of an entire SmartArt graphic

You can apply color variations that are derived from the theme colors to the shapes in your SmartArt graphic.

  1. Click your SmartArt graphic.
  2. Under SmartArt Tools, on the Design tab, in the SmartArt Styles group, click Change Colors.
  3. Click the color variation that you want.

ERC provides Microsoft Word training for basic, intermediate, and advanced users.

View the Courses


  • Liz Maier-Liu

    Liz Maier-Liu specializes in writing high-quality, engaging copy across all channels, including email, web, blogs, print, and social media. She is passionate about helping ERC build long-lasting relationships with clients and members through storytelling and delightful copy that calls them to action.Since 2019, Liz has supported ERC’s marketing team. She currently manages ERC’s email marketing campaigns, social media accounts, marketing automation, and websites. Liz also executes content strategies that drive engagement, leads, and customer retention.