SmartArt Over Bullet Points

One of the cardinal rules of Instructional Design is to break information into manageable bites. The go-to layout design usually results in a bullet list. Frankly, there is nothing wrong with a bullet list, but if you want to add some pizazz to your learning output, you can’t go wrong with SmartArt.

Microsoft Office defines SmartArt graphic “as 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, you can turn this bulleted list:
  • Title
  • Objectives
  • Content
Into this:

The great thing about SmartArt is this gives instructional designers a quick way to visually showcase data. You can use SmartArt to show steps in a process:


Create an organization chart:


And show how parts relate to a whole:


You can create a SmartArt graphic in Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. Here’s how to add it to your document (full instructions can be found here):

1. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click SmartArt:


2. In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box, click the type and layout that you want. (As you can see, there’s a lot to choose from!)


3. Enter your text by doing one of the following:
  • Click [Text] in the Text pane, and then type your text.
  • Copy the text from another location or program, click [Text] in the Text pane, and then paste your text.
4. When you have added the text that you need, you can select the color scheme you want by clicking the SmartArt you created, and then clicking the Design tab that appears under the SmartArt Tools:


Give it a try in your spare time. Experiment with the different styles and see what you can come up with.

To learn more about SmartArt –