How to Make Flowcharts in PowerPoint

PowerPoint is a powerful application that can be used for just about any type of presentation. One great example of using PowerPoint is to present processes and decisions using flow charts and diagrams. Just about every version of Office has the ability to add standard flow chart shapes like Process, Decision, Data, etc., but Office 2007 and later versions also have a new feature called SmartArt, which are templates for visually showing ideas, processes and flows.

The nice thing about SmartArt is that you can use it in combination with flow chart objects and they seamlessly fit in. For example, here is a quick flow chart I created in PowerPoint that took about 5 minutes.

powerpoint flowchart

To get started making a flowchart, you need to click on the Insert tab and then click on Shapes. Towards the bottom, you’ll see a section called Flowchart.

flowchart shapes

If you hover your mouse over any of the shapes, it’ll give you a quick description also, which is handy in case you forgot what shape represents what concept. Click on the shape you want to use and then either click anywhere on the slide to create the object or click and drag to create a custom sized object.

edit text flowchart

In order to enter text into the flowchart object, you have to right click on it and choose Edit Text. By default, Office uses a blue background and white text for all of these objects. If you would like to change this, you can either right-click on the object and then choose from Style, Fill or Outline as shown above or you can do the same thing up in the ribbon bar under Format Tools.

format tools powerpoint

Just move your mouse over the different styles, fills, effects to see how they will look dynamically without actually having to change the current styles of the object. Note that if you insert an object and you want to change the shape to something else later on, you can click on the Edit Shape button you see at the top left of the screenshot.

Once you have a couple of objects on your slide, you can connect them using the connectors in the Lines section. The connector lines are the six ones in the middle highlighted in yellow. Click on one and then click on one object and drag your mouse to the other object to connect them.

flowchart connector lines

You can also right-click on any object or connector and choose Format Shape to adjust widths, colors, styles, effects, etc.

format shape

Now you can spend a lot of time making your flowchart look pretty using all these formatting options, but an easier way is to find an appropriate SmartArt object. SmartArt consists of attractive looking templates that you can just drop into your presentation. Click on the Insert tab and then click on SmartArt to get started.

smartart powerpoint

A dialog will pop up with a list of categories on the left, small thumbnails for all items in a category and a description of each item at the far right. To show you how fast you can add nice looking graphics to your slide, click on List, scroll down, click on the Trapezoid List, and then click OK.

smartart trapezoid list

Now with the object selected on your slide, go ahead and click Design under the SmartArt Tools section at the very top of PowerPoint. Here you should click on the very last style at the far right called Brick Scene.

brick scene powerpoint

You’ll also see a button called Change Colors to the left of the SmartArt Styles that will let you pick some excellent color combinations instead of the whole graphic being just one color.

change graphic colors

Go ahead and pick the 4th from the left under Colorful and you’ll now have an awesome looking graphic you can use in your presentation.

finished graphic powerpoint

Now you might not necessarily use that graphic in your flowchart, but you can click on Process and other categories that have more flowchart-like graphics. Some of the items allow you to include pictures, which is really nice if you want to add some visual appeal to your flowchart.

Overall, Office has a lot of built-in tools to create some great looking flowcharts quickly and easily. Microsoft also periodically releases more SmartArt graphics that you can download for free. Enjoy!

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Create Your Own CD and DVD Labels using Free MS Word Templates

Even though many people keep touting the end of CDs and DVDs, I still think they are here to stay for a while. Sure, most of us share personal videos shot on our phones via cloud services nowadays, but movies and longer form home videos still are easier to share and watch on CD, DVD or Blu-ray discs.

Burning Blu-ray discs still isn’t all that common and may never be, but a lot of people still burn their own CDs and DVDs. If you burn your own discs, then you always have to create a nice-looking custom label to go along with it. It just looks tacky to use a permanent marker to label your newly burned CD!

In this article, I’ll show you where you can find lots of templates for creating your own CD, DVD or Blu-ray label covers in Word. The nice thing is that CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs are all the same diameter and therefore one label can fit them all. In addition, there are a lot of templates for CD and DVD cases including the standard CD jewel case booklets and DVD case inserts.

Word Templates

Whenever you go into a store like Staples or OfficeMax, you’ll always find labels by Avery. They have been around for a long time and they pretty much create most of the labels you use when printing from Word. The same applies for printing CD and DVD labels. Avery has a bunch of different labels you can buy, print, peel and stick right onto your disc.

Check out their CD & DVD templates here and you’ll find over 50 different templates you can download. In addition to Word, they also have templates in Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign formats too.

avery cd dvd template

Click on the one you want and you’ll be able to download it. Make sure to select the Template only option otherwise it downloads an installer that tries to install crapware on your system. If you download only the template, it should be in DOC format. Open the file and you’ll see the template is ready to use in Word.

The only issue that comes up is that you might get a message from Word saying the document has been opened in Protected View. Since the file has been downloaded from the Internet, Word doesn’t trust it and you have to click the Enable Editing button manually to edit the file. I scanned a couple of the files myself with an anti-virus program and they were clean, so it’s just a warning in case you downloaded a file from a malicious website. Avery hopefully won’t be loading their Word docs with viruses anytime soon.

protected view word

Now that you can edit the file, you can start typing in your text, adding images, and customizing your label. Below I have downloaded a blank template and then added some WordArt and text at the bottom for my music tracks.

cd cover word

I recommend downloading a label that already has some text included because it’s much easier to edit that label than trying to do it yourself. It took me about 15 minutes to get all the text aligned properly in the screenshot above. Using this template from Avery, you can just click in the box and edit the text yourself.

cd dvd label

Avery, of course, is not the only site that has CD and DVD label templates. Another good site is Neato, where you can find a bunch of CD & DVD label templates and CD & DVD Inserts and Sleeves templates. Another company called Stomper has about a dozen or so free templates you can download.

Of course, you’ll either have to buy the actual labels to print the templates onto from those sites or you can print them on your own paper if you like. I mentioned Avery first because it’s the easiest to find at a local office supplies store. Microsoft used to have a bunch of CD/DVD templates on their Office Templates website, but now they have been removed for some unknown reason.

Luckily, you can still find some of these Microsoft templates, but you have to perform the search from within Word itself. To do this, click on File and then click on New.

File new word

In the Search for online templates box, go ahead and type in the word CD. You should get back several results including CD/DVD labels and inserts/sleeves.

word search templates

Hopefully, this will get you going for your CD/DVD project. If you run into any trouble, feel free to post a comment and I’ll try to help. Enjoy!

The post Create Your Own CD and DVD Labels using Free MS Word Templates appeared first on Online Tech Tips.

New APIs make Office 365 monitoring easier

Anyone who has worked with Exchange for any length of time will be aware that Microsoft doesn’t boast an impressive record when it comes to delivering APIs that are both powerful and easy to use. MAPI, the godfather of Exchange APIs, is powerful but only those forced to work with it for a number of years might be coerced into calling it easy to use. Exchange Web Services (EWS), which is used for the Outlook for Mac client, is easier to use, but only if you’re Glen Scales and enjoy figuring out its mysteries.

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