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Draw Business Diagrams with Excel
Problem: My manager needs me to graphically document the steps in a project plan.
Strategy: Whereas Excel 2003 offered 5 types of business diagrams on the Insert, Diagram menu, Excel 2007 offered 84 different types of business diagrams in the new SmartArt graphics facility. Excel 2010 has 180+ types of diagrams.
When you choose Insert, SmartArt from the ribbon, the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box that appears shows graphic types arranged in seven groups: Many layouts are repeated in the Picture group. Additional layouts are available from Office.com.
Figure 1309 Choose a graphic type from the seven groups.
Here are the seven main groups offered in SmartArt:
Most SmartArt chart types offer an unlimited number of shapes. A list chart can illustrate 3 items or 17 items without a problem. However, some chart types are limited. For example, a gear chart can illustrate only 3 concepts, and several arrow charts can illustrate only 2 items. When you click on a thumbnail in the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog, the description on the right will indicate whether the graphic is limited to a certain number of shapes.
The thumbnails often indicate whether the diagram is suitable for Level 1 or Level 1 and Level 2 text. Think of a PowerPoint slide. If you have bullet points, those are Level 1 text. If you have bullets and sub-bullet points, those are Level 1 and Level 2 text. Some charts don’t do well with both Level 1 and Level 2 text. Below is a Block Cycle chart. The top chart includes only Level 1 text. In the lower chart, some Level 2 text is added to the first point. This causes all the Level 1 text throughout the chart to get unusually small.
Figure 1310 The Block Cycle chart looks best with only Level 1 text.
In contrast, the Vertical Box List chart is designed with accent boxes to hold long sentences of Level 2 text.
Figure 1311 The Vertical Box List chart offers ample room for Level 2 text.
The next seven topics discuss how to create and modify SmartArt graphics.
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