Hassle Free SmartArt Setup

Do you use the MS Office 2007 SmartArt?

If so, you know how easy it can be to create eye catching diagrams for things such as lists, processes, hierarchies and relationships.

Also, if you’ve been experimenting with SmartArt, you’ve probably found how to add more shapes to your diagram from the Design tab of the SmartArt Tools that open on the ribbon.

While I find the process fairly easy, I definitely get tired of all the mouse clicks from shape to shape to enter text and insert extra shapes when they’re needed.

Fortunately, while doing one of my usual “let’s click everywhere and see what I can find” moments, I ran into something called the Text Pane and boy was I thrilled with my discovery!

The next time you’re looking at your Smart Art, take a look at the border on the left side. Do you see the arrows?

Clicking on the arrows is a quick way to get to the Text Pane.

You could also use the Text Pane button found under the Design tab of the SmartArt Tools on the ribbon.

Either way, here’s what you’ll get:

Instead of clicking from shape to shape, you can enter your text directly into the pane and the program will do all the work for you.

If you add a new bullet to the outline, MS Office automatically inserts the shape for you, resizes everything appropriately and keeps the SmartArt information in the order your Text Pane displays.

If you need to remove a shape, simply delete its line from the Text Pane and poof! The shape is instantly removed from your diagram and everything is resized to fit appropriately.

With your cursor on a line in the Text Pane, you can use the Tab key to demote a shape to be subordinate to the one above it and the Shift + Tab keys to promote a shape up one level.

Again, Office does all the work of changing the formatting to keep everything in proper order.

When you have what you need, close the Text Pane and proceed with any formatting still to be done.

If you use SmartArt, I definitely recommend you take a couple of minutes to give this one a try. I’ve found that it saves me tons of time, not to mention I love it when a really useful and simple thing gets even easier to use!

~ April