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Tutorial for Rectangular Flows 003 and 004 – Thick Frame

Using Rectangular Flows 003 and 004

The frameworks in this series are used exactly like circular flows. Use these frameworks to depict virtuous and vicious cycles, where the last segment feeds into the first segment. The segments are larger than the segments in rf001 and rf002 and can hold more content. The center can hold horizontally oriented content and may, therefore, be a better choice than a circular flow.

Once you have identified the best-suited PowerFramework, download it to a specific location on your computer so you'll be able to find it (the desktop is always a good choice).

Customizing Rectangular Flows

Adjust size

To resize this rectangular flow, you need to group it and scale it while resizing (hold the shift key down while you resize). This is important to do or it will become distorted.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the rectangular flow will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Select "No line" if you want to eliminate the outline of the object, or change the line point size if you want thinner lines. Selecting "No line" creates more space between the segments.

2007 options

The examples above are the best-suited effect choices for PowerPoint 2007. The shadow (left) lifts the flow off the page/slide and the bevel (right) creates depth without using a traditional 3D effect. The bevel (right above) was created by applying a preset bevel. You may wish to reformat the bevel so that it isn't so high. Click here to view the FAQ entitled, “How do I get a suitable bevel for puzzle pieces?” The steps for formatting rectangular flow sections are the same as for formatting puzzle pieces. Lowering the bevel makes the available space for text larger.

3D variations

3D effects are not recommended for these flows unless the depth is very, very short. The example above uses a 6-point depth and, as you can see, the separation between the segments is still somewhat obscured. If you do use a short-depth 3D, be sure to adjust the order of the segments so that they appear correctly, depending on the direction of the 3D.

Be aware that using 3D darkens the colors of the object. The example above on left is actually a light blue, but it is darkened by the 3D effect. If you want to keep the color crisp, apply a gradient with two colors and color both of the two colors with the desired color from your palette.


Shadows are tricky with this type of framework. Similar to the issues of applying 3D, choose shadow effects that are close to the graphic, otherwise the shadow will disrupt the flow of the framework. Also, make any layering adjustments, depending on which way the shadow is cast, so that the shadow from one section does not overlap the primary part of another section. The shadow effect in PowerPoint 2007 (example in PowerPoint 2007 above) is superior tot he shadow options in pre-PowerPoint 2007 versions.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients can be added as fills from the "Fill Effects" menu. Gradients, when carefully used, can also add motion to the circular flow part of this type of framework. Remember not to make the gradient too radical from light to dark because the text that will be placed in the segment needs to contrast with the segment in order to be readable. Patterns can be applied if you are using a pre-PowerPoint 2007 version (no patterns are available in PowerPoint 2007). Pictures are not recommended for these flows. They are tricky to get correct because the segments have two different orientations – horizontal and vertical.


Since some of the sections flow in one direction and then turn a corner and flow in another direction, use zooms, appears, or fade-ins. For this reason there is no animated example – just use simple reveals.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

RF003 – Rectangular Flow 003 – Thick Frame

Possible use example

RF004 – Rectangular Flow 004 – Thick Frame

Possible use example

Links to instructions for getting the framework into your presentation

  1. Determine the best file type for your needs
  2. Download the file
  3. Import the framework into your presentation
    1. Importing a PPT file
    2. Importing a EMF or PNG
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