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Tutorial for Circular Flows 002, 026, and 039

Using Circular Flows

Circular flows depict virtuous and vicious cycles. This particular version of a cycle is more of a blending from one segment to the next - not a series of steps. Sometimes a message needs to be conveyed that progress transitions rather than being phased or stepped. These frameworks convey this type of transition. Also, the cycle feeds back into itself, which implies that the potential can affect the concept (as shown in the example).

The center can be populated with the name of the cycle or a photograph. Notice that the colors and gradients applied promote the blending and flow.

Series CF026 has space between the swirl segments, which suggests that multiple elements are working together to achieve motion. The pieces don't necessarily suggest order or sequence – you'd need to add numbers or letters to do that. Each of the swirl parts are editable, so color can be used for highlighting or as a way to add another layer of information about the swirl.

The animated example provides a possible animation scheme.

Series 039 segmented circle/circular flow is a nice, unique option that takes the place of a more traditional-looking circular flow.  There are two versions in each download:  one that appears to flow right and one that appears to flow left. 

Customizing your PowerFrameworks Circular Flow

Adjust size

To resize this PowerFramework, 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 PowerFramework 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.

3D variations

3D effects are not recommended for circular flows unless the depth is very, very small. Otherwise, the circles turn into cylinders. If you do use 3D, be sure the order of the pieces is correct so that the 3D effect of the pieces do not block out the other pieces, which will disrupt the 3D effect. Also, when the pieces of a 3D framework are close together, the individual pieces become indistinct. You can you use variations of the same color to create more distinction between the segments. Be aware that using 3D darkens the colors of the object.


Shadows are tricky with this type of framework. You should be very careful when you apply them because most of the shadow effects in the menu disrupt the look of the framework, which will detract from the message you are trying to send. Also, make any layering adjustments so that the shadow from one section does not overlap the primary part of another sections.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients, patterns, and pictures 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. The center can also be filled with a gradient to make it look like a sphere instead of a circle. Remember not to make the gradient too radical from light to dark because the text that will be placed in the segment will need to contrast with the segment in order to be readable.


Animations of circular flows can be wipes or fade in to show progression, basically anything that does not fly in from an unconnected origin. The center point can fade in or zoom if you wish.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

CF002 – Circular Flow 002 – Wheel and Hub

Possible use example

CF026 – Circular Flow 026 – Swirl Variation

Possible use example

CF039 – Circular Flow 039 – Straight Lines with Center

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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