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Tutorial for Bullet Alternative 009 – Bars with Insets

Using Bullet Alternatives

These uniquely shaped bars with either a square or circle inset can be used in a few different ways. These frameworks work best when there are not very many. The downloads contain stacks of four bars, except the graduated bars – they contain five. More than four or five makes the inset too small to use effectively unless you are just inserting numbers.

The shapes are not easily drawn, so you won't see them often. These types of shapes imply that the work has been customized or developed by a professional.

Once you have identified the best-suited PowerFramework bullet alternative, 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 your Bars with Insets

The bars can hold a paragraph,bullets, or a lead-in sentence and bullets. The inset can contain numbers, pictures, a few descriptive words, or an icon. The series example places clocks (series ti003) in the round inset and uses it as an overview instead of a table of contents.

Adjust size

The different widths of the stack sets that are available allow you to put other information on the slide if you wish. Resist the urge to resize the sets horizontally; instead, download another set with the correct width. If you want to change the size/shape of the bar and inset, be sure to group them and resize the entire group. Once resized, ungroup to proceed with other customizations.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the bar and inset 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 or heaver lines.

The insets should be another color so they show up well.

3D variations

The 3D effect does not look that great with these bars. If you're using PowerPoint 2007, a bevel might be good if the bevel is shallow.


The drop shadows in PowerPoint 2007 look especially nice with these bars and insets.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients, patterns, and pictures can be added as fills from the "Fill Effects" menu if you're using pre-PowerPoint 2007 versions.

If you choose to use photographs within the circle or square and you would like to convert your rectangular photographs into the correct shape, you should review the FAQ entitled, "How do I create photographs in different shapes from rectangular photographs?"


Animations should be selected that will enhance the meaning of the message, not merely to add interest to the slide. The animation example download for this series uses the Descend reveal. The reason that the Descend reveal is effective. There are many other reveals that work with these bullet alternatives: fade in, zoom, fly in are a few.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

BA009 – Bullet Alternatives 009 – Bars with Insets

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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