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Tutorial for Horizontal Flows 044, 045, and 046 – Puzzle Flows

Using Puzzle Flows

Unlike most horizontal flows, this framework does not flow from segment to segment. The pieces join together to create a whole, and the whole framework conveys the flow. The example shows how this framework might be used: assembling a whole and then flowing or moving to a new status or next step.

There are three variations in the series. They can be blended with the other horizontal flows, e.g., start with a basic horizontal flow as the first segment in the flow and adding a couple segments from from this series. See the tutorial for more information on blending with other horizontal flows.

The three segments are …

Variation 1: this variation is not strictly a flow, but a bar that is made up of puzzle pieces. This series will also show up in the Segments Category.

Variation 2: this variation is a flow that is sized just like the other horizontal flows, but the segment separations are puzzle tabs and slots. The end segment has an arrow.

Variation 3: this variation is just like variation 2, but the first segment is indented. This is the variation to use if you wish combine with a different horizontal flow segment.

HF044 contains puzzle flows that appear to be pieced together from a large set of options, which is different from series HF045 and HF046. There are from 2- to 8-piece variations. The tabs and slots on the tops and bottoms of the puzzle pieces implies that further connectivity can be achieved.

Customizing the Puzzle Flows

Adjust size

If you want to change the size/shape of the puzzle, be sure to hold the shift key down while sizing so that the puzzles stay uniform and scale correctly. If you are using more than one puzzle in this series, import them all and then size them all at once. This way they stay uniformly sized and shaped from page to page.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the puzzles will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Do not eliminate the lines unless the pieces are different colors.

PowerPoint 2007 options

The bevels create an effect much like real puzzles. The bevels add volume to the puzzle pieces without a layering problem. This is the best option for these frameworks. The series example uses bevels (see above).

Click here to go to the FAQ that explains a good bevel format for your puzzle pieces.  

Combining segments from different series of flows

The horizontal flow library makes it easy to combine flow segments from different series. The example below has been built from four different horizontal flow series. All series of flows have been drawn using the same arrow angles, so putting them together is easy. When using a flow diagram like this, remember a few things:

  1. Choose flows that have the all the same number of segments. In this case, we pulled six-segment flows from four series.
  2. Apply a consistent line point size to all of the segments.
  3. Also, be sure to apply a consistent height to all of the segments. The process of saving a series framework into an EMF file and then releasing (ungrouping) it in PowerPoint sometimes causes slight sizing differences.

3D variations

3D doesn't work with these frameworks.


Shadows don't work with these frameworks.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients can be used to create a distinction between the pieces. The lines can then be eliminated. Pictures can be used as a fill; just be sure that the dimensions of the picture are roughly the dimension of the puzzle piece that will contain it.

There are techniques in both PowerPoint 2007 and pre-PowerPoint 2007 versions to cut a photograph into individual puzzle pieces.

Click here to go to the FAQ that explains cutting photographs into puzzle pieces.  Please note, however, that you can group the whole puzzle flow and then add the picture to the whole group.  This will save you the time of adding in each piece of the picture to each puzzle piece.  You won't be able to ungroup the flow and you won't be able to animate each segment of the flow if it is grouped. 


Animations should be selected that will enhance the meaning of the message, not merely to add interest to the slide. With these frameworks, however, you can get a little creative. Pieces come come in from "out of the blue," can grow into existence, etc.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

HF044 – Horizontal Flow 044 – Puzzle Piece Flow

Possible use example

HF045 – Horizontal Flow 045 – Puzzle Flow

Possible use example

HF046 – Horizontal Flow 046 – Puzzle Flow

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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