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Concepts 035 – Connect/Disconnect

Using the Split Objects

The frameworks in this series, along with some animation, perhaps, will help you illustrate a number of concepts: synchronization, matching, disconnects/connects, imprecision/precision, alignment, and so on. The frameworks are available as wholes, halves, and thirds. These simple designs show the disconnects vividly, although you can also use cut photographs to display the same concepts.

These simple-to-use tools will not only help you show the disconnect, for example, but also the degree of disconnect. By placing the pieces far apart, you're conveying a very pronounced disconnect. A slight amount of shift will convey a nearly complete connection. These frameworks can be manipulated to help visually display a great deal of your spoken presentation.

Customizing the Split Objects

Adjust size

Group and scale (hold shift key down as you resize) as one field if you need to resize the the split objects. Ungroup and proceed with other formatting.

Color variations

Use colors from your company's PowerPoint template color palette. Alternatively, you can apply colors to the objects that symbolize another company or entity that has its own branding colors.

2007 options

This series is more about position than formatting. Simply adding colors and animation will work better than adding a lot of formatting. Keep it simple and the alignments will appear precise.

3D variations

It's probably best to stay away from 3D effects for the split objects. Layering becomes an issue, particularly with the split layered circles.


Don't use shadows in PowerPoint 2003. They have a tendency to "flatten the object" onto the slide. Drop shadows in PowerPoint are better but can be tricky when used with animation. If you use shadows in PowerPoint 2007, don't apply any spin animation or anything else that will make the shadow appear in different locations. It looks as if the light source is rotating around the object, which of course it would not.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

You can use gradients and patterns if you wish. If you use gradients, be careful about which animation you select. The issues are the same with gradients as with shadows (see above).

You can import cropped pictures into the segments if you wish. Click here to go to the FAQ that explains how to "cut" photographs into different shapes.


Animation can be powerful when applied to these objects. You can take a perfectly aligned split object and make it "crack" or disconnect. You can align split objects so that they are whole again using animation.

To split or reunite an object, apply a motion path animation. You can also reunite split objects by having the pieces "fly in" from different side of the slide (use Fly In) Entrance animation.

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