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Chart of the Month – February 2010 – Connectivity

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This month's Chart of the Month is unique because of the technique used to create it. Multiple objects in a circular pattern are difficult to connect in a manner that is balanced and symmetrical. Most connectors attach to one of the several points on the perimeter of the circle, which is fine in some cases, but looks awkward in others. The lines should appear to flow from the center of a circle to the center of then connected circle, which is vastly more visually appealing. The technique shown in the video for this Chart of the Month will make creating these connections easy and fast.

Helpful tips:
  • To create these layouts, begin with a framework in the RE076 series. The connections in these frameworks provide the starting point for adding your own connections.
  • Once you have created your own connections, you may wish to reduce the size of the circles so that they do not interfere with the connections.
Text should always be contained within a circle, not as a separate field placed over the circle. However, it is sometimes difficult to get text to appear correctly within a circle. The following adjustments should be tried in order – they are ordered by most preferred formatting to least preferred. Keep applying the fixes until they work, which may only require 1, 1 and 2, 1 through 3, or all of the fixes:
  1. Remove the space between the text and the edges of the circle by making the internal margins 0 on top and bottom and on left and right – go to the Format AutoShape menu and click on the Text Box tab to make these adjustments
  2. Word wrap text in AutoShape should be unchecked – break the line with shift-returns instead of having PowerPoint do it for you
  3. Reduce the line spacing to 0.85 or 0.9 instead of 1 point
  4. Reduce the amount of text and/or the font size if you still can't fit the text in the circle.
Review the video to see how these steps work. All four of the steps were used in the video.

It's usually not a good idea to force line breaks with shift-returns; but in this case, the superior visual appearance of the text in the circle justifies this type of formatting. The video below shows you how to make the adjustments.

Make the lines prominent. We used a 3-point line, but they can be a larger point size if you wish. The focal point of this concept is the connectivity, so make sure the lines are distinct and easily seen.

Be sure to download the animated example for a possible animation scheme. Enjoy this technique and the superior results it will produce for you.

Creating the layout

Fitting text to circles

Series that relate to this tutorial:

RE076 – Relationship 076 – Object-Centric Connectivity

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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