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Chart of the Month – October 2010 – Large Objects as an Anchor for a List

Sometimes a list is appropriate in presentations, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. There are many nice techniques for spiffying up a list, and here's a good one. This technique works best when the text in the lists is brief (1 or 2 lines). There are only five steps to make this happen:

  1. Choose a large graphic, image, or character that complements the message of the slide
  2. Create an evenly distributed set of lines – one line for each text field – as a guide for placing the bullet graphic and the text (see below)
  3. Choose a bullet graphic: circles, checkmarks, squares, whatever, and create one for each text field
  4. Create your list with each bullet point in a separate field, center aligned
  5. Arrange the bullet graphic and associated text around the large graphic – horizontally align the bullet with the text.

Here are some examples of what you might consider developing.


The large characters are SmartArt, not font characters. They are easier to size as SmartArt. Choose a color for the SmartArt that is subdued. Apply a bright color for the bullet graphic so it "pops." Make sure that the SmartArt and text associated with the bullets balance: don't make the SmartArt too large or too small compared to the set of text bullets.

Another example.

And another example.

Photographs with white or solid backgrounds that can be knocked out with the transparency wand (in PowerPoint) work best. That way the bullets can be placed next to the photo image.

Or you can cut a photograph into a shape so that the bullets can be place around the perimeter of the photograph.

Enjoy using this technique. It's a nice way to bring interest to a simple list.

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