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Tutorial for Relationships 021 – Triads

Using the triads

If you need a framework to plot qualitative information on a set of three criteria, these are the frameworks to use. They are a non-data-driven version of the radar charts available in the chart library in PowerPoint. A lot of formatting can be applied to these frameworks, and it is easier to use these than a data-driven chart as your jumping off place. These are great to use when there is no data or quantitative ranking numbers. The frameworks do not have a scale, but convey general values and comparisons.

Versions 1 and 2 are similar in style. Version 1 is a straight-on view pf the triad, while version 2 is from an angle. Version 2 is a good choice if there is a lot of associated text. Version 3 is a unique triad design that uses 3D and transparencies. There are two variations of version 3: one that shows the concept and one that has elements to plot the quality level of each piece of the triad. Version 4 is a simple, direct, basic triad.

Customizing the vertically sliced circles

Adjust size

Group the triad and associated information and rescale by holding the shift-key down. Ungroup and proceed with other formatting.

Adjust values

  • Versions 1 and 2 have triangles with points that can be adjusted. Simply right click on the triangle and select "Edit points." You can then place the triangle points anywhere you wish on the triad.
  • Version 3 is drawn as a 3D object, the objects are semitransparent, and they are layered. The variation on the right side of version 3 has movable objects on each segment of the triad that establish values. Since these fields are beneath other fields, you'll need to corral each of the field individually by left-hold-clicking (keep pressing your finger on the mouse) and dragging the pointer so that you create a corral around the field. Release the click and you will see that the field has been selected and is active. You can then bring it to front and place it where you want on the segment of the triad. Then send it to back again. You'll need to do this three times, one time each for the three value objects on the triad.
  • Version 4 is a very basic triad that is one field (not three separate arrows). You can adjust the triangle points a with versions 1 and 2. The circle can be deleted or used to show an area of interest or significance.

Color variations

Versions 1, 2, and 3 triads are all one field, so they can receive fill and line color. Choose colors from your presentation's color palette.

PowerPoint 2007 options

No special PowerPoint 2007 formatting options are necessary here and may, in fact, detract from the clarity of the triads.

3D variations

These frameworks are already drawn in 3D (pretty much). It's not advisable to apply 3D formatting.


Not necessary and may, in fact, obscure the lines. Version 3 is drawn in 3D and the shadows have already been formatted into the colors. Notice that there are three colors used in the triad: top pieces (lightest color). left-facing pieces (middle color), and right-facing pieces (darkest color). These color changes create the shadowing for this framework.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Version 4 might benefit from a radial gradient applied to the triad: light color in center to a stronger hue of that color near the arrow heads.


Simple reveal are best with this type of framework. It's not possible to animate points on the triangle to move, so simply face one triangle out as you fade the next one in if you want to show changing values. Download the animated example for an animation scheme.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

RE021 – Relationship 021 – Triads

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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