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Chart of the Month – January 2015 – Subject and Breakdown

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This chart is such an easy one to create and format.  Download the chart and take a look at it as you read this, so you will see the how it is formatted and laid out.

First of all, notice that all of the  text is in its own field.  This is important because it make it easy to vertically distribute the text and gradient lines evenly.  The horizontal lines between the fields of text are also ungrouped, individual fields. 

To vertically distribute ...

  • Select all of the text fields on the right side of the slide and the horizontal gradient lines (well, they're actually rectangles with a gradient fill)
  • Click on Home tab
  • In the Drawing section, click on downward pointing arrow under Arrange
  • Move your cursor on Align under the Position Objects section
  • Click on Vertically Distribute.

You should also left-align these text fields ...

  •  Select all of the text fields on the right side of the slide
  • Click on Format tab
  • Click the downward pointing arrow under align in the Arrange section
  • Click Align Left.

The objects that were selected will now be evenly distributed.  In order for this to work optimally, the text fields should be formatted so that they are middle aligned.  This is important because you want your text fields to remain in position as you edit the text.  To format the text fields so that they are middle aligned ...

  • Select all of the text fields (even the field on the left side of the vertical lines
  • Click on the Home tab
  • Click on the downward pointing arrow next to Align Text in the Paragraph section
  • Click on Middle.

Now you can create your vertical lines.  Draw a vertically oriented rectangle and duplicate it as many times as you want.  You can get creative here.  They don't all have to be the same width, but they should all be the same height.  You can also add a little space between one or two of the rectangles.  When you like the look of the vertical lines, group them. 

Now for the finishing touch.  Group the text fields and gradient lines on the right side of the chart.  Now select all part of the chart:  the text field on the left of the vertical line, the vertical line, and the grouped text fields/lines on the right side of the vertical lines. Middle align them  by ...

  • Clicking on the Format tab
  • Click on the downward pointing arrow under Align in the Arrange section
  • Click on Align Middle.
You can ungroup the text fields and gradient lines if you wish (we usually do).  You're done!  If you use this layout a few times and follow the directions for formatting, you'll be a step or two closer to becoming a power user!  These formatting choices are best practices and are worth knowing and using.  They will make editing your work so much easier and help you produce a slide that is well balanced and professional in appearance.
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