Your presentation-development partner … demonstrate and inspire!
Tutorial for

Relationships 013

Wheel and Spokes

Using the Wheels

The wheel concept suggests a group of equally important components (spokes) that make the whole (the wheel) functional. This is not really a parts-of-a-whole concept, but more of a components-of-functionality framework.

Wheels can illustrate these concepts well, but they are rarely used. The reason it is avoided is because it's difficult to label the spokes with readable text and also provide associated text for each spoke. But if the wheel is animated, that problem goes away. The animated Giff used as the series example doesn't really do the animated wheel justice. Please download the animated example for this series to see how these frameworks can be used in an effective and eye-catching way.

Once you have identified the best-suited PowerFramework, download it to a specific location on your computer so you'll be able to find it (the desktop is always a good choice).

Customizing the Wheels


If you want to change the size/shape of the PowerFramework, be sure to group it and resize the entire group. Hold the shift key down while you size if you want to scale the group. Once resized, ungroup to proceed with other customizations.


Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the PowerFramework will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Select "No line" if you want to eliminate the outline of the object, or change the line point size if you want thinner or heavier lines. The series example has a fill color but no line color. We wanted to minimize the elements on the slide so the text would "pop." Eliminating the line helped that happen.

Adding text

Create text fields for each spoke. Use only one or two words to describe the spoke. Any more than that and the text will be unreadable when projected. Instead, use the associated text field to elaborate on your message. Take each text field and rotate it to match the spoke you'd like to label. Once the text is rotated so that it fits nicely into the spoke, group the text and spoke. Do this until all of the spokes are labeled. Add text to the tire part of the wheel by using WordArt arc text. Group all the wheel parts except the WordArt arc text. If the spoke and text order is important, then you need to label the spokes so that they appear sequentially as the wheel turns clockwise. See the graphics in the below in the animation section to see this in action.


3D can be used, but use a short depth (maybe 12 points). any more than this and layering becomes a problem and 3D is not a viable option.


Don't use shadows. They flatten the wheel and make it look less real.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

We recommend that you do not use gradients. Gradients are used very well to give depth to a graphic. The gradient implies that light is shining on the field, creating a light side and a shadow side. If you use a gradient and then spin the wheel, it looks like the light shining on the wheel changes position, which wouldn't really ever happen.


The recommended animation scheme is the "Emphasis" effect of "Spin." Generally, the amount of spin is calculated by the number of spokes in the framework. If you're using a 5-spoke framework, each degree of spin is 72 degrees (360/5). In the series example (at top of tutorial and at the very bottom of tutorial), there are 8 spokes so the calculation would be 360 divided by 8 = 45. Set the spin at 45 degrees clockwise each time you want the wheel to turn (8 times). But there is another consideration, which is establishing the alignment of the text 1 spoke with the associated text. Read through the following graphics to get an idea of how to do this well. This is important to understand if you want to use this graphic optimally.

Remember that the wheel only works really well when you can get the alignment of spoke and associated text established, as shown above.

The graphic above is balanced on the page and, as mentioned, presents best as a preanimation position. Some wheels (4-spoke and 8-spoke wheels) naturally have a spoke positioned at the 3 o'clock position and is, therefore, already aligned with the associated text.

The the rest of the wheels in the series do not have a spoke at the 3 o'clock starting position and aligned with the associated text. Therefore, we need to get the text 1 spoke into that position.

Easy enough. The first spin is always 90 degrees clockwise unless you're using the 4-spoke or the 8-spoke wheel (which naturally have a spoke at the 3 o'clock position). The remaining spin degrees are calculated easily and are applied to each successive spin until the wheel has finished spinning.

Not so hard once you understand the concept. This is a more advanced animation scheme, but it's not so difficult if you take it step by step.

We don't typically provide PowerPoint tutorials, but we wanted to give you an idea of where to go to format the animation. As we mentioned, this is a somewhat advanced animation scheme, but doable if you think through the steps: turn the wheel and fade the associated text in and out (notice that the associated text is layered, all in the same position on the slide).

Click on a name for more information.
Click on a thumbnail to view a larger image