Your presentation-development partner … demonstrate and inspire!
Best Practice

Graphic elements that connect two objects

Making visual connections between objects is an important presentation concept. The use of color is always a good way to make connections between objects. The examples below use color to illustrate a connection between one of the segments in the stacked column and the pie chart. Beyond color, the usual method of connecting two objects is an arrow. In many instances arrows work well, especially when there is a flow involved from one object to the other. But when a simple connection needs to be made, an arrow may imply a flow that does not exist. In these situations consider, instead, using one of the three techniques below.

1. Connections between two objects that are aligned can be made by using a shape from the Basic Shapes menu. Notice that the pie chart has been centered horizontally on the segment to which it is going to be connected, making it easy to connect using the shape on top of the chart below. This shape is the third shape on the top row of the Basic Shapes menu, and it has been rotated 90 degrees to the right. Then the right-hand side of the graphic was sized to match the pie chart height. See the little yellow handle on the left-hand side of the graphic? This handle can be moved up and down, allowing for perfect sizing to the column segment on the left. These connectors work well when they are semitransparent and/or have a gradient. If you want to use a gradient, apply the gradient before you flip the graphic on its side, otherwise the direction of the gradient will be off.

2. The example below shows a connection between two objects that are not perfectly aligned. This connection is drawn using the polygon tool – (a) start at the top right corner of the stacked column segment and draw a line to the top of the pie, (b) draw down to the bottom of the pie, and then end at the lower right corner of the stacked column segment. Apply a color, gradient, and or transparency and send the graphic to the back.

3. The example below shows an expanded connection between two objects. Instead of just connecting the stacked column segment and the pie, this connection includes all of the pie's associated text. This is a good method of you want to the connection to include descriptors or explanations.