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Tutorial for

Bullet Alternatives 025 , 026

Vertical and Horizontal Fans

Using the Vertical Fans

This series provides a way to illustrate a flow from one main topic to many. The connecting fields from the main thought, which can be anything – oval (as in the example), rectangle, photograph, icon, logo, etc. – to the subtext suggests a flow, not just a connection. These fans can be used as flows to other photographs, graphics, or text.

Versions 1 and 2 can be used with free-floating text, graphics, logos, or a photograph. Version 3 and 4 have a boundary box to contain text (as in series example) or a combination of items – perhaps a formula, several pictures, logos, etc.

Customizing the Vertical Fans

Adjust size

If you want to change the size/shape of the fans and the vertically oriented rectangles, be sure to group them and resize the entire group. Once resized, ungroup to proceed with other customizations.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the fans will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Eliminating the line is not recommended, as the segments will disappear or become indistinct. You can change the line point size of the line if you wish, however. A larger point size will create more space between the fan segments and rectangles. You may want to make the lines the same color as the background. This will create more space between the fan segments and rectangles, but the lines will not be visible.

3D variations

Be careful if you apply 3D to these objects. Unless the segments are different colors, the separation between the segments will disappear. You may also need to adjust the layering.


Shadows may obscure the separations between the segments. The drop shadows in PowerPoint 2007 might be okay to use, however.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients can be especially effective applied to the fan segments. Transparencies applied to the gradient colors will give the fan sections the appearance of "rays" instead of a hard, opaque connection between the object on top and the subordinate objects below the fan.

Take a look at the example for BA026. Notice how the fan looks like it's coming out of the backpack? What we did was duplicate the photograph of Ricky and layer them perfectly – one on top of the other. Then we cropped the right side of the top photograph so that it ends at the edge of the backpack. Then we sized and positioned the fan so that it looks like it is emerging from the backpack. Make sure that the cropped photograph is on the very top layer.


A simple top-to-bottom wipe is probably best to use. Download the animated example to see how this would work. The fan segment wipes first on a click, followed by the associated rectangle and its contents.

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