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Arrow Variations 022

Slotted Arrows and Outflows

Using the Slotted Arrows and Outflows

These frameworks are set up so that they can be use in a variety of ways: The first three variations (v1-v3) can be used independently as a one-to-one or many-to-one flow graphic. When frameworks from the first three variations are used with frameworks from the second three variations (v4-v6), the flows then become many-to-many or one-to-many flows. There are lots and lots of possibilities when the two types of versions are combined.

They can help convey flows, but can also be alternatives to bullets and presentation structure pages.

They are extremely versatile and easy to use.

Customizing the Slotted Arrows and Outflows

Adjust size

These slotted arrows are a single object so there is no grouping necessary before sizing. Just grab one of the corner handles and begin sizing. Hold the shift key down if you want to scale the framework. If you are also using an outflow, group with the arrow and resize/rescale together.

Notice that the downloads have three colors. The dark blue frameworks are the widest, the light blue frameworks are the least wide, and the medium blue frameworks' widths are sized between the dark and light blue frameworks.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the arrows and outflows 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 heaver lines. These frameworks don't need a line color.

PowerPoint 2007 options

These arrow variations look nice with shadows and reflections. They also look okay with bevels, although the bevel effect does diminish the usable space for text. A drop shadow looks especially nice and "lifts" the framework off the page.

3D variations

A 3D effect adds volume to the arrow variation, which can be accomplished within PowerPoint after it is imported. Be sure to use 3D and/or 2D consistently throughout the presentation, and make sure you have complimentary dimensions (the same depth and direction of the 3D effect) on a page for a more polished look. A shorter 3D depth usually works better because there is more distinction between the segments.


A shadow adds interest and dimension to a graphic, which can be accomplished within PowerPoint after the arrows/outflows have been imported. Shadows can give the appearance of multiple objects. Just be sure that the shadow you choose does not interfere with the readability of any surrounding text or obscure the separations between the sections of the arrows/outflows.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients and patterns can be added as fills from the "Fill Effects" menu. Gradients, when carefully used, can also add motion to a flow such as this. Pictures don't work all that well with this type of framework. Gradients can also extend the arrows/outflows. By eliminating the "boundaries" of the arrows' starting points and the ending points of the outflows, longer strings of text can be used.


Animations of flows should be restricted to wipes, peak in, crawl in, fly in, etc., from the left for arrows and outflows. Since these frameworks are single pieces, it might be a better idea to reveal text on clicks instead of the framework itself.

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