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Best Practice

Cropped Highlighting Circles

Circles – or other shapes – overlaying photographs, maps, or other graphics are a common technique to highlight areas. This best practice discusses a technique that raises the visual quality and professionalism of these types of slides.

Take a look at the graphic below. The graphic on the right shows a much more pleasing and professional way to overlay the circles. The overlaying circles don't hang over the edges of the image, which makes placing and aligning text next to the image easier and eliminates any wasted space caused by the circles extending beyond the edges of the image.

It's very easy to create circles that can be cropped in this manner, and it will only add a few quick steps.

  • Create the circles and apply the fill color, line color, and percentage of transparency.
  • Place the circles over the the appropriate sections of your image
  • Resize the circles individually if you wish
  • One by one, select a circle that extends beyond the boundary of the image
  • Right click on the circle and select "Save as Picture"
  • Select .png format for the picture and route the newly created picture (i.e., PNG image) to a place on your computer where you can find it
  • Drag the newly created PNG image onto your PowerPoint slide
  • Align the PNG image with the circle from which it was created
  • Delete the drawn circle (you don't need it any longer)
  • Crop the portion of the PNG image so that it doesn't overhang the edges of the image beneath it.

Repeat the process above for each circle that extends beyond the edges of the image beneath. You can add the shadow (PowerPoint 2007) or not. Enjoy using this technique.