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Select PowerPoint SmartArt Shapes Using the Text

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 by | Filed Under: MS PowerPoint

If you’re a fan of the SmartArt feature in Office 2007 then you may have experienced the frustration of trying to select a single shape in the diagram.

Or worse yet, when you’re looking to select several shapes and you have the Ctrl + click thing down, too bad you keep accidentally clicking on something already selected… which deselects it, of course.

At this point you’ve got to be wondering if there’s another way to select shapes in the diagram – one that doesn’t require aspirin for the headache you have when you’re done.

As expected, there is something we can do to make life a bit easier, so let’s take a look.

We’ve previously discussed the text pane that is attached to each SmartArt graphic. It’s in this pane that you can use a bulleted list to type the text for the diagram. Office will then place the text into the individual shapes – much faster – and certainly a lot less clicking.

You can open the text pane either with the arrows that appear on the left side of the SmartArt when it’s selected or you could try the Text Pane button located on SmartArt Tools, Design tab of the Ribbon.

Either way, you should be looking at something like this:


(The left side is the text pane and the right is the SmartArt. You can see that the text of “two” is selected and if you look at the dark blue gear you’ll see that it’s selected as well.)

Usually we’re in here to enter text but this little gadget works “both” ways. That is, with the text already entered you can use it to select individual shapes.

  • Selecting a single shape in the diagram can be done by placing your cursor anywhere in the shape’s text.
  • You can select multiple shapes by using the Shift or Ctrl keys while you highlight the text for all shapes to be selected. (It works the same as all selection does with these keys.)

Once the shapes are selected you can accomplish whatever formatting you had in mind – without the fuss and frustration of the individual selection can cause.

~ April

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