by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 16, 2013)
SmartArt is a new type of graphical tool included in the latest versions of Word. SmartArt is, basically, a way to make organized presentation art. (Some folks think that SmartArt was created as a tool primarily for PowerPoint.) It is suitable for "organizational" types of artwork, such as org charts and process lists.
To insert a piece of SmartArt into your document, display the Insert tab of the ribbon. In the Illustrations group, click the SmartArt tool. Word displays the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. The Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box.
Notice that at the left side of the dialog box there are a number of different categories. Each category represents a number of different SmartArt layouts that you can choose from, based on the desired purpose of the graphic you want to create.
There are two additional categories available in Word 2010 and Word 2013 that aren't in Word 2007: Picture and Office.com. The Picture category is intended to help you use pictures in your SmartArt layout. The Office.com category isn't really a category, but a way to get additional layouts online.
Once you know which category you want to use, click it and then click one of the layouts in that category. Click on OK, and Word inserts the SmartArt in your document. A text pane also opens up right next to the SmartArt. It is in this text pane that you place the information you want to appear in the artwork.
When you are done entering the text for the artwork (what you enter or can enter depends on the type of SmartArt you are creating), click outside the SmartArt graphic, elsewhere in your document. The text pane disappears and Word rearranges your text to fit properly in the available layout space.
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