How to Add Text to Shapes and SmartArt using PowerPoint

How to Add Text to Shapes and SmartArt using PowerPoint

Powerpoint LogoText can be added to drawn shapes and to SmartArt, a special case of drawn shapes.  In either case, text entered in this fashion will not show up in Outline View.  Usually text placed on drawn shapes is brief, like a label or flowchart process, text placed on SmartArt however, can be more expansive because the SmartArt will scale the text to fit within the shapes that comprise the illustration.  Here is how to place text on drawn shapes, and then on SmartArt.

Text on a Drawn Shape

Most of the shapes drawn using the Shapes tool on the Insert tab (there is also a Shapes gallery by default on the Home tab) allow for text entry.  Simply draw the shape and start typing to add text to a drawn shape.  By default the text will be the standard text/font size for the theme, in a contrasting color to the shape.  It will be centered on the shape, but the alignment can be changed by selecting the text and using the contextual mini-toolbar (or the text tools on the Home tab) to change alignment.

Text Mini Tool Bar

Note that text will not auto-re-size to stay within the borders of the shape, but will, by default, simply overflow the shape as you continue to type.  To control this behavior, right-click the shape and choose Format Shape…  Click Text Options and Text Box.  Then change the behavior to “Shrink text on overflow” or “Resize shape to fit text,” depending on the behavior you want.  Of course, placing a great deal of text on a shape is not a good idea in the first place.

Text Box Overflow Options

The text and the shape are part of the same object, and deleting the shape also deletes the text.  If you want text that can be independent of the shape, draw the shape and then use the Text Box tool to type the text.  If you wan them to move together, group them.  Grouping will be the subject of a future post.

If you have typed text on a shape, and decided that another shape would be more appropriate you do not need to retype the text.  Use the Change Shape tool on the Drawing Tools tab to change it.

Change Shape Tool

Text on SmartArt

SmartArt is a special type of shape that can contain text or, sometimes, graphics.  The procedure for adding text to SmartArt shapes is different than for drawn shapes.  First, insert the SmartArt.  Configure it for the number of shapes you wish it to contain and format it for color and effects.  Then type the text in the text placeholder on each shape, or open the text side panel and type the bullet-point style text there.  Each bullet point in the side panel represents a text place holder on each SmartArt shape.

SmartArt Text Panel

The little arrowhead control on the left border of the SmartArt matrix illustrated above is the control that opens or closes the text panel.  Most SmartArt will expand to create a new shape within the borders of the SmartArt object for each bullet item in the text panel.  With some shapes, only a fixed number of shapes (and therefore bulleted items) are allowed, like the Matrix in this slide, which only allows for five: the upper level, central bullet item “Education,” and the four sub-items.  One of the things that makes SmartArt smart is that the text you type to label each shape will automatically re-size as you type, and it will re-size on all shapes, not just the one you are typing, so that the font size will be uniform.

SmartArt Matrix Shape

The SmartArt gallery can be found on the Insert tab in the Illustrations group.

SmartArt Tool

Clicking the SmartArt tool will bring up the SmartArt gallery, from which you can pick the graphic best able to illustrate your idea.

SmartArt Gallery


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