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Tutorial for

Circular Flows 031, 032


Using Circular Flows 031 and 032

These circular flows are the flows from CF003 and CF004 that have been split in the middle of each segment. The flows from this series and those from CF003 and CF004 are completely interchangeable, as shown in the series example. They can, of course, also be used as is and colored to introduce another layer of information (explained with the use of a legend).

Circular flows depict virtuous and vicious cycles. These two particular series of cycles can be used to add a little complexity to those cycles. CF031 has no wings and CF032 has wings. Other than that, there is no difference between the two series. The wings/no wings preference (wings are the arrow points that stick out beyond the shaft of the arrow) is dictated by what is being used throughout the rest of the document/presentation. You want to be sure you are building a consistent looking message.

The center can be populated with the name of the cycle or a photograph. The segments can be numbered so a starting and stopping point can be established. Associated text can be placed outside the cycle framework next to each segment. Instead of using horizontal text for the segment descriptors, you can also use arc formats of WordArt.

Once you have identified the best-suited segment configuration, download it to a specific location on your computer so you'll be able to find it (the desktop is always a good choice).

Customizing Circular Flows

Adjust size

To resize this cycle flow, you need to group it and scale it while resizing (hold the shift key down while you resize). This is important to do or the circle will become distorted.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the cycle flow 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 lines.

3D variations

3D effects are not recommended for circular flows unless the depth is very, very small. Otherwise, the circles turn into pipes. The order of the flow segments may need to be adjusted, depending on which way the 3D is angled. Also, be sure that the 3D depth of the pieces does not block other pieces, which disrupts the 3D effect.

When the pieces of a 3D framework are close together, the individual pieces become indistinct. You can you use variations of the same color to create more distinction between the segments or remove the outline.

Be aware that using 3D can darken the colors of the object.

Shadows and gradients

Shadows are tricky with this type of framework. You should be very careful, because most of the shadow effects in the menu disrupt the look of the framework, which will detract from impact of the slide. Also, make any necessary layering adjustments so that the shadow from one section does not overlap the primary part of another section.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures can be added as fills from the "Fill Effects" menu in the pre-PowerPoint 2007 versions and the "Format Shapes…" menu in PowerPoint 2007. Gradients, when carefully used, can add motion to the circular flow part of this type of framework. Remember not to make the gradient too radical from light to dark, because the text that will be placed over/in the segment will need to contrast well with the background in order to be readable.

The examples above are formatted using PowerPoint 2007. Notice the gradient shadowing? This is not possible to in pre-PowerPoint 2007 versions. Also, PowerPoint 2007 provides the option of shadowing the graphic as a group or as individual pieces of the group. This is a new feature in PowerPoint 2007. In the example to the above left, the shadow has been applied so that it looks like the cycle is floating above the "ground." Also the gradient has been applied to the whole group so the bottom part of the cycle is dark and the top part is light.

The example to the top right has the gradient applied to the individual pieces – notice the difference between the two?


Animations of circular flows can be wipes or fade in to show progression, basically anything that does not fly in from an unconnected origin.

Click on a name for more information.
Click on a thumbnail to view a larger image