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Tutorial for

Ribbon Flows 015, 016


Using Intersections

This series is used to show parallel processes with intersections. The intersections can mean a transfer, review, consolidation, integration, etc. These frameworks can help you show simple and complex processes with intermittent events.

There are lots of variations in this series. There are 1-, 2-, and 3-intersection variations, sets with and without intersection circles (continued in each download), 2- and 3-flow variations, and variations with segments that can be color coded based on what side of the intersection they reside (they've been cut at the midpoint). And for each of these variations, there are two styles. Choose a style and stay with that style for your presentation.

The series example is a hybrid of one of the downloads. The pieces are easy to mix and match, providing even more layout options. Review the tutorial for information about how to use, format, and animate these frameworks.

Once you have identified the best-suited framework, 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 Intersections

Adjust size

If you want to change the size/shape of a the total framework, be sure to group it and resize the entire group. Hold the shift key down as you resize so that the group will scale. Once resized, ungroup to proceed with other customizations.

If you want to increase/decrease the size of the oval intersection, just select those and hold the shift key down as you resize. They will stay in the same location so you don't need to reposition after resizing.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the frameworks will complement the colors used in the rest of your document.

Color has significant impact on whether overlaying text is readable. Since some of the segments are curved, it might be important to select a color that is readable over the frameworks segment as well as the background. It's also important to assign different colors to the flows so that they are distinct. An alternative color strategy might be to color the top half of the process flows the same color and the bottom half of the process flows the same, but different, color. This technique implies that the process is classified differently as if flows to the top and bottom (as in the series example).

The intersection ovals (or whatever shape or image you wish to use) should be a distinct color.

PowerPoint 2007 options

All of the enhanced formatting options work with the figure 8s except the soft edges. The shadows work well because they lift the graphic off the slide and enhance the overlap aspect of the graphics. Be careful, however, when you add shadows that the separations between the segments are not obscured.

3D variation

3D is not recommended for these flows.


Shadows are not recommended unless you are using PowerPoint 2007 and the text in the segments does not hang over the edges of the segments.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Some of these frameworks can get rather "busy," so keep the formatting to a minimum. Make sure that the overlying text is clearly readable and doesn't have to compete with formatting choices/styles.


Animating these types of flows should be restricted to fades and wipes, except for the intersection ovals. Make sure that the animation choice complements the flow concept. The ovals can zoom in, fade in, or appear. Don't have them fly in or bounce in. Make sure that the intersections appear in place.

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