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Tutorial for

Circular Flows 056

Circular Puzzle

These circular segments are connected like puzzles. They are not a traditional flow, which makes them useful for illustrating other concepts as well. Consider using them to show protection, confinement, a barrier, a hedge, etc. The series example uses a three-segment circular flow to illustrate the contents of a stock portfolio that protects the investor.

There are from 1- to 12-segment variations, which are all formattable. Add text as a WordArt arc or next to or slightly overlaying the segments. The FAQ entitled, "How do I easily create perfectly round WordArt circles?" will help you managed the sizing and placement of the WordArt.

Customizing the circular puzzles

Adjust size

Make sure you group and then rescale (hold shift key down as you resize) to the desires size. Rescaling will keep the circular puzzle a perfect circle.

Color variations

Choose colors from your template's color palette. It may be good to use a different color or different hues of the same color for each segment. This would not be to add interest, but to underscore the point that the segments are different and independent from each other. No flow occurs when you use them to illustrate barriers, etc.

PowerPoint 2007 options

Don't use a bevel unless the bevel depth is very small (1 or 2 points). Otherwise the bevel will distort the puzzle tabs. Be careful using glows, shadows, etc. Apply them only if you group the segments first. Otherwise layering may be an issue. We recommend you keep these simple. A nice drop shadow should be all you will need.

3D variations

Don't use 3D with these flows.


Drop shadows in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 only. Group segments before applying the shadow.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

A gradient can be applied to the group, but with the segments going in so may directions, a gradient applied to each segments will not produce a uniform effect. It would be time consuming to get the gradients to look uniform – not really worth the effort.


A simple animation scheme is recommended. You can fly each segment in if you want to build the graphic one piece at a time. Then you can introduce subordinate text by each segment if you wish.

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