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Tutorial for

Ribbon Flows 042

Horizontal Wave

This ribbon flow is an interesting way to show steps in a process. Without the arrow it can be used to present a line of associated ideas. There are seven frameworks in this series, each with three versions. The frameworks are structured with from 2 to 8 waves, and the three versions are …

  1. Straight arrow and wave line
  2. Segmented arrow and wave line
  3. Segmented arrow, wave line, 1 fill section for each wave (so you can use different colors for each wave, as in the series example)

There are other uses for these frameworks as well. Consider giving the waves above the line and the waves below the line different meanings (pros and cons, pluses and minuses, advances and setbacks, etc.). The wave line can also be used to show transition points. The waves above the line means the process is under the control of an entity and the waves below the line means the process is under the control of another entity.

Download the series example to see how we've formatted it.

Customizing the horizontal waves

Adjust size

Group all the elements of the framework and then resize/rescale. To rescale, hold the shift key down as you resize.

Color variations

These frameworks can receive line and fill colors. Use the colors from your template's palette so that the slide blends with your other slides.

PowerPoint 2007 options

You can use the 3D (if the depth is shallow), drop shadows, bevels for the wave centers if you want.

3D variations

Don't use 3D on the line, but you can use 3D if the depths are shallow.


Only if you're using PowerPoint versions after 2003.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

You can apply gradients to the wave line:

  • A lighter left side makes the wave line look like it is gaining strength
  • A darker left side makes the wave line look like it is losing strength,
Try importing pictures into the wave fill objects to add interest to each wave.


Simple sequential reveals.

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