Office hacks: PPT production four-step flow chart

Whether in life or at work, problem solving is always from small to large, from simple to complex, often divided into four steps: first determine their current position (understanding the problem), followed by determining where they ultimately want to go (determine the goal), then start the specific implementation (implementation plan), and finally check the effect of implementation when completed (verify the results). In this article, let us graphically demonstrate this four-step process (4-Step Process) in a PPT.

Directed 4-Step Process Diagram

By directed diagram, we mean a graph with arrows indicating the direction. The main difficulty is to create a circle with a gap, because by merging or splitting in the normal way, we can get a “gap” circle, but it is automatically closed, so we need to add some other processing during the production process.


Figure 1 The effect of four-step flowchart with direction

First start PowerPoint (this article takes the 2016 version as an example), create a new blank presentation document, draw a circle and set it to no fill color, the outline line is thickened and set to about 3 pounds.

Next, draw a random rectangle so that its height is similar to the size of the gap to be opened by the circle, and superimpose the two shapes together. Check the circle and rectangle (select the circle first and then select the rectangle), switch to the “Format” tab, click the toolbar “Merge Shapes → Trim”, you can get a concave circle.

Right-click on the concave circle and select “Edit Vertex”, which will show multiple black anchor points on the shape. Right-click the anchor points on the concave shape, and select “Open Path” to break the original closed shape (Figure 2).


Figure 2: Changing a closed shape to an open shape

Right-click on the anchor point of the concave shape and select “Delete Vertex” to delete a line. Drag the remaining two lines, one to the left and one horizontally to the outside of the circle, and draw a single arrow line to coincide with it, and the basic shape of a circle with a gap is completed (Figure 3). Add serial numbers and icons on top of this, then make three copies and modify them accordingly, and finally add other contents to get the PPT effect shown in the previous article.


Figure 3 Drawing a circle with notches

Curved four-step flowchart

Next we create another curved forward four-step flowchart, again looking at the final result first (Figure 4).


Figure 4 Curve forward four-step flowchart effect

The basic shape of this graph is actually a half-circle that we can stitch together with two arcs. First draw a square, choose no fill color, as a reference figure. Next, select “Arc” graphics, and then hold down the Shift key, press the left mouse button from the top of the corner of the square dragged to its diagonal position, a quarter of a positive arc will appear (Figure 5).


Figure 5 Draw a quarter-arc

Make a copy of the arc you just drew, and flip it horizontally so that the two arcs fit together and are combined to create an open-loop half circle. Next, make another copy of the open half-circle and turn it into a white dashed line. The line of the previous half-circle becomes thicker, for example, I set to 36 pounds. Overlap the two semicircles and combine them into one again (Figure).


Figure 6 Drawing an open semicircle

Once the basic shape is ready, the next step is simple: make several copies of the open-loop semicircle, flip two of them vertically, and stitch them together to form a curve. For the arrow part of the curve, just draw a triangle and rotate it at the right angle, then put it together. Finally, add other graphics and the corresponding text, you can get the effect shown in the previous article.

Tip: The second example, the reason why we want to use the arc spell out the half-circle, because if the combination of graphics cutting method, there will be redundant closed lines. And the closed half-circle, if you apply the method of deleting the vertices in the above example, the half-circle will be deformed.

Stepped four-step flowchart

Now let’s create a four-step flowchart with a “step-up” effect. This graphic looks complicated, but it is actually a combination of circles and lines, which is very simple to create (Figure 7).


Figure 7 Stepwise four-step flowchart effect

First draw a square circle, set to no fill color, and set the contour line to 36 pounds (thickness depends on the specific situation), in addition to set the shadow effect for it to enhance the sense of three-dimensional. Next, draw two straight lines directly, line width and circular outline line equal (36 pounds in this case), also set the shadow effect, and placed to the bottom of the circle, arranged to complete the basic shape (Figure 8).


Fig. 8 Combining circles and lines to form a basic shape

The next step is simple: make a few more copies of the basic shape, arrange them from low to high, and then add the appropriate graphic decoration and content.

All in all, dividing a complete process into different steps allows us to understand the problem more clearly, thus simplifying a complex task. So our aim is not to create complex graphics, but to express the idea clearly. For example, we can quickly create a list-style four-step flowchart by simply importing a graphic with a serial number and content (Figure 9), which looks very plain but is also very practical.


Figure 9 List-based four-step flow chart


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