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Reinvent PowerPoint with

SmartDraw VP
Paul Stannard, CEO of SmartDraw
& Rick Altman, author of Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck


Nothing communicates as immediately and powerfully as visuals. But

visuals are rarely used in presentations. Instead most people settle for
boring bullets, because it’s the easiest thing to do in PowerPoint®.

SmartDraw VP, the world’s first visual processor™, eliminates this

problem by reinventing the way you use PowerPoint, saving you time
and money.

 Deliver more powerful, visually-rich


 Keep your audience engaged with visuals that are

animated automatically

 Create presentations faster with SmartDraw's

PowerPoint® Builder

Using Visuals in Presentations

When was the last time you were truly engaged and captivated by a
PowerPoint® presentation? Why is it that so many PowerPoints are
painful to sit through? To answer that question, take a look at the slide

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Quickly, what is the main message of this slide? Are sales up or down? What’s driving sales and why? Without
taking the time to read and absorb the information, it’s impossible to say.

Now look at the same information presented in a different way, visually.

The visual makes it clear that sales are up and that distributors are driving sales.

Nothing communicates as immediately and powerfully as visuals. In fact, studies show that communicating with
visuals is up to six times more effective than with words alone. Only visuals can show how topics and data are
related, and only visuals are universally understood around the world. But despite their power, visuals are very
rarely used in presentations.

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The way to reinvent PowerPoint®, so that presentations become engaging and effective
again, is to use visuals instead of slide after slide of bullets.
What are the barriers preventing people from using visuals more in their presentations? How did we get here?

Since PowerPoint® was introduced in 1987; a stack of bulleted PowerPoint® slides has become synonymous with
“presentation.” We’ve all sat through meetings where a co-worker reads the bullets from each slide of a
PowerPoint®. Perhaps you’ve even given a presentation like this yourself.

Needless to say presentations like this are as ineffective as they are boring.

Why do most presentations follow this formula? Ironically, the main culprit is PowerPoint® itself. From the
beginning PowerPoint® was designed to make it easy to type in a title and bullets. Creating a slide of bullets was
the default action, and after more than two decades, it still is!

PowerPoint® 2007

This is the first of three major barriers that prevent most people from the effective use of visuals in their

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Barrier #1: PowerPoint® encourages you to make slides of bullets

Those who do not take the path of least resistance and try to create visual slides run into the next major barrier:

Barrier #2: Visuals are difficult to create with PowerPoint®

The few that persevere and actually manage to create visuals for their slides face the next big problem when they
go to deliver their presentation:

Barrier #3: PowerPoint® does not, by default, present your visuals in the best way possible (sequenced)

Reinventing PowerPoint®
SmartDraw, the world’s first visual processor, knocks down each of these barriers and puts the power to create
visually rich presentations into the hands of everyone. SmartDraw gives you a whole new way to create your
presentation which reinvents the way you use PowerPoint®.
SmartDraw does this in three ways:

1. By making it possible to create and manage presentations visually

2. By making it easy to create visual slides
3. By ensuring your visuals are presented in the most impactful way possible in your presentation

Creating Visual Presentations with SmartDraw

Creating a truly visual presentation means more than taking an existing text-based presentation and replacing
some of the bullets with visuals. You need to think visually, plan visually, and compose your presentation visually.
SmartDraw, the world’s first visual processor, makes this possible.
With SmartDraw’s PowerPoint® builder you create your presentation visually in a storyboard format.

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In the storyboard, each shape on the line represents a slide. The top area of the slide is the title. The bottom area
contains the visual that will show below the title.

Insert an existing visual into each slide, or create a new one.

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You can edit the visual in each slide by double-clicking on it. It opens in a new instance of SmartDraw so that you
can edit it and set the sequencing. Closing the visual saves it back to your presentation storyboard.

When your presentation is complete, click “Build” and SmartDraw creates your entire PowerPoint® deck for you

You can also use your own PowerPoint® template.

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You make changes to your presentation in SmartDraw not in PowerPoint®. Edit your slide shapes in SmartDraw
and then export again to PowerPoint®.

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You can remove slides from your presentation by pulling them off the line of the storyboard. Only the slides on the
line are included when you export.

This slide will not

be included in the

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You can adjust the order of the slides by moving the slides around on the storyboard line.

When you export to PowerPoint®, the slides will be in the new order.

You can store slides that you want to use again in your own slide library by simply dragging them to the library

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Later you can drag slides from the library into new presentations. All of the visuals and their sequencing are

With SmartDraw’s PowerPoint® builder, no matter how many visuals you add, your whole presentation is
contained in a single file. This makes them easier to manage and also makes it easy to make last minute changes.
You never have to hunt down the source file for one of your charts, for example.

Easy Visuals for Every Presentation

It’s a given that visuals are more effective than bullets, but visuals are rarely used because for the vast majority of
users, they are simply too difficult to create. The introduction of SmartDraw, the world’s first visual processor,
changes everything.
The visual processor puts the power to create great presentations, loaded with engaging visuals, into the hands of
everyone. SmartDraw automates the creation of visuals to such a degree that anyone can do it, and get great
results in minutes. Creating professional-quality visuals with SmartDraw is as easy as typing bullets in PowerPoint®.
To see how easy creating visuals is with SmartDraw consider the creation of a mind map. With traditional drawing
software you are forced to start with a blank screen and it’s up to you to draw boxes, insert text, position the
boxes, and connect them with lines—all by hand. With SmartDraw you start with a template.

Your main topic box is already there for you. Simply click the box to type in the title.

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Add topic and subtopic boxes by clicking simple commands. Everything is aligned, connected, and styled

There are also keyboard shortcuts for these commands which make it possible to create the entire mind map
without taking your fingers off the keyboard.

Creating a data chart with SmartDraw is just as easy. Start by selecting the Charts & Graphs SmartTemplate.

A basic chart is already drawn for you; simply customize it to suit your needs.

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Enter your data directly into the chart, or adjust the values manually with your mouse.

You can also import your data from Excel or other data source.

Apply different chart formats and styles with the click of a button.

Like a word processor automatically formats text, SmartDraw automatically formats visuals making it possible for
anyone to create presentation-quality visual slides in minutes. SmartDraw automatically formats 70 different types
of visual—each with dozens of examples that you can easily customize for your presentation.

Effectively Presenting Visuals

Even the best visual can be ineffective if displayed in the wrong way in your presentation.

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As presentation expert Rick Altman explains in his excellent book, Why Most PowerPoint® Presentations Suck and
How to Make them Better, showing a visual to your audience all at once can be overwhelming. They will be too
busy trying to absorb all the information to focus on the specific point you are trying to make. Rick calls this
“drinking from the fire hose.” Instead, it’s better to reveal the visual in a series of steps. Rick calls this
“sequencing”. Here’s an example.
We can show this graph in its entirety:

Or we can show it in a series of steps with commentary:

“As you can see we have seen a steady growth of smart phone sales over the past four years.”

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“But it’s important to note that sales of normal phones have fallen off just as quickly.”

“We see clearly that total sales of all phones have actually grown quite slowly during this period. Smart phone sales
have largely replaced regular phone sales.”
By stepping through the graph, your audience can follow the argument with much greater comprehension than
just putting the whole graph in front of them in one pass.

Sequencing is especially powerful when used with mind maps. A slide with a single mind map can always be used
to replace a list of bullets. Mind maps group your points around topics, so not only will your audience absorb the
information faster, they will also see how the points relate to each other and to your overall message.

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Here’s an example:

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The second slide with the mind map contains the same information as the first but with an extra layer of
meaning—it communicates visually how the topics interrelate.
When you present the mind map in sections using sequencing, the result is even more powerful. In fact, in some
cases your entire presentation can consist of a single slide with a sequenced mind map. And the result is more
dynamic and effective than slide after slide of monotonous bullets.
“We need a new
strategy because we
want to increase
growth in
acquisitions, areas,
people, and

“A new strategy could

also change our
corporate culture,
giving us a new style
that is more in-line
with new trends.”

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“We need to adapt to
these external

“The other benefit of

a new corporate
strategy is increased
efficiency in HR and
process management,
which will lower our

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Sequencing works
with virtually every
type of visual.
Timelines to
explain history or
plans: “In 2002 PSA
Releases their first
report on the uses
on green fuel and
the advantages of
solar power.”

“In 2003 the US

Navy Contracts PSA
to develop new
green technology
for their mobile
land transports.”

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“Based on the
worked provided
for the US Navy,
PSA is awarded a
full Department of
Defense contract in

“In 2005, PSA

celebrates their
200 contract

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Flowcharts to
explain processes:
“Let’s look at the
postcard design

“The first step is to

determine if a
template will be

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“If the design is
then it’s a matter
of selecting the
modifying it, and
submitting for

“If not, then the

designer should
draft a new design
based on best
practices, include
the specified offer
and copy, then
submit for

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Using the animation features in PowerPoint® to sequence a visual, even a visual created with PowerPoint® itself, is
difficult and painstaking. However SmartDraw not only makes it possible for you to create visuals like these in
minutes, it also makes using sequencing effortless.
SmartDraw sequences all graphs automatically. Simply select the preset order that works best for your

You can easily assign custom sequencing to any SmartDraw visual using the intuitive controls:

A SmartDraw visual can be inserted into an existing PowerPoint® presentation as a new slide with a single click,
with all the sequencing information included:

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When you build your PowerPoint® deck with the SmartDraw PowerPoint® builder, all the sequencing for each
visual is preserved in PowerPoint.

Reinventing PowerPoint® with SmartDraw

SmartDraw’s presentation features totally reinvent the way you use PowerPoint®. Not only does SmartDraw make
it easy to replace boring bullets with powerful visuals, it gives you a better way to compose, build, and manage all
your presentations. The result is better, more effective presentations that are even easier to create and edit. Make
your next presentation impactful and memorable by making it visual, with SmartDraw, the world’s first visual

For more information visit

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