Build Enhanced Documents Visually with SmartArt
Most people are visual learners. If we are taught a process verbally, we may not clearly understand the steps involved or, more importantly, may not even remember the instructions. To ensure users connect the dots when you present complex material, go the extra step and use SmartArt graphics to visually communicate your information.
Inclusion of SmartArt in a document or presentation can improve the audience’s visualization of lists, processes, and organizational charts. Microsoft provides flexibility to create graphics that are complex and visually enhanced. SmartArt graphics in Word can be used to add visual interest not only in Word manuals but in Excel organizational charts—and to prevent your audience from falling asleep during your PowerPoint presentations.
SmartArt can be found on the Insert Tab in the Ribbon, in all versions of Microsoft Office 2007, 2010, and 2013.
Insert SmartArt Graphics
Word SmartArt graphics are organized by categories (see Step 1 below) on the left of the SmartArt menu. In the middle of the menu, users can see the various types of graphics that are available within each category (Step 2). When a specific graphic has been selected, the righthand side displays a preview with a description of how that graphic will work for your purposes (Step 3). Be sure to read the description of the graphic you select, as it specifies how many levels of the text are allowed in each shape.
When inserting SmartArt into any application, two new contextual tabs will appear in the ribbon.
Most users are comfortable with bullets because they are a staple of Microsoft Office. Each main shape is represented by a primary bullet. When Enter is pressed, it adds a new bullet (to indicate a main or separate topic). This graphic does not allow for more shapes to be added, as indicated by a red “x” in the screenshot below. If we want a secondary bullet, however, we press Tab to demote the bullet. Note that this will add a new shape off to the primary shape in our graphic.
Enhance Your Graphic
- Select your SmartArt graphic
- On the Design tab of the SmartArt Tools contextual tab, choose a Smartart Style
- Select the Change Colors option to customize your SmartArt
If you want to animate this object in PowerPoint, choose the Animations tab to get started. Have fun—but remember with professional presentations, “less is more.” It is easy to get carried away with your animations.
Insert a Signature Line in Word
How many times have you ever needed to insert a signature line into your Word documents, either a physical signature line or a digital signature? Maybe you are selling a vehicle or leasing rental property and want to create a contractually binding document that includes signatures from both parties in the agreement.
Word provides the option to quickly insert a signature line to have others physically sign the document. Here are the basic steps in the process:
- Place cursor on the document where the signature line will be placed
- Click the Insert tab
- Choose Signature Line from the menu’s Text group
- In the field provided, type in the Suggested Signer’s name as it should be displayed
- Type in the signer’s Title and Email Address if applicable
- Select your choice of options to allow the signer to add comments and to add a signature date (applicable for digital signature)
- Press OK
The signature line now appears in your document.
Most users employ this feature for physically signed documentation.
Digital signatures are used to verify that a document’s information is true and from a trustworthy source. By using a digital signature, Word places a unique encryption algorithm on the document that can be used as an identifier of an individual while encrypting the message between sender and recipient. The digital signature is used as an authentication method when a signee is not physically present to sign a document.
Digital signatures will be discussed in greater detail later in this series.