How to create to graphic with smartart in microsoft excel? Step by step guide

One of the computer programs developed by Microsoft most used in the office environment, without a doubt, is Excel . Which, stands out from the rest, by facilitating work with multiple numerical data to analyze and generate reports through tools such as dynamic tables and graphs .

In this regard, one of the illustrations most frequently used spreadsheets of Excel, are the graphics SmartArt that provide the ability to perform a visual representation of any flow of information, quickly and simply. Therefore, they stand out for being ideal elements to transmit your messages or ideas efficiently using Excel .

However, many users do not know how to handle these types of graphs, that is, to create and select them correctly, according to the type of data they want to present . Therefore, through this post, we will teach you how to make a quality graphic with SmartArt in Microsoft Excel .

What is a SmartArt in Excel and what is it for in our documents?

Basically, a SmartArt element in Excel is defined as a visual representation that allows to show, in an attractive way, any idea, concept or information . Therefore, they are illustrations that are designed to add text or numbers, in order to present any kind of data .

Therefore, through a SmartArt graphic an attempt is made to convey the information in a dynamic and easy-to-understand way . Therefore, they are elements that contribute to the communication of the message being better understood by users .

Now, beyond this, Excel SmartArt graphics are used for a remarkable number of actions that can be carried out from said Microsoft program .

So, in order for you to know how to differentiate and choose them correctly, here are the main uses of SmartArt in the spreadsheet:

  • Create an organization chart .
  • List any amount of data .
  • Show the steps, phases, or stages of a process or workflow.
  • Present the flow of a process, procedure or other event of this type .
  • Exhibit a hierarchy. Like, for example, a decision tree .
  • Make an illustration in a matrix form .
  • Represent type information cyclic or repetitive .
  • Express a relationship between several parts, as overlapping concepts .
  • Organize an illustration, very quickly, by typing or pasting the text to make it automatically place and set .
  • Reveal proportional or hierarchical information in a pyramid illustration .

What are all the types of SmartArt that we can use in Excel?

Now, since SmartArt graphics in Microsoft Excel allow you to display or expose a great variety of information, of course there are several types of them that must be selected depending on the data that is going to be presented .

Therefore, in order for you to show the data you want in these visual elements correctly, below, we will introduce you to each of the types that exist in order to discern their main utilities:


Simply put, it refers to a graphic that uses a list layout and therefore keeps the idea of ​​the listing vertically . Therefore, they are ideal for grouping all interconnected information that does not follow a process sequentially .

Now, most of these types of graphics separate the general concepts from the details or secondary ideas. Whereas, the main points of the elements are the ones that will gain greater visibility and impact . In addition, they allow adding image shapes to accentuate the information through drawings or illustrations .


This is a type of SmartArt graphic that features repeating shapes and a long winding arrow through which each step can be connected . Thus, they are elements that have a directional flow and thanks to that, they are used to represent the stages of a process or a sequence of steps, unlike List- type graphics .

In general, these types of illustrations are used to show the evolution of a specific procedure, as well as to explain each of its phases or stages in order to reach a final result . Taking into account that, depending on the process to be exhibited, you can choose between more than 30 subtypes .


From this kind of design, a circular, cyclical or repetitive process can be illustrated, as the name implies . Consequently, SmartArt graphics type cycle are used to communicate data, ideas or concepts sequential renewed at the end of the last phase .

Thus, for example, they are illustrations that can be used to show the life cycles of animals or products, present an ongoing process, explain the learning phases, demonstrate the cycle of goal setting each year, teach the performance review of a employed in a business environment, etc.


They are those illustrations that simplify the presentation of information in a hierarchical way . In other words, they allow showing the order of the elements according to their value and according to typology or category criteria that allow the development of a classification system. Therefore, they are used to make the organization chart of a company or show decision trees, for example.

Now, it should be noted that there are several subtypes of hierarchy SmartArt elements in Excel and among them, the most used are the following:

  • Architecture design
  • List of hierarchies
  • Horizontal hierarchy
  • Organization chart with semicircles
  • Hierarchy with circled images
  • Tagged hierarchy


By means of this type of graphs, it is possible to show non-progressive and non-hierarchical relationships between the parts of a whole .

Which means that they are elements with which the links between two or more sets of things can be represented, as well as exhibiting conceptual relationships. Therefore, all the information is shown in an interconnected way .

On the other hand, depending on the exposure of the information, there is the possibility of choosing several subtypes of Relationship SmartArt and one of the most representative of all is Venn diagrams . Which are responsible for showing how the concepts overlap and come together in a central intersection, in order to establish a link.


They are defined as a type of two-dimensional graph that, in general, allows classifications between the exposed data .

Which means that they show the relationship between the components of a whole and manage to symbolize totally complex links, by means of axes . Thus, they are used to display the tie of various parts to a central concept.

In this sense, it is pointed out that this kind of illustrations available in Excel are ideal for expressing a large amount of text in the document, in a simple and summarized way, through four key points . In addition, outside the quadrants and representative axes of the Matrix charts , it is possible to include labels outside the axes, to better explain the ideas.


These are also called “pyramidal type designs” and are characterized by allowing the exposition of equal, basic or hierarchical relationships or processes in an ascending way . Therefore, they are illustrations that grow or are built from the bottom up, usually .

In this way, they are useful to explain concepts or ideas that have a certain relationship in an ascending way, only and exclusively. Thus, it is possible to convey conceptual information in an effective and easy-to-understand way, as well as being visual representations that offer a large space to add text of interest .


In most cases, this kind of SmartArt illustrations are used to convey a message with or without explanatory text, based on displaying images that allow the reader’s attention to be visually captured, more than anything else . Thanks to that, they are also graphics used to complement the explanation of a list or a process.

Now, with respect to its main characteristics, we highlight that these graphics allow to show a central photographic idea with related ideas, so that all the information is based on the image presented.

They also work to display illustrations with various levels of text, represent a series of images from top to bottom, put together a group of images with related information, and so on.

Learn step-by-step to create professional-level graphics with SmartArt in Microsoft Excel

With all this, watching you that different kinds of illustrations that are inside the elements SmartArt in Microsoft Excel, are useful to expose any information in an easy, fast and interactive way, regardless of the types of data they are. Which, in addition to that, will allow you to enrich your documents .

However, to know how to handle them correctly within the spreadsheet program, it is essential to know each of the steps to follow, in detail .

Therefore, here we will teach you how to show your ideas or concepts in Excel through a SmartArt graphic, creating them simply as follows:

  • To begin, you have to open a new spreadsheet in the Microsoft program or, failing that, enter the document in which you want to add this type of graph .
  • Second, locate the area of ​​the document where you want to insert the SmartArt and click there . For later, directly from the options bar at the top of the software, select the “Insert” tab .
  • Once you are in that tab, locate the group called Illustrations. From there, click on the “SmartArt” option .

  • After the above, you will automatically see a dialog box on the screen, in which all the types of SmartArt mentioned in the previous part of the post can be found. At that point, click on the one you want to include and thus proceed to select the indicated subtype to click on “OK” .

  • Subsequently, the graph will be displayed in your spreadsheet and from then on, you can start entering the text to display in the illustration in question .
  • To do this, you have two options, (1) Clicking on “[Text]” to write there or (2) Copying the text from another program, to press on “[Text]” in the panel and paste it using the mouse or with the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + V” .
  • Additionally, you can customize your SmartArt graphic from the “SmartArt Tools> Design” tab at the top of the main window. Whether to add shapes or bullets, change colors, designs or styles, and reset the graphic .

  • In addition, directly from the “SmartArt Tools> Format” tab, you will be able to customize the shapes, add fill, outline and effects to the shapes and text, modify the size of the words, adjust them, align them, change their position, etc.

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