New to Microsoft Office 2007 PowerPoint, Excel and Word is the SmartArt feature which is one you’re just going to love.

To test it out add a new slide to a PowerPoint presentation, for example, and select the blank layout. From the Insert tab on the Ribbon, select SmartArt and then one of the SmartArt objects.

I like the one called Staggered Process which I’ve shown here as it makes a great display for a simple step-by-step process. Select your choice of design and then you’ll see text brackets appear on the screen. Click in them or click the double-pointing arrows at the left of the SmartArt object and type your text in the special dialog.

Once you’ve got your bullet points in – and you can add more than the default three if you need more – you have a simple step-by-step graphic. But – this is only the beginning.

There are lots of different looks for your graphic including beveled edges and 3D effects, and you can choose these from the SmartArt styles dropdown list in front of you. You can also change the colors used in the design which, of course, are based on the current document Theme colors. Change the Design Ttheme and the look of the project changes with it.

It’s about as simple as it’s ever going to be to add great looking step-by-step graphics to a PowerPoint slide. They are, seriously, way cool…

Helen Bradley