The Dos and Don’ts of WordArt

Most of you who have explored PowerPoint have probably stumbled across a tool found on the Drawing Toolbar called WordArt.

Many who have discovered this tool have used it to create things like this:




Using WordArt with styles right out of the WordArt gallery is the same as using clip art. A practice we don't encourage. But, this tool has a lot of possibilities if you take it a step or two further.

Here are a couple of slides that use WordArt tastefully:


Example 1


Example 2

The great thing about using WordArt in your presentation is how flexible it is and how creative you can be with it. Let me explain further.

The first example above used an unusual font. This isn't a font we would choose as the main font through the presentation, it could be hard to read. But with WordArt, most of the time we're using it to make a few words "pop." If that's the case, it's ok to go outside the norm of common fonts and use something a bit more unusual. Now any of you who have used a font in your presentation that isn't one of PowerPoint's common fonts know this can be dangerous. Because the minute you move your presentation to a different computer (that likely doesn't have the font you've used) your presentation can become a mess. The same is true with WordArt, unless you take it one step further to preserve it as art.

To preserve your WordArt as art, follow these steps. Once you've got your WordArt looking the way you want it, simply right-click on it and choose "Save as Picture." (Warning, this won't work in older versions of PowerPoint.) Choose .png as your file type (to retain a transparent background). Now you can import this saved version of the art onto your slide and delete the original WordArt. Another option is to right-click on the WordArt, choose copy, then click Edit, Paste Special and choose Picture (PNG). Again, you can delete the original WordArt off your slide. Although often I will save the original WordArt on a spare slide in my presentation because there are usually a couple more times I will use that style of WordArt in my presentation. If I save the original, I just have to change the text and don't have to recreate the whole thing.

The other thing I often add to my WordArt is a nice semi-transparent shadow. I encourage you to do so to add additional depth to the art. Experiment with shadow settings other than the default. Or do something even trickier. The shadow in Example 2 above is really a copy of the original WordArt made a bit bigger and then filled with darker fill colors than the original to make it look like a faint shadow behind it! Look at the many options for shadows before you just settle for the default.

WordArt lets you add interesting fills to it. You can make up your own two-color gradients, or use some of PowerPoint's preset gradients (a word of caution here though, many of the preset gradients can look rather "cheesy" as demonstrated at the beginning of this article). If you want to get really creative, you can turn a background into a picture (simply by right-clicking on the background and choosing Save Background and turning the background into an art file like a .jpg) then you can fill your WordArt with a "picture" (the background you just saved). See Example 3 for a demonstration of that effect.


Example 3

So overall, we think WordArt is a great and simple tool to add some creative elements to your slides, you just need to take it beyond the basics.

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