Use this simple technique to create a colorful circle of chevrons that aren’t chevrons at all.
Circles add movement or flow to the story of your data. If that story consists of several points, you can divide the circle into pieces that resemble angle brackets. Each point adds direction to the flow – one point to the next. Microsoft PowerPoint does not provide curved chevrons that you can shape into a circle, but you can still create an image that looks like curved chevrons.
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In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use a hollow circle and chevrons to create a circle of multiple chevrons that aren’t actually chevrons at all, but fragments of a circle. I use Microsoft 365 Desktop on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use older versions of PowerPoint. PowerPoint for the web can display the visual, but you can’t create it in the browser.
How to Insert the Hollow Circle in PowerPoint
The secret to creating this simple visual is that the completed circle, shown in Image A, are not four curved chevrons, as it seems. You’ll use chevrons to make those divisions into a hollow circle. By the end, the true chevrons will be gone and the circular fragments will look like chevrons.
The first step is to insert the hollow circle:
- Click the Insert tab.
- Click Shapes in the Illustrations group.
- In the Basic Shapes section, select Circle: Hollow (Figure B).
- Click and drag in the slide to size and position the concave circle. Hold down the Shift key while dragging to create a perfect circle.
- Center the hollow circle and drag the yellow dot on the inner edge to the outer edge to decrease the circle’s width (Figure C).
The next step is to add the separators.
How to insert the chevrons in PowerPoint
We’re going to use the chevron shape to divide the circle instead of trying to make curved chevrons. This makes sense if you add one like this:
- Click the Insert tab, and then click Shapes in the Illustrations group.
- Select Arrow: Chevron in the Block Arrows section (Figure D).
- Click in the hollow circle at the top to insert the chevron. It will probably be thin as shown in Digits E.
- With the chevron selected, choose white from the Shape Fill drop-down list. It doesn’t have to be white, but in this case we want it to match the slide background.
- Adjust the size of the chevrons so that it is almost the same width as the circle (Figure F). It should overlap the edges of the circle, a bit if the shapes have an outline.
Select the angle bracket and copy it by holding down the Ctrl key and dragging three more angle brackets. Place one at the bottom of the circle and use the rotary handle to rotate it so that the tip goes in the same direction as the one at the top. Add two more chevrons, one on either side of the circles. Make sure that the points of these two angle brackets also point in the same direction, as shown in Figure G.
Use the twist handles to rotate the chevrons until they are equidistant from each other and all flow in the same direction around the circle. If you have trouble getting the positions just right, remember that you can move the shapes by pressing Ctrl + arrow key.
Now that the shapes are all in place, it’s time to use a little PowerPoint magic.
How to Fragment the Circle in PowerPoint
At this point, the chevrons don’t offer the look you might have expected, as we’re not done yet. We need to break the circle into fragments that look like chevrons. That’s where the real chevrons come in.
If you’re not sure yet about how many chevrons you want, duplicate this slide so you don’t have to recreate it later. You can always come back to it to add or remove chevrons.
Now let’s move on to fragmenting the circle:
- Press Ctrl + A to select all five shapes.
- Click the Shape Format contextual tab.
- In the Insert Shapes group, click Merge Shapes.
- From the drop-down list, choose Fragment (figure H).
As you can see in Figure I, PowerPoint only displays the outline of the shapes. If you delete the outlines before this step, you won’t see anything except the selection boxes. With all the shapes still selected, choose a color from the Shape Fill drop-down list.
Click outside the shapes to deselect them. Then click in the circle so that you can delete the center part by pressing Delete. It is a remnant of the fragmentation process. Then drag over a chevron to select it and the overlapping edges and press Delete.
As you can see in figure JI removed all four chevrons and the small pieces that overlapped the edge of the circle to remove the edge.
Be sure to select only the angle brackets. If you accidentally select and delete one of the fragmented circle pieces, press Ctrl + Z to get it back.
Now let’s add some color to the chevrons and finish the circle.
How to Finish the Snippets in PowerPoint
You could stop now, but you probably want each snippet to stand out a bit, so let’s color each one a different one. Select one of the fragmented sections, as shown in figure K. Then click the Shape Format contextual tab and choose a color from the Shape Fill drop-down list. Repeat this step to change the color of the remaining clips.
As you can see in figure K, one of the fragments is still blue. The colored fragments now look like curved chevrons, but as you know they are not chevrons at all.
There are several things you can do at this point to adjust the “chevron” circle:
- You can remove the borders or change their color.
- You can widen the white sections, but you’ll need to return to the double slide to do this.
- You can also add or remove chevrons by adding or removing real chevrons, but you’ll need to return to the duplicate slide.
Once the circle is the way you want it, I suggest you group it. That way you can work with it as one piece instead of four. Press Ctrl + A to select all four fragments. Click the Shape Format contextual tab, then choose Group Objects from the Arrange drop-down list in the Drawing group.
Now you’re ready to add text, icons, or whatever you want to any “chevron” to tell your story.