If you need a diagram that shows relationships with similarities and differences, a Venn diagram would serve you well. You can easily create a Venn diagram in Microsoft PowerPoint and customize its appearance.
What Is a Venn Diagram?
A Venn diagram is a chart that uses overlapping circles to illustrate relationships. The items in the circles show the differences between them, while the overlapping areas of the circles show the similarities.
While widely used in mathematics, statistics, and computer science, you can use a Venn diagram in industries like marketing, education, and business. You can even use it for personal items, like house hunting, job searching, and vacation destinations.
Types of Venn Diagrams
There are four common Venn diagram types, each serving a specific purpose. You can choose whichever type works best for your data.
Basic Venn diagram: uses at least two circles. You can use this type for most any kind of relationship between items, making it the most common.
Linear Venn diagram: normally contains at least three circles in a row. You can use this type to show relationships in a sequence or series.
Stacked Venn diagram: normally uses at least three circles. You can use this type to show relationships where each outer circle contains the one(s) inside.
Radial Venn diagram: includes at least three circles. The outer circles each relate to the center circle.
Now that you know the types of Venn diagrams available, let’s look at how to make one in Microsoft PowerPoint.
Creating a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint
If you’re ready to create your Venn diagram, you can use the built-in SmartArt feature in Microsoft PowerPoint, allowing you to make your diagram in just minutes. It works differently than PowerPoint’s chart feature.
Insert the Diagram
- Go to the slide where you want the diagram or insert a new slide. We are using the “Blank” slide layout to keep the diagram as the main focus.
- Head to the “Insert” tab and select “SmartArt” in the “Illustrations” section.
- On Windows, you’ll see the SmartArt window open, allowing you to choose your diagram. Select “Relationship” on the left and choose one of the four Venn diagrams.
- On Mac, you’ll see a drop-down menu when you click “SmartArt” in the ribbon. Move to “Relationship” and choose the Venn diagram from the pop-out menu.
- When your diagram appears on the slide, it’s time to get to work adding the text.
Label the Circles (Optional)
You’ll see many Venn diagrams with labels outside the circles. Depending on the items you’re placing inside the circles, as well as the diagram’s purpose, you may want to include labels.
- Go to the “Insert” tab and select “Text Box” in the “Text” section of the ribbon.
- Draw the text box to the size you want, but keep in mind that you can resize it later.
- Add your text inside, then drag the text box and place it next to the circle it relates to.
- Do the same for the remaining circles in your Venn diagram if you wish.
Enter the Circle Text
You have two ways to enter text in your diagram’s circles.
- In the first method, select the text placeholder inside each circle to add your own text.
- In the second method, use the text pane. Click the arrow on the left side of the diagram to open the pane and enter your text.
Insert the Overlapping Text
After you insert the items in the circles, you can add the text to the overlapping areas. Unfortunately, you cannot currently do this manually or with the Text Pane. You’ll need to insert text boxes and move them to the spots you need.
- Follow the steps above for adding labels to select and draw the text box.
- Add the text inside the box. Remember, this should include the similarities or same items for the circles that are overlapping.
- Drag the text box to the union of the circles.
- If necessary, drag an edge or corner to resize the text box. You can also select the text inside to highlight it and use the options in the floating toolbar (Windows only) or “Font” group on the “Home” tab to format it.
- Continue to add text boxes and move them to your other overlapping areas.
Add or Remove Circles
It’s easy to add more circles to your Venn diagram or remove one.
Add a Circle
To add a circle, go to the “SmartArt Design” tab and use the “Add Shape” drop-down menu to insert another circle.
Alternatively, use the Text Pane. Press Enter or Return after the last item. This inserts a new line of text and another circle at the same time.
Remove a Circle
To remove a circle, select it within the diagram and press the Delete key. Alternatively, use the Text Pane for this as well. Use the Delete or Backspace key to remove a line item, which will also remove its circle.
Customize the Diagram Appearance
Similar to other types of diagrams in PowerPoint, you can customize the colors and style of your Venn diagram.
- Select the diagram and go to the “SmartArt Design” tab. Use the options in the “SmartArt Styles” section.
- Use the “Change Colors” drop-down box to change the color scheme.
- Use the “SmartArt Styles” selection box to choose a different design.
- If you want to use a different Venn diagram type, choose another option in the “Layouts” box.
How to Save a Venn Diagram as an Image
If you want to hold on to your diagram to use it elsewhere, save it outside of your PowerPoint slideshow.
Important: the text boxes you add won’t be included in the image, as they aren’t technically part of the SmartArt graphic.
- Right-click the diagram and select “Save as Picture.”
- Choose a location to save the file, give it a name, and select the image format in the drop-down box.
- Select “Save” and you’re set.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use different shapes for a Venn diagram?
While circles are the main shapes used in Venn diagrams, there’s no reason you can’t select a different shape. Just make sure that the shapes overlap for those similarities.
In PowerPoint, you’ll need to transform the SmartArt design to a set of shapes to change them. Select the diagram, go to the “SmartArt Design” tab, and choose “Convert -> Convert to Shapes.” Then, select a shape, go to the “Shape Format” tab, and open the “Edit Shape” drop-down menu. Move to “Change Shape” and choose a new one in the pop-out menu.
Can I convert text to a Venn diagram in PowerPoint?
This is doable if you have a list of items that you want to turn into a Venn diagram and saves you from starting from scratch.
Select your items, go to the “Home” tab, and click the “Convert to SmartArt Graphic” button in the “Paragraph” group. Choose the Basic Venn diagram from the pop-out menu or select “More SmartArt Graphics” (Windows only) for a different diagram type.
Can I create a Venn diagram in Microsoft Word?
With the SmartArt feature also available in Microsoft Word, you can create a Venn diagram in that application via the same process.
Start by going to the “Insert” tab and selecting “SmartArt” in the Illustrations section of the ribbon to choose your Venn diagram type.
Also look at online diagramming software for more options.
Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Sandy Writtenhouse.
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