How to Create a Venn Diagram in Microsoft PowerPoint

Venn diagram on a laptop

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.

Double Venn diagram

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.

Triple Venn diagram

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.

Linear Venn diagram

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.

Stacked Venn diagram

Radial Venn diagram: includes at least three circles. The outer circles each relate to the center circle.

Radial Venn diagram

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

  1. 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.
Blank slide layout in Powerpoint
  1. Head to the “Insert” tab and select “SmartArt” in the “Illustrations” section.
SmartArt on the Insert tab in PowerPoint
  1. 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.
Venn diagram types in PowerPoint on Windows
  1. 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.
Venn diagram types in PowerPoint on Mac
  1. When your diagram appears on the slide, it’s time to get to work adding the text.
Venn diagram inserted in PowerPoint

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.

  1. Go to the “Insert” tab and select “Text Box” in the “Text” section of the ribbon.
Text Box on the Insert tab in PowerPoint
  1. Draw the text box to the size you want, but keep in mind that you can resize it later.
Inserted text box in PowerPoint
  1. Add your text inside, then drag the text box and place it next to the circle it relates to.
Added text and moved text box in PowerPoint
  1. Do the same for the remaining circles in your Venn diagram if you wish.
Inserted text box labels in PowerPoint

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.
Replaced placeholder text in PowerPoint
  • 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.
Text Pane in PowerPoint

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.

  1. Follow the steps above for adding labels to select and draw the text box.
  1. Add the text inside the box. Remember, this should include the similarities or same items for the circles that are overlapping.
Inserted an overlapping text box in PowerPoint
  1. Drag the text box to the union of the circles.
Moved an overlapping text box in PowerPoint
  1. 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.
Format a text box in PowerPoint
  1. Continue to add text boxes and move them to your other overlapping areas.
Overlapping text boxes in PowerPoint

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.

Add a circle using the ribbon in PowerPoint

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.

Add a circle using the Text Pane in PowerPoint

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.

Remove a circle in PowerPoint

Customize the Diagram Appearance

Similar to other types of diagrams in PowerPoint, you can customize the colors and style of your Venn diagram.

  1. Select the diagram and go to the “SmartArt Design” tab. Use the options in the “SmartArt Styles” section.
SmartArt Styles in the ribbon in PowerPoint
  1. Use the “Change Colors” drop-down box to change the color scheme.
Change Colors for a Venn diagram in PowerPoint
  1. Use the “SmartArt Styles” selection box to choose a different design.
SmartArt Styles for a Venn diagram in PowerPoint
  1. If you want to use a different Venn diagram type, choose another option in the “Layouts” box.
Layouts for a Venn diagram in PowerPoint

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.

  1. Right-click the diagram and select “Save as Picture.”
Save As Picture in the shortcut menu in PowerPoint
  1. Choose a location to save the file, give it a name, and select the image format in the drop-down box.
Save As Picture dialog box in PowerPoint
  1. Select “Save” and you’re set.
Save a picture from  PowerPoint

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.

Sandy Writtenhouse
Sandy Writtenhouse

With her BS in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She wanted to help others learn how technology can enrich business and personal lives and has shared her suggestions and how-tos across thousands of articles.

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