How to Insert and Modify Diagrams in Microsoft Word 2010

  • 6/2/2010
In this chapter from Microsoft Word 2010 Step by Step, you’ll insert a diagram into a document and specify its size and position. Then you’ll change the diagram’s layout, visual style, and color theme. Finally, you’ll see how to use a diagram to arrange pictures in a document.

Chapter at a Glance


Diagrams are graphics that convey information. Business documents often include diagrams to clarify concepts, describe processes, and show hierarchical relationships. Microsoft Word 2010 comes with a powerful diagramming tool called SmartArt that you can use to create diagrams directly in your documents. By using ready-made diagram templates, you can produce sophisticated results tailored to your needs.

In this chapter, you’ll insert a diagram into a document and specify its size and position. Then you’ll change the diagram’s layout, visual style, and color theme. Finally, you’ll see how to use a diagram to arrange pictures in a document.

Creating Diagrams

When you need your document to clearly illustrate a concept such as a process, cycle, hierarchy, or relationship, the powerful SmartArt Graphics tool is available to help you create a dynamic, visually appealing diagram. By using predefined sets of sophisticated formatting, you can almost effortlessly put together any of the following diagrams:

  • List. These diagrams visually represent lists of related or independent information—for example, a list of items needed to complete a task, including pictures of the items.

  • Process. These diagrams visually describe the ordered set of steps required to complete a task—for example, the steps for getting a project approved.

  • Cycle. These diagrams represent a circular sequence of steps, tasks, or events, or the relationship of a set of steps, tasks, or events to a central, core element—for example, the looping process for continually improving a product based on customer feedback.

  • Hierarchy. These diagrams illustrate the structure of an organization or entity—for example, the top-level management structure of a company.

  • Relationship. These diagrams show convergent, divergent, overlapping, merging, or containment elements—for example, how using similar methods to organize your e-mail, calendar, and contacts can improve your productivity.

  • Matrix. These diagrams show the relationship of components to a whole—for example, the product teams in a department.

  • Pyramid. These diagrams illustrate proportional or interconnected relationships—for example, the amount of time that should ideally be spent on different phases of a project.

  • Picture. These diagrams rely on pictures instead of text to create one of the other types of diagrams—for example, a process picture diagram with photographs showing the recession of glaciers in Glacier National Park.

You select the type of diagram you want to create from the Choose A SmartArt Graphic dialog box. The categories are not mutually exclusive, meaning that some diagrams appear in more than one category.


The Choose A SmartArt Graphic dialog box.

After creating the diagram, you insert text by typing either directly in its shapes or in the associated Text pane. Depending on the diagram type, the text appears in or adjacent to its shapes.

In this exercise, you’ll create a diagram, add text, adjust its size, and specify its position in relation to the document text and page margins.

  1. Click to the left of the Gather information heading, and then on the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click the SmartArt button.


    The Choose A SmartArt Graphic dialog box opens, displaying all the available graphics.

  2. In the left pane, click each diagram category in turn to display only the available layouts of that type in the center pane.

  3. In the left pane, click Process. Then in the center pane, click each process diagram layout in turn to view an example, along with a description of what the diagram best conveys, in the right pane.

  4. When you finish exploring, click the third thumbnail in the sixth row (Vertical Process), and then click OK.

    The process diagram is inserted at the cursor, and the Design and Format contextual tabs are displayed on the ribbon.


    Three text placeholders appear in the diagram shapes and in the adjacent Text pane, where the text placeholders are formatted as a bulleted list.

    Depending on your screen resolution, you might see a description of the Vertical Process diagram at the bottom of the Text pane. If your Text pane looks like the one in our graphic, you can click Vertical Process to display the description.

  5. With the first bullet selected in the Text pane, type Gather information, and then press the Down Arrow key to move the cursor to the next placeholder.


    As you type in the Text pane, the words also appear in the corresponding shape in the diagram.

  6. Repeat step 5 for the remaining two placeholders, entering Set up team and Plan project.

  7. With the cursor at the end of the third bulleted item in the Text pane, press Enter to extend the bulleted list and add a new shape to the diagram. Then type Meet with department.

    The widths of the shapes in the diagram adjust to accommodate the length of the bullet point you just typed.


    You can add as many shapes as you need.

  8. In the Text pane, click the Close button.

  9. On the left side of the diagram frame, point to the sizing handle (the four dots), and when the pointer changes to a double-headed arrow, drag to the right past the diagram and into the white space, until the frame is approximately as wide as the shapes within the diagram.

  10. If you can’t see the diagram after you release the mouse button, scroll up in the document.

    The diagram now sits at the left margin of the document, with the Gather information heading to its right.


    The diagram is anchored to the Gather information heading and moves with it.

  11. On the Format contextual tab, in the Arrange group, click the Wrap Text button, and then in the gallery, click Square.

  12. In the Arrange group, click the Position button, and then at the bottom of the gallery, click More Layout Options.


    The Layout dialog box opens with the Position page displayed. On this page are options for controlling where the diagram appears relative to other elements of the document.


    The Position page of the Layout dialog box.

  13. In the Horizontal area, click Alignment. Then click the Alignment arrow, and in the list, click Right.

  14. In the Vertical area, click Alignment. Leave the Alignment setting as Top, and then change the relative to setting to Line.

  15. Click OK.

    Instead of sitting at the left margin with text before and after it, the diagram now sits to the right of the text, without interrupting its flow.

  16. In the lower-left corner of the diagram frame, point to the sizing handle. When the pointer changes to a diagonal double-headed arrow, drag up and to the right until the bottom of the diagram frame sits level with the last line of text in the Community Service Committee paragraph.

  17. Click a blank area of the document.

    The diagram now sits neatly to the right of the introductory text.


    You can align and size the diagram to fit your text.