How to Make Infographics with Powerpoint

When you first hear the word “infographic,” your immediate thought is unlikely to be “PowerPoint.” In fact, many people are completely unaware you can create great infographics with powerpoint. And yet, it’s an incredibly useful tool that comes with fully customizable options and does not carry any expense, as it’s a program most people have. There’s no need to get (or to learn!) Photoshop, nor subscribe to any of the infographic-creating software options that tend to come with a hefty price tag.

Many content creators avoid infographics for this very reason: They tend to be time-consuming, frustrating, or expensive to create. Another option is to outsource your infographics to professionals and let them do the creating for you. But if you’re looking for a great DIY option, PowerPoint provides a surprising and highly effective option that will allow you to create quality, original infographics to complement your content marketing strategy.

Why Should You Use Infographics?

Infographics have many large benefits, as they allow you to present your information in a user-friendly manner that’s effective and succinct. Whatever your topic, it’s possible to present it in the form of an infographic. In fact, providing an infographic is a brilliant way of conveying it in the easiest way possible. Infographics are more readily shared than written content alone tends to be, and they do incredibly well on image-based social media platforms such as Pinterest.

The statistics on visual content are impressive. Eighty percent of text-based content is forgotten as soon as it’s read, while infographics are read 30 times more than the same information in text format. You’ll also enjoy a 12 percent boost in traffic after publishing an infographic. Sixty-five percent of people are wired to learn visually. Add to this the fact that it will do wonders for your SEO by providing multimedia content, then there are loads of great reasons to make infographics.

How to Make Infographics with PowerPoint

Creating infographics in PowerPoint is surprisingly simple. The only limit is your patience and imagination. Even the more advanced techniques are straightforward, and there are many premade and easily customizable elements to get you started. We’ve put together a super simple, eight-step guide to making infographics using PowerPoint.

Before we dive in, note that exactly how you change settings and use certain controls may vary slightly depending on your version of PowerPoint. This example was created in PowerPoint 2013.

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Step 1: Create A Portrait Slide

Begin with a blank presentation and a new slide. The default in PowerPoint is for landscape slides. You will need to change this. Navigate to the Design tab and click “Slide Size” followed by “Custom Slide Size.” This will cause a dialogue box to appear. Change the orientation of your slide to “Portrait” and add custom measurements:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

It’s recommended you make the image 6 inches wide by 14 inches tall to get started. However, remember that different platforms have different size requirements, so consider where you want to share your infographic when deciding on the size.

Step 2: Format the Background for Your Infographic

Next, you will want to give your infographic an interesting background. There are a few ways to do this. The simplest way is to select an attractive theme from the Design tab, allowing PowerPoint to set your background and the complementary colors for you:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

The other way to do it is manually by navigating to the “Format Background” option on the far right of the Design tab. Clicking this option will display a dialogue box that gives you a few different options, including setting a background image from an uploaded file of your choice and creating gradient options:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

You can combine these two functions by setting a theme that will automatically ensure your fonts and colors are complementary and then adding a custom image to the background.

Step 3: Edit Your Title and Subheading

The slide will default to a standard format, including title and subtitle elements. You can edit the text in each and move them to the area of the infographic you want them in. Putting them at the top is usually a good idea, but you might want to play around with your designs and see what looks best:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Step 4: Add New Elements Using SmartArt

Before we get into more complex functions, let’s run through using SmartArt to insert responsive elements. There are many ways to add custom shapes, charts, and vector graphics when creating infographics with PowerPoint. However, the SmartArt application provides an easy way of adding a wide range of items that looks amazing and is effortless to create:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Go to the insert tab and select “SmartArt”; then choose the type of element you would like to include. You can play around and have fun, as there are many options. It’s fully possible to create everything else needed for a truly dynamic infographic using nothing but SmartArt. Pick one to start with and click “OK”:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

You can also select the design variation you prefer from the options displayed at the top of your screen:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Click on your graphic to edit the text elements and add your original content:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Finally, select the color you would like to use from the “Change Color” option. If you selected a theme when choosing your background, your elements will all default to theme colors. If not, you will need to choose them manually, and you can tweak colors even if you have a theme in use:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Step 5: Create Unique Elements Using Shapes and Text Boxes

While the SmartArt options are extensive, you may also find there are certain things you want to create that don’t have a preset option that will work. To do this, you can combine shapes with text boxes to create completely unique features for your infographic. Go to the Insert tab and select “Shapes.” Then choose from the wide range of shapes on offer:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Once your shape has been inserted, use the options that appear at the top to choose your color. You can use one of the preset options or the “Shape Fill” and “Shape Outline” options to select custom colors. You can also use the “Shape Effects” function to make your shape a little more dynamic:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Once you have your shape looking exactly as you want it, add a text box by going to the Insert tab and choosing “Text Box.” You can add multiple text boxes and tweak the fonts, sizes, and colors, and then move them around so they are arranged as you want them over your shape.:

 

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

When you’re happy with how all your text boxes and shapes look together, select every part of the new element you have created, including the shape and all your text boxes, by clicking on each in turn while holding shift (the control may be slightly different, depending on the computer or device you’re using!). You should end up with all aspects of your unique element selected. When you’re sure you have selected every aspect, right click over the selected elements; then click “Group” and select “Group” again:

 

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

This will link all aspects of your newly created element together. Now when you click on it, you will find it is selected as if it were a single element rather than several. This is especially useful because you can then move it around easily without losing your alignments.

If you need to duplicate your new element, simply select it once it’s been grouped, copy and paste it, and then tweak the text and colors so you have matching unique elements:

 

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Step 6: Add Original Images to Create Complex Elements

Another great way to ensure your infographics are completely unique to your brand is to add original images. You might use photographs (particularly if you have brand photographs), or choose relevant icons or graphics. Whatever you use, it’s a good idea to add images to your elements to make your infographic as visual and engaging as possible. There are two ways to do this:

You can use the Insert tab to add an image as you have added shapes and text boxes and combine your images with both in exactly the same manner we used in step 5. The easier way, however, is to take advantage of SmartArt elements that include images. Go back to the SmartArt function and insert a new element that includes images; edit it, as we did in step 4; and then click on any of the empty image icons:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

A dialogue box will appear, giving you various options for choosing a source for your image. Find the file you want to use and insert it. Repeat this as many times as necessary to replace all empty images with custom images. This will help you create dynamic elements for your infographic:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Step 7: Optimize the Layout of All Your Elements

Continue adding elements to your infographic until you have all the information on it that you want and everything is formatted to your liking in terms of images, fonts, and colors. Once you have everything on your infographic, play around with the layout until everything is presented in the most logical and visually pleasing way. You may find there are elements you have inserted using SmartArt that work better if you move around their various aspects. This is useful for making them a little more unique and also for fitting things in:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Remember, one of the benefits of creating infographics with PowerPoint is that you can always return to “Custom Slide Size” in the Design tab to change the dimensions of your infographic if you find you have too much or too little space.

Step 8: Save Your Infographic

Once you’re happy with your infographic, go to “File,” click “Save As,” and select the file type you’d like your infographic to be in. PowerPoint will default to saving it as a presentation, but you can select various different file types from the dropdown list. You can publish your infographic to a PDF; however, your file will be more versatile in JPG or PNG format. There’s no reason you can’t save it in multiple formats, so you have different versions for platforms that have different requirements.

When you click “Save,” PowerPoint will ask if you want to save the whole presentation or just the one slide. Select the slide.

The end result is an image file that looks great and can be uploaded anywhere:

infographics with powerpoint

Original graphic courtesy of Hazel Butler for CopyPress

Design for Value and Impact

Remember, there’s more to creating an infographic than using the tools needed to create the visual. Like any piece of content, your infographic should be designed for maximum value and impact. The one created for this post is simple, so as to show you how to create the basic elements. However, there are no limits to the infographics you can create once you’ve learned how to do them.

Plan your infographic carefully. Think of a catchy, attention-grabbing headline, and follow it up with a compelling subheading. Arrange your information so it flows and has a clear narrative, even if only to the extent that facts and text are laid out in the most logical order. Use original design elements, such as your logo and brand photographs, and customize every aspect of your infographic so it aligns with your brand colors, fonts, and the general look and feel.

Finally, make sure you take full advantage of your new infographic. Infographics do particularly well on Pinterest, so if you haven’t already installed a “Pin It” button on your website, it may be a smart idea to do so. Continue to promote your infographic by writing a blog post to accompany it, share your infographic on social media, and make sure your readers can easily share it, too.