Excel’s Smart Art

Microsoft boosted Excel’s graphic engine and increased the chart formatting options and it also added Smart Art. Smart Art includes built-in graphics that represent different types of processes.

These graphics can be useful in displaying business processes. These graphics can be formatted and have text added to them. Smart Art graphics can’t however be linked to a cell. There is a work around however that can allows you to link the graphics to a Smart Art graphic.

To insert a Smart Art graphic you click on the Insert ribbon tab and click the Smart Art icon.


The types of graphics are listed on the left. The graphics are typically coloured even though they displayed in grey in the List section. The image on the right shows what the selected graphic will look like.


Once inserted on the sheet a text entry section is shown on the left and you can update the entries and see them on the graphic.


There are lots of formatting options in terms of display and colour in the Design ribbon tab. See two image below.




Linking to a cell

If you want to link to cell content and you have finished formatting you can convert the Smart Art graphic into separate graphics that can be linked to cell as per the previous blog post. On far the right of the Design ribbon tab there is a convert to Shapes icon.


Simply click the graphic and then click in the formula bar and the press = and click on the cell to link to – see below. See this previous post for more info on linking to cells.


Note: The Smart Art graphics are also available in Word and PowerPoint.

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