"How to Create a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint"

How to Create a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint

Creating a Venn diagram in any version of Microsoft Office (starting with 2007 and on) is extremely easy, thanks to the ever-handy SmartArt tool.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a Venn diagram in PowerPoint in just a few clicks and then break it apart so that you can customize it to your heart’s content.

I’ll then show you how you quickly break out the overlapping pieces of the diagram for even more customization!

"Create a Venn Diagram - P2S4 - Finished Graphic"

Watch the video below (or scroll down for the written tutorial) to see how to create, and then break (using PowerPoint 2013), a Venn diagram using SmartArt.

To see how to break out the overlapping pieces of your Venn diagram in PowerPoint 2007 or PowerPoint 2010, see how to break out the center piece of a Venn diagram.

Creating the Venn Diagram

Step #1: Open the SmartArt Dialog Box

Navigate to the Insert tab in your Ribbon, find the SmartArt option and click on it to open up the SmartArt dialog box. In Microsoft Excel, it’s a smaller icon which you can see on the right in the picture below.

"Create a Venn Diagram - P1S1 - Open Up the SmartArt Dialog Box"

Step #2: Find the ‘Basic Venn Diagram’ Graphic

Navigate to the Relationship tab on the left of the dialog box, scroll down to the bottom, select the Venn diagram and select OK, to insert the diagram into your presentation.

"Create a Venn Diagram - P1S2 - Find the Venn Diagram Graphic"

Step #3: Open up the Text Dialog Box

By default the diagram should start with the text dialog box on the left of the diagram open…if you don’t see it, click the little arrow on the left side of your diagram to open the text window.

"Create a Venn Diagram - P1S3 - Open the Text Dialog Box"

Step #4: Build out Your Venn Diagram

In the text dialog box on the left you can either type text or simply hit enter to add as many circles to your Venn diagram as you like (SmartArt makes this easy).

And there you have it, a nice Venn diagram is on your slide and ready to be manipulated!

Note: If you are going to continue on and break out the overlapping pieces of the Venn diagram, it’s best not to include any text in the graphic at this point, as it will wonk out when we use the Fragment Tool in a minute.

"Create a Venn Diagram - P1S4 - Build Your Venn Diagram"

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Optional Step: Format Your Venn Diagram Using the Ribbon

Before we break the Venn diagram apart in the next section, you can use the SmartArt Tools Design tab to further customize and/or format your Venn diagram. Once we break the graphic apart, these options will no longer be available to you.

"Create a Venn Diagram - P1S5 - Format Your Venn Diagram"

Breaking Out the Overlapping Pieces of the Venn Diagram

Step #1: Ungroup the SmartArt Graphic

With your SmartArt graphic selected, hit CTRL + SHIFT + G on your keyboard twice…once to break the SmartArt, and once to ungroup the circles.

The the graphic ungrouped, you are left with just three overlapping circles that have a transparency applied to them. In the picture below I’ve moved one of the circles up to prove that they are just circles (nothing fancy here).

Note: to learn other useful PowerPoint shortcuts like the ungroup shortcut, see our PowerPoint shortcuts guide. 

"Create a Venn Diagram - P2S1 - Ungroup the Venn Diagram Graphic"

Step #2: Use the Fragment Tool to Break Out the Overlapping Pieces

Important note: The Fragment Tool only exists in PowerPoint 2013. If you have an earlier version of PowerPoint, now is a good time to skip to our other post which shows you how to break out the center piece of a Venn diagram using the other versions of PowerPoint.

With the three overlapping circles selected in PowerPoint 2013, navigate to the Drawing Tools Format Tab, navigate to the Merge Shapes tool and in the dropdown, select Fragment.

"Create a Venn Diagram - P2S2A - Fragment the three circles"

Doing so the three overlapping circles break into the seven individual pieces as pictured and numbered below.

"Create a Venn Diagram - P2S2B - Fragmented Graphic"

Obviously depending on how many circles you added to your graphic will determine how many individual pieces you are left with after fragmenting the graphic.

Step #3: Remove the 50% Transparency

With the pieces all broken out, next you’ll want to remove the 50% transparency that carried over from SmartArt.

With all the pieces selected, navigate to the Drawing Tools Format tab, open up the Shape Fill dialog box and select More Fill Colors.

"Create a Venn Diagram - P2S3A - Take away the transparency"

In the dialog box that opens up, change the transparency setting in the lower right-hand corner to zero to remove the transparency and click OK.

"Create a Venn Diagram - P2S3B - Take away the transparency"

Step #4: Format the Diagram as You Want it

With the transparency removed, you can now freely format the graphic any way you like and/or type text directly into any of the pieces of the diagram (or add a text box on top of the diagram so you don’t have to mess around with the interior margins)…that’s the beauty of breaking out the overlapping pieces of a Venn diagram!

"Create a Venn Diagram - P2S4 - Finished Graphic"


To see how to create this same effect in earlier versions of PowerPoint, see our tutorial on breaking out the center piece of a Venn diagram.

Ready to learn another clever PowerPoint trick?

See our ultimate guide for adding YouTube videos into PowerPoint presentations, which covers all versions of PowerPoint, playlists, and a handy troubleshooting guide.

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  • harsha77

    Great tips for a newbie like me! Thank you

    • You’re most welcome @harsha77:disqus ! If there’s anything else you’d like us to cover in a blog post or help you out with, just let us know.
      To better slides,

  • Narupon Noppakun Saisema

    Thank you so much, this help me to make interesting maths instructional media.

  • Molly

    This is amazing

    • Thanks Molly! Hope it helps make your workday a little easier 🙂

  • You can find here some good Venn diagram examples to start with. Its not just to represent the set theory, there are creative and fun ways to do good illustrations with Venn Diagrams.

    • Thanks for sharing this Shalin! And yes, it’s a good place to get more ideas for designing your Venn diagrams. We love finding resources for when we draw a blank or just need that extra bit of inspiration!

  • Julie

    thank you for the tutorial. its really helpful !

    • So glad to hear it, Julie! Thanks for the comment and have a fabulous day!