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How to Make a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint (Step-by-Step)

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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!

Venn diagram with the overlapping pieces broken out so you can format them

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 our guide here.

For help building other kinds of data visualizations in PowerPoint, see our guide here.

[Watch] How to make a Venn Diagram Tutorial

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.

From the insert tab, click the SmartArt command

Step #2: Find the Basic Venn Diagram template 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.

In the Choose SmartArt graphic dialog box, navigate to the relationship category and select the Venn diagram

Step #3: Open the text dialog box

By default your Venn 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.

Lick the arrow next to your SmartArt graphic to open up the type your text here input box

Step #4: Add your Venn diagram text

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).

Using the SmartArt template you can quickly create a 3 part, 4 part of even 10 part Venn diagram in just a couple of minutes.

Venn Diagram Tip: 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.

Example of a 3 circle venn diagram template and a 4 circle venn diagram template

Optional: 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.

From the SmartArt Design tab, open the change colors drop down to recolor 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).

To see how to use the group and ungroup shortcuts in PowerPoint (plus some hidden tricks), see top PowerPoint shortcuts #5 and #6 below.

Note: To see some of our other favorite PowerPoint shortcuts, see our guide here.

"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 and later (including the Office 365 subscription). If you have an earlier version of PowerPoint, now is a good time to skip to our other post to see how to do it here.

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.

From the drawing tools format tab, open the Merge shapes drop down and select Fragment

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

Example of an overlapping venn diagram fragmented out into 7 individual pieces

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.

Format the pieces of your graphic using the shape fill drop down from the Drawing Tools Format tab

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.

Use the transparency slider in the Colors dialog box to remove any transparency from your graphic

Step #4: Format and customize your Venn diagram to meet your needs

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!

Example of the individual pieces of a venn diagram formatted after breaking it apart in PowerPoint.

Conclusion

So that's how to create a Venn diagram in PowerPoint, and how to use the new fragment tool to break the overlapping pieces apart so that you can format them anyway you like.

As you can see, the new SmartArt features and Merge Shapes tools make creating these types of graphics extremely easy (and why it's worth upgrading to the latest version of PowerPoint).

To learn more about our online training courses and other free tutorials, check us out here.

What's next?

Updated on May 28, 2019

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