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How to Make the Overlapping Part of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007, 2010 and 2013

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There are a variety of ways to break out the overlapping pieces of a Venn diagram in PowerPoint (all described below)…

…but before you dig into ANY of these tutorials, I need to ask:

Are you using SmartArt to build your Venn diagram?

If so, you first need to break your SmartArt graphic before continuing on with these tutorials…otherwise you’ll be stuck with a “fuzzy” overlapping middle piece which is not what you want.

"PowerPoint Venn Diagram Comparison for Introduction

To break your SmartArt graphic, simply ungroup it twice, CTRL+SHIFT+ G on your keyboard or rick-click the graphic with your mouse and select ungroup (learn more about ungrouping here).

If you need helping using SmartArt to build your Venn diagram (which is significantly faster than doing it manually) see our other post on how to create a Venn diagram using SmartArt.

Why even bother?

As you probably know, Venn diagrams are great for visualizing the relationship between things by highlighting the commonalities, differences and synergies among them.

For example, if you were building a slide and want to highlight that your company is overspending on marketing in ten different states, you could put your data into a Venn diagram, using the techniques we’ll cover below, to visually highlight your point as follows:

Venn Diagram - Overspending on Marketing in 10 States

With your data presented like this, it’s easy for your audience to visualize the overlap; which is why being able to break out the middle overlapping part is so important.

Scroll down to find your version of PowerPoint (the methods are radically different), or use the links above to navigate this page.

  • PowerPoint 2007

  • PowerPoint 2010

  • PowerPoint 2013 & 2016
  • Troubleshooting

Take a deep breath and relax…

creating the center piece of a Venn diagram in PowerPoint 2007 is fairly painful, as you have to use the “edit points” method as described below, and it only really works for very simple Venn diagrams.

As you increase the number of overlapping objects in your graphic, using PowerPoint 2007, the center shape becomes increasingly more difficult and time-consuming to create (if not impossible).

Think about upgrading to PowerPoint 2013 or 2016

If you frequently need to do this, I highly recommend upgrading to PowerPoint 2013 as it takes less than 30 seconds to pull off with the new fragment tool (good job Microsoft!), regardless of how complicated your graphic is.

Also, if you are using a SmartArt graphic, I still recommend breaking it before trying to pull off the center piece using this method. See trick #2 in our Four Things You Didn’t Know in PowerPoint post to see how to break SmartArt apart.

Below is both a video guide and written tutorial to get you on your way. Also, don’t miss out on the free slides below the video, enjoy!

Video Tutorial

Step by step

Step #1: Take away your shapes' fill color

Select the shapes that you want to create the center piece for, and from the Drawing Tools Format tab, select No Fill.

With the shape fills gone, you can now see exactly where we need to create the new shape for our Venn diagram.

Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

Step #2: Insert a square into the center of the graphic

From the Insert Tab on the Ribbon, select a rectangle. Then, position your mouse in the overlapping area of the Venn diagram, and click once to create a perfect square.

Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

Step #3: Rotate your square

Right-click your square and select Size and Position.

Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

Within the size and position dialog box, change the square’s rotation to 45 degrees, and then close the dialog box.

Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

Step #4: Middle align the square to one of the circles

Holding the Shift key on your keyboard, select both the square and one of the circles.

Then from the Home tab, open the arrange tool, find the alignment tool and select Align to Middle.

Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

Step #5: Distribute horizontally

Select both of your circles and the square, and from the Home tab, open the Arrange Tool, find the Alignment Tool and select Distribute Horizontally.

Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

Step #6: Select edit points

With the square now perfectly aligned in the middle of our shapes (which makes this easier), select the square again and then:

  • Select the Drawing Tools Format tab
  • Open up the Edit Shapes drop down
  • Select Convert to Freeform (and then re-select the Edit Shapes dropdown)
  • Re-Select the Edit Shapes Dropdown and this time select Edit Points
Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

Doing so, you should see a red outline around your square, signifying that you are now in Point Editing Mode.

Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

Step #7: Manually adjust the ends of the square into position

Grab the points and stretch them out to reach the top, bottom, left and right of the middle area.

Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

Note: This can only be done manually, there is no clever trick (that I know of) for doing this.

Step #8: Use the handle bars to mold the shape

Selecting one of the points, notice that there are white handle bars that appear. You can use these to adjust and warp the edges of the shape.

Using the handle bars of the right and left points, warp the edges of the square until it fits perfectly the middle area of the Venn diagram.

Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

Note: This is horribly painful to pull off, and might take a little bit of time to get right. Be patient and/or upgrade your version of PowerPoint (it’s much easier in later versions).

Step #9: Format the center part of the Venn diagram

With the new shape created, you can now color it and type text into the middle part of your Venn diagram.

Creating the Middle Piece of a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint 2007

If you enjoyed this tutorial, you’ll also enjoy how to use trigger objects with appear and disappear animations, which you can hook up to your Venn diagram to create a more interesting slide.

What's next?

Updated on December 10, 2017

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