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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 - in other words, to separate a Venn diagram - 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

Need some troubleshooting between PowerPoint 2010 and 2013?

Knowing that there is a Combine Shapes tool in PowerPoint 2010 and a Merge Shapes tool in PowerPoint 2013, it’s important to keep in mind that if you add the 2013 command to your QAT, and then open PowerPoint 2010 on your computer, the command will disappear.

Why?

Because PowerPoint 2010 doesn’t recognize the 2013 command. So you’ll need to either find a version of 2013 to use, or go and add the Combine Shapes tool to your QAT.

In the opposite scenario, if you add the PowerPoint 2010 Combine Shapes tool to your QAT and then open PowerPoint 2013 on your computer, the Combine Shapes tool will remain on your QAT, but it will not have the added features of the Merge Shapes tool. So if you want the Merge Shapes tool on your QAT, you need to add it specifically using 2013.

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 October 11, 2018

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