In a previous post, “Create your own graphics and icons for PowerPoint: Part I–Using clip art,” I showed how you can ungroup line art in PowerPoint’s clip art gallery and then modify it.
But sometimes, you can’t find clip art that meets your needs and you need to create the art from scratch. If PowerPoint’s drawing tools won’t work for you, you can use other programs. The most common one would probably be Adobe Illustrator. If you don’t have that, I recommend a free, open-source program called Inkscape.
Here’s a wave shape that I created using the pen tool in Inkscape. It’s possible to draw this in PowerPoint, but sometimes Illustrator’s or Inkscape’s tools are easier to use. The Pen tool is especially useful, because you can create closed shapes with it that you can then fill in PowerPoint.
The secret is to save your drawing in WMF or EMF format. (Note: When I tried to save in WMF format in Inkscape, I got an error, but EMF was fine.) Here are the steps:
- In Inkscape, choose File> Save As and choose EMF from the Save as Type drop-down list. In Illustrator, choose File> Export and choose EMF or WMF from the Format drop-down list. For both, then name and save your drawing.
- In PowerPoint, choose Insert> Picture and open the image.
- Right-click and choose Group>Ungroup.
- Click Yes at the message asking if you want to convert the image to a Microsoft Office drawing object.
- Ungroup a second time.
- Delete the rectangle that borders the drawing. (It’s invisible, but you can see its handles when it’s selected.)
Here is the Inkscape drawing in PowerPoint.
Because it’s a vector image (line art), you can resize it without losing resolution. Here’s I’ve stretched the waves to fill up the entire width of the slide and added a slight gradient. I’ve also removed the border. As you can see, it’s easy to create custom graphics!
Try it! Let me know how it goes.