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Make a Customisable Venn Diagram in PowerPoint

..and it uses one of my favourite hidden features in PowerPoint!

Microsoft Office has a huge array of graph and chart options all powered by a recently overhauled charting engine. But as with all software, not everything is included. And there are people like me who have noticed there is no easy chart, SmartArt or shape that easily and quickly builds a Venn Diagram. But in there is one of my favourite hidden features – ‘Merge Shapes’.

Once upon a time grouping shapes and elements was the best we could do. But merging allows us to combine shapes in several ways and one of the results is a Venn Diagram that you can move, resize and colour however you like. Here’s how:

Step One:

Get yourself a circle. This is (hopefully obviously) one side of what will be a simple, two circle Venn.

Step Two:

Duplicate your circle then overlap them as much as you need.

Step Three:

Select both of the circles and head up to the ‘Format’ tab and look for the ‘Merge Shapes’ dropdown. From those few options, we’re going to select ‘Fragment’.

This will cut the circles where they overlap giving three individual shapes. The formatting will be merged as default (see right). None of these are shapes you could simply add from the ‘Insert’ tab, they’re custom made by and for you!

Step Four:

Just a couple of clicks to resize and recolour and I have myself a professional looking Venn diagram. From here your imagination and design can take over for whatever effect you need.

Endless way to use ‘Merge Shapes’

Combining two circles is pretty simple, but super useful when there is no other way. Go ahead and fiddle around with what the other Merge modes will do. Try it with a three circle Venn. Or you can create some pretty complex icons and images if you visualise your ideas in simple shapes.

Happy merging!

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