Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Creating Visual Impact with an Animated Gauge Graphic—Guest Post

Guest blogger Taylor Croonquist demonstrates how to use a gauge graphic from Get My Graphic to add visual impact to your presentations. Taylor is the shortcut and productivity guru and co-owner of Nuts & Bolts Speed Training for PowerPoint. Through webinars and online courses, Taylor teaches business professionals how to excel at PowerPoint. His popular YouTube channel and blog provide quick tips for creating slides that will impress your audience and PowerPoint shortcuts so you can make it to Happy Hour. Taylor has taken our Get My Graphic visuals to the next level and created interesting effects that I never realized were possible. 


You probably already know that one of the secret sauces of successful presentations is creating strong visual imagery to support your message.

That said, it’s often A LOT easier said than done!

In the below tutorial, I’ll show you how to add visual impact to any set of slides dealing with risk, uncertainty or other index related information, by tying in an animated gauge graphic.

Creating Visual Impact 

To add visual impact to the below presentation on the AQI pollution index, I added the animated gauge graphic (color coded to the pollution index), to show the varying levels of pollution.

 To keep a consistent theme across all six slides, I used a set nature scene that I made greyer and greyer (smoggier and smoggier) to represent the rising levels of pollution using a grey transparent rectangle.

And if you find it hard to believe that pollution can be so bad, below is a picture of a city that went broke the pollution index … so I’m not just making this up.

To see how to pull this animated gauge graphic off, watch the video below or scroll down the page to read the written tutorial.

Click here to download the graphic + slides for FREE ... a $15+ value!


Part #1 – Preparing Your Objects 

Strategy note, we want to set up our formatting once and then reuse it across all of our gauge graphics.

Step #1: Get or Build Your Gauge Graphic 

For my gauge graphic, I’ve simply downloaded the PowerPoint Gauge Graphic from www.GetMyGraphic.com, you can use the same graphic, something similar or create your own using PowerPoint objects.

The trick here is that you want different heights representing the different levels that you are working with plus a starting point for your gauge graphic to rise from.

For my pollution index table, I need six colors plus a starting point, so the Get My Graphic gauge is perfect as it has seven gauges in total plus the thermometer to house the gauges in (a bonus!).

Step #2: Set Your Gradient Colors 

Once you have your gauges, you’ll want to tie their colors back to the actual index you are using with gradients.

First select your shapes and ungroup them (CTRL + SHIFT + G) if necessary. Select your gauge, navigate to the Drawing Tools Format Tab, select Shape Fill, Select Gradient and Select More Gradients.

Step #3: Add Your Gradient Stops 

Within the dialog box you want to add one more gradient stop than you have gauges to work with. This will ensure that you have a solid color for your gauges to start from. In this case, I need seven gradients stops in total.

To tie your gradients to your index, in PowerPoint 2013 you can use the Eyedropper tool. If you don’t have PowerPoint 2013 you can download a free add-in like color cop to get this additional functionality.

You can play around with the gradient color stops to fit your own presentation.

Step #4: Format Paint your Color Stops 

With your first gauge formatted and set, you’ll then want to format paint you’re formatting onto your other objects.

To do that, select your formatted gauge, navigate to the Home tab, double-click the format painter (to lock it), and then apply that formatting to all of your other gauges (again, you might need to ungroup your objects first), and then hit ESC.

With the formatting set, you then want remove the gradients from the smaller gauges so that each gauge fits the level of your index that it is supposed to represent.

To do that, simply navigate back to the gradients dialog box (see above) and remove the gradients as necessary.

You can see a before and after of the gauges I set up for this tutorial.

Step #5: Center Align Your Gauges 

Before you add the gauges to your presentation, you want to center align them so they are all stacked up, one on top of the other.

To do that, simply select all of your gauges and from the Arrange Tool, select the Alignment tool and select Center Alignment.

Doing so the objects should all stack in the correct order, with the tallest gauge in the background.

If your objects don’t stack up perfectly, you can rearrange them by selecting the individual pieces and using the Bring Forward and Send Backward commands in the Ribbon.


Part #2: Placing your Graphics 

Strategy note, we want to set the alignment and position once (on our first slide) and then reuse its position through the rest of the presentation.

Step #1: Paste and Position the Gauge 

Selecting all of the gauges that are stacked up on top of each other, hit CTRL + C to Copy them, flip over to your presentation and then CTRL + V to paste into your presentation.

You then want to position the gauges on your slide. I’ve stacked mine in the upper left-hand corner of the slide.

Once set on the first slide, CTRL + C to copy the gauges again and then flip through your slides (hit Page Down on your keyboard) and CTRL + V to paste them onto each individual slide.

Doing so ensures that the graphic is in the correct position on each and every slide within your presentation.

Step #2: Remove the Gauges 

With ALL of the gauges on each and every slide, now cycle your slides and delete the gauges that are not relevant to that slide. You can see in the pictures below, I’ve cycled through my presentation and removed all but the gradient that is associated with that specific slide.

Note, on each of the slides I left that bottom green gauge (the seventh color I talked about above) so that when we animate the gauge in the next step, the gauge will always grow from the initial green color at the bottom of the gauge.


Part #3: Animating Your Gradients 

Strategy note (again) … once we set the animation up once, we will again reuse that same animation by copying and pasting it onto our other gauges.

Step #1: Set the First Animation 

On the very first slide, select your gauge and then from the Animations tab add a wipe effect animation. With the animation set, you can then adjust it on the Animations tab, I will set it to Start ‘With Previous’ and change the duration to 1 second.

You can play around with these to fit whatever effect you are going for.

Step #2: Copy and Paste the Animation 

With the animation set and the animated object selected, double-click the Animations Painter (to lock it), and then cycle through your presentation and apply that same animation to the gauge on each slide.


Part #4: Finish Off Your Graphic 

Step #1: Add Back the Gauge Casing 

Once everything is animated and ready to go, as a last step you’ll want to add back the casing for your gauge (if you have one). Doing so will give the entire graphic and animation a more realistic effect.

Simply copy and paste it onto your first slide and set its position once. With its position set, again CTRL + C to copy the casing and cycle through your slides and CRL + V to paste them onto each respective slide.

With the gauges all set up, if you run your presentation in slide show mode, the thermometer will fill up as you move from one slide to the next, adding an additional layer of visual information for you to make your point.

Step #2: Run Your Presentation 

With the casing added, if you now run your presentation, the gauge graphic should fill up as you get to each new slide within your presentation.

Click here to download the graphic + slides for FREE ... a $15+ value!

Want to Learn Another Vector Graphic Trick? 

See how to extend a zipper graphic using a variety of PowerPoint shortcuts and techniques. These techniques will help you get more bang for your buck out of your vector graphics.

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