How to Map a Process in PowerPoint

By Carol Finch

Insert a process template from PowerPoint's SmartArt tools. Use this as a base to create a custom process by changing its layout and design.

PowerPoint's SmartArt templates include a number of process graphics. Insert a template to create a base for the process before customizing its layout and adding text to it. After you've created a process, customize its style, color and text.

Insert a Process

Step 1

Open the Insert tab and select SmartArt.

Step 2

Select Process and choose a template from the list.

Select Process and browse the list of templates. Select an image to see recommendations on how to use the design. Select OK to insert the process in the slide.


To switch to a new process layout, select the process to open the SmartArt Tools tabs and select the Design tab. Choose a new process from the Layouts area.

Customize the Layout

Add a Process Step

Step 1

Open the Design tab in SmartArt Tools.

Select the process to open the SmartArt Tools tabs. Select the Design tab.

Step 2

Use Add Shape to add additional steps to the process.

Go to the Create Graphic area and select Add Shape.


Keep readability in mind when you add steps to the process. Add too many extra steps and your audience may not be able to read the text on the slide.

Delete a Process Step

Select the step you want to delete and press the Delete key on your keyboard.

The template may not contain the right number of steps for your process, in which case add or delete shapes. PowerPoint automatically resizes steps when you change the layout, decreasing size when you add additional shapes and increasing size when you delete.

Add Text to the Process

Step 1

Use the arrow to open the Text Pane.

Select the process and then click the arrow to the left of its frame to open the Text Pane. This contains a list of the fields to which you can add text.

Step 2

Type text in the Text Pane.

Select the first field in the list. It corresponds to the first step in the process. Enter your text and repeat for the other fields. When you're done, select the X on the pane to close it.


If you use the Enter/Return key after entering text in a bulleted field in the Text Pane, PowerPoint inserts another step to the process; use the Tab key and it inserts a lower level bullet. To avoid this, select each text field with your mouse when you're ready to add text to it.


  • You can also add text by selecting a step in the process and typing directly into it.
  • To reorder steps after you've added text to them, click on Promote, Demote, Move Up and Move Down buttons on the Create Graphic area of the Design tab. To change the direction of the process, click the Right to Left button.

Customize the Layout

Change the Color Theme

Step 1

Open Change Colors on the Design tab.

Select the process and open the Design tab. Select the Change Colors button.

Step 2

Select a new color theme from the Change Colors menu.

Choose a new theme from the menu to apply it to the process.


To add custom colors to individual steps in the process, open the Format tab in SmartArt tools. Select a step and click Shape Fill to choose a new color or Shape Outline to add a custom border.

Change the Step Style

Step 1

Select the arrow to open SmartArt styles.

Select the process and open the Design tab. Select the down arrow in the SmartArt Styles pane.

Step 2

Choose a new style for the steps.

Choose a design from the Best Match for Document or 3-D areas to apply the style to the process.


To customize styles on individual steps, use Shape Styles and Shape Effects tools on the Format tab.

Customize Text with WordArt

Step 1

Use the down arrow on WordArt Styles to open its menu.

To apply WordArt styles to the text in all steps, select the process; to apply styles to only one step, select the step. Open the Format tab. Select the down arrow on the WordArt Styles pane.

Step 2

Select a WordArt style from the menu.

Hover your mouse over a style to see a preview on the process. Select a style to apply it.

Step 3

Change the text's fill and outline and add effects.

Select Text Fill to open its color palette; change the color of the text's fill. Select Text Outline to change its border color. To add additional effects, such as shadow, reflection and glow, select the Text Effects button.


  • To format regular text in the process, click Font tools in the Home tab.
  • You can also create a SmartArt process from existing text in a slide.
  • To add emphasis, consider animating the process after you've created it.

To change color and style from the template's defaults, use tools on the Design and Format tabs. You can also customize the process's text.