Adaptive Lines Move with your Shapes
Today in 365 Ideas for Office 365 we are looking at what I call adaptive lines- the ability to attach lines to shapes in PowerPoint that move with those shapes. When making Thinking Maps* by hand, and trying to do it “the proper way”, we don’t draw 9 circles for our double-bubble map and then fill in the bubbles.
*Thinking Maps are a set of 8 specific graphic organizers that each depict a certain way of thinking or organizing content. The double-bubble map is for compare/contrast.
The first example is used like a traditional graphic organizer, preset, 3 similarities, 3 differences on each side.
Making a Thinking Map
We write first, then wrap the circle tight around the text (so the circle is a small as the text allows) and we create one circle at a time. This keeps it from becoming a pre-made graphic organizers that tells the students how many ideas they should have and how big those ideas can be. PowerPoint makes it easy to make digital Thinking Maps “the proper way”, with lines and arrows that connect to shapes and adjust with them as you move them around.
After making the graphic organizer above, I then modified it into the Thinking Map below. As I moved and reshaped objects, the lines moved with the shapes and maintained the connections as more content was added.
Creating Adaptive Lines
Start by making a shape. Click inside the shape and type in your content. Adjust the colors of the outline and infill of the shape as well as the color of the text so it shows up well. Then click on the shape and drag in (or out) from the corner to make it smaller (or larger)
Now choose either a line or an arrow and hover over one of your existing shapes. Notice that a bunch of colored dots appear on the edge of the shape. These are all spots that you can anchor the line or arrow to. Click on one to attach your line or arrow to this first shape. Now hover over the other shape that you want to connect to, and choose which dot to connect to. Once you have connected both ends, you have an adaptive lines that will move with the shapes it is attached to.
Now that they are connected, you can click and drag a shape around and the lines and arrows attached to that shape will responsively move around with them. This way, as you and/or your students continue adding to your organizer, either individually or collaboratively, everything adjusts for you.
PowerPoint has Smart Art that does a lot of this automatically, like in the Timeline we showcased earlier in this series. We will look at those again in more depth in a future post, but as large as the library of processes and organizers is, it doesn’t cover everything (like double-bubble maps), so this is the process for making your own anyway you like.
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