Once upon a time we had to create all the diagrams for a bid document within PowerPoint – we will never do it again; this post gives some reasons why…
PowerPoint has not been designed for creating bespoke diagrams; its main aim in life is, not surprisingly, presentations. It may be tempting to ask designers to make diagrams within this tool so authors can ‘tweak’ the diagrams themselves, but we’ve found this to cause huge challenges with version control and diagram consistency. It’s much easier for a designer to tweak a diagram using their own tools of the trade, and luckily our designers are sitting with the authors till the deadline, specifically for all those last minute changes.
So that covers the inability to keep accurate version control because everyone is tweaking the same graphic for their own sections; now onto artboards and legibility.
When we start a graphic we design it to the exact size of the document it’s going in, ensuring the text doesn’t go under our set limit for legibility. However, most people forget about this when creating diagrams in PowerPoint that will eventually be used in a printed Word doc for example. The same often applies to Visio diagrams – don’t design diagrams on limitless artboard sizes because when you try to squeeze it into a document nobody will be able to read it!
Lastly I will say we won’t use it because of its horrible line tool! So many diagrams use connecting lines to show relationships or flows; a good diagram will be neat, tidy and consistent, with everything aligned and proportioned correctly. I’m afraid to say PowerPoint just can’t do it as quickly and efficiently as a design tool such as Adobe Illustrator.
So please don’t ask graphic designers to create diagrams in PowerPoint – it’s like asking a mechanic to fix your car with a plumbers tool kit; it could probably be done but will take ages, cost more and produce an unsatisfactory result!