PowerPoint Art: How To Create A 3-D Circle To Show A Cyclical Process

Saikat Basu 05-03-2012

draw 3d powerpointIt’s relatively difficult to hold an audience’s attention when all you have to spout are figures and graphs. Your talk matters, how you talk matters more, and what you show on the PowerPoint slides could be the cherry on the cake.


With each improved edition of PowerPoint, presenters have got better tools to play around with. So much so, that you don’t need a full-blown graphics editor to work magic on your slides. You can do it within PowerPoint itself. The following tutorial serves as an example. The steps below show how to create a three dimensional circular diagram illustrating a four step process. After getting the hang of it, you can modify it to show more than four processes. It’s all very easy.

A Preview of the Final 3-D Circle Diagram

This is what we are aiming for:

draw 3d powerpoint

Drawing the Basic Circular Shape

1. We start our project with a blank slide and the Auto Shapes tool. You can get the shapes from the Home menu (under the Drawing group) or from the Insert menu. Select the ‘Block Arc’ shape.

drawing 3d in powerpoint


2. Hold down the Shift key and draw a block arc. The Shift key helps to draw a perfect semi-circular block arc. Next, you can choose to remove the line color on the shape (right-click – Format Shape – Line Color – No Line).

drawing 3d in powerpoint

3. Now, to show our process we have to take this basic arc and replicate it according to the number of stages in the process. For instance, if we have four stages – press Shift and click on the inside yellow anchor and drag it to divide the semi-circular shape into a quarter.

powerpoint 3d shapes


4. Press CTRL and drag with your mouse to create a copy of the above shape. You will see a ‘+’ sign under the arrow cursor to indicate the copy. Go to Arrange – Position Objects – Rotate – Flip Horizontal to recreate the arc, but in two separate pieces.

powerpoint 3d shapes

5. Again, press CTRL to create a copy of the above arc and from the Arrange menu command, do a vertical flip before aligning the twin pieces together into a complete circular figure. This figure now has four different parts, one for each stage that we want to show in the cyclical process. Click on each part and color them differently (right-click – Format Shape – Fill – Solid Fill).

powerpoint 3d shapes


6. Select all the four quarters by pressing CTRL+A. Right click on the circle and choose Group – Group to join all four parts together.

Giving the Circle the 3-D Treatment

7. Right-click on the circle and select Format Object – 3D Rotation. Click on Presets – choose Perspective Relaxed from the dropdown.

PowerPoint Art: How To Create A 3-D Circle To Show A Cyclical Process ppt 3d circle07

8. This turns the flat 2-Dimensional image into a 3-Dimensional one. To make it more realistic, we go to Format – Object – 3-D Format – Bevel – Top – Cross Bevel. To embellish it further with more realistic depth, enter a suitable value for Depth and change the color if you want. As in the screenshot, the outer color of the circle has been changed to light grey.


PowerPoint Art: How To Create A 3-D Circle To Show A Cyclical Process ppt 3d circle09


Adding Shine and Sheen

9. You can add various effects to take the circle and give it a touch of gloss. The Format Shape dialog gives you a choice of various effects. You can pick any suitable one from the options under Surface.

drawing 3d in powerpoint

10. In the same dialog, go to Shadow and choose Presets – Outer – Offset Diagonal Bottom Right. You can play around with the other values to give your 3-D circle a more natural feel.

draw 3d powerpoint

All that remains is adding some text and data to complete your process cycle presentation slide.

This is just one of the ways to illustrate information creatively with the help of a 3-D diagram. PowerPoint gives a lot of scope for creativity. You can attempt this diagram in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010. Do you have any other handy PowerPoint tips to share? Let us know if you found this tutorial helpful for a future presentation you are planning.

Related topics: Drawing Software, Microsoft PowerPoint, Presentations.

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  1. Tej
    May 29, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    But the process is not applicable for drawing process with three :(

    • Saikat Basu
      May 31, 2016 at 11:41 am

      Didn't get what you meant by "drawing process with three"?

      • Tej
        June 1, 2016 at 2:45 am

        I am sorry for that. I want to draw circle with three block Arcs, with the above mentioned steps i succeeded upto some extent. But i am not able to do it perfectly.

        • Saikat Basu
          June 2, 2016 at 1:44 pm

          Try with the Block Arc shape. Draw three of them and position them as necessary.

  2. Dklj
    March 10, 2012 at 2:45 am

    why not use smart art?

    • Saikat Basu
      March 10, 2012 at 6:55 am

      You can use SmartArt too. Start off with the Segmented Circle or the Cycle Matrix. The how-to is in modifying basic shapes and combining them into something interesting. For instance, the default Microsoft tutorial shows you how to make a "key" out of basic shapes.

  3. Kamrulhasan
    March 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Nice. Please Continue...

    • Saikat Basu
      March 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm

       Thanks guys for your comments. That gives me the encouragement to write a few more PowerPoint tutorials.

  4. Austin
    March 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I will be using this on my next power point. Thanks! :)

  5. txnnco
    March 6, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Nice How To - Thank you - now just need to find the time