How to Create Puzzle Shapes in PowerPoint

Recently at our Slide Design training, a participant asked us if there is a fast and easy way to make puzzles in PowerPoint.

Well basically, it’s pretty simple. During training, it took me 2-3 minutes to show how to prepare the puzzle yourself. Here is a step-by-step instruction on how to create such a puzzle diagram.

How can you use puzzles in a presentation?

The puzzle shape can be very useful and play various roles within slides. You can put puzzles together and form different shapes – lines or squares. The scattered jigsaw puzzle can show, for example, the concept of a mess, or a problem that can be easily solved.

Therefore, puzzles are a good metaphor to illustrate different business ideas in a presentation, for example, synergy, teamwork, “big picture” or complexity. You can also show missing elements or timelines, formed with jigsaw puzzles.

puzzle timeline shape made in powerpoint
Timeline graphics made of puzzle shapes
puzzle circle infographics ppt
Loop diagram made out of simple jigsaw puzzle shapes
explanation slide puzzle graphics
Puzzle Matrix diagram with place for text explanations

If you are interested in visualizing concepts in presentations,

  • I invite you to the Workshop on Designing Creative Presentations
  • see our Icons Dictionary for visualization of business concepts (such as strategy, synergy, and growth in one picture).

Create your own puzzles in PowerPoint – a step-by-step guide

In short, it is enough to use the two basic shapes (square and circle), link functions, and subtract shapes.

Let’s get to the work 🙂

Step 1

I insert a square and a circle and set them as shown below.

create puzzle graphic PowerPoint step 1

Step 2

Then I select both shapes, go to the Format / Merge Shapes / Union tab, and the first puzzle is ready.

create puzzle graphic PowerPoint step  2 merge shapes

Step 3

Now I copy the final shape, move to the right, rotate 90 degrees, and move underneath. I also changed the color to make the effect more visible.

create puzzle graphic PowerPoint step 3

Step 4

I repeat copying and rotating, up to the fourth puzzle. It turns out that you cannot see the fourth jigsaw puzzle.

create puzzle graphic PowerPoint step 4

Step 5

In that case, I duplicate puzzle 4 and place it exactly in the same place. I select puzzle 1 and then 4 (note the order of the selection is crucial), go to the Format / Merge Shapes tab and select Subtract. And that’s enough, the puzzles are ready.

create puzzle graphic PowerPoint step 5

Now I can add texts and icons and the diagram can be used in the presentation. Simple? 🙂

Maybe that’s not the simplest design, but on the other hand, you probably did not think that in a few steps, you are able to create your own puzzles in PowerPoint.

Extending Your Puzzle set

Below you can see a set of more advanced puzzle shapes for PowerPoint along with my favorite handwritten style :). This is a PPT shapes collection we created (you can get the whole puzzle shapes set here) or design yourself something similar.

See what other layouts you can create (for example, to add longer text descriptions or create an interesting timeline).

puzzle layouts PowerPoint
(click on picture to see the whole set)

And here’s a timeline example:

puzzle graphic timeline PowerPoint

Have fun while creating your own puzzle diagrams 🙂

If you have questions about puzzles or other tricks for creating graphical slides, please let us know in the comments.

PS. To learn more such tricks, I invite you to our training on Creating effective graphic slides. Or let us design such slides for you.

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