In this conversation, Jamie talks about Circlify, a PowerPoint add-in that makes drawing multiple shapes in a repeated pattern seem easy.
Geetesh: What is the raison d’etre for your Circlify add-in for PowerPoint, and what motivated you to create it?
Jamie: GMARK creates a lot of slides for clients and one theme that often crops up is the need to equally spacing a quantity of ‘somethings’ around the perimeter of another shape. The somethings may be text or images or shapes and the perimeter shape is often circular. Basic diagrams aren’t so hard to do with the new PowerPoint SmartArt Cycle illustrations but there are limitations with the way that tool works.
For example, shapes are ‘resized to fit’ and there are several steps required to change the default shapes types. We just wanted an authoring tool that allowed the designer to pick any shape or their own custom shape and plot any given number of them around the circumference of any sized circle, overlapping them if they want. The real benefit of Circlify is one of time. It’s very fast to draw whatever you want, combine shapes or group shapes and then ask Circlify to plot the required number of them around a circular guide.
Geetesh: A fun add-in of this sort can be addictive, but it has many unobvious business uses as well in diagramming – do you want to share some thoughts?
Jamie: We’ve used it already to create some professional looking illustrations for our clients. These have included cyclic process diagrams to more abstract illustrations of concepts, clock faces and even some subtle texture effects for template backgrounds. We’ve also used it to create icons to indicate the progress through a presentation. In one example, we created a 3D sliced pie illustration to represent were the presenter was in the presentation.
As with any design tool, the limits to what can be created is tightly coupled with the limits of human imagination and we’re looking forward to seeing what folks can come up with though their use of Circlify. We’ve got some examples online and more are available in the free trial download.