Mike Parkinson (Microsoft MVP and APMP Fellow) is an internationally recognized visual communication expert, professional speaker, and award-winning author. Mike is one of 36 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the world. He regularly conducts workshops and creates graphics, presentations, and creative materials for Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, FedEx, Xerox, Dell, and Boeing as well as at international learning institutions and organizations.
In this conversation, Mike talks about Build-a-Graphic, a PowerPoint add-in that adds coordinated, intelligent visuals to your slides.
Geetesh: Mike, can you tell us more about Build-a-Graphic, what need does this fulfill, and what motivated you to create this library of visual content for PowerPoint?
Mike: Imagine that you had a designer next to you every time you needed a graphic. That designer always had the perfect image ready for you. That is what Build-a-Graphic is.
Build-a-Graphic is a PowerPoint add-in that does three things:
- Turns text into professional graphics. The Build-a-Graphic library contains thousands of vector-based graphics that are editable and easy to animate, and their file sizes are small. Graphics can be imported into other software such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Illustrator.
- Manages your graphics. You can easily upload your own PowerPoint graphics to the Build-a-Graphic add-in to create a custom library and add search terms for future use.
- Visual Learning System. The more you use Build-a-Graphic, the better you become at turning ideas into clear, compelling graphics. You learn which graphics complement the words and phrases used in your presentations and marketing materials.
Build-a-Graphic analyzes your slide content and then suggests what graphics communicate those specific words or phrases. The software comes with thousands of graphics, and we add new collections throughout the year.
Geetesh: Who, according to you, is a typical user of Build-a-Graphic, and can you share some scenarios where it has made a difference?
Mike: Users range from large and small corporations, government agencies, nonprofits, educational institutions, and consultants. They need to make professional presentations, infographics, learning materials, proposals, as well as marketing and sales documents. And they don’t have time, money, or the skill to create what they need.
Build-a-Graphic helps designers too. If you are a designer, like me, you can work much faster. I no longer have to render graphics from nothing, so I finish my jobs quickly. When I am under deadline, Build-a-Graphic lets me focus more on the details, which improves the quality of the final product. My clients always get more than they expect and blown away with quality and speed.
Feedback has exceeded our expectations…
If SmartArt is a tricycle, Build-a-Graphic is a Ferrari.
The library of content is simply stunning.
– Jamie Garroch, YOUpresent
I LOVE this tool! Instead of spending hours to achieve a mediocre result, I was able to make a professional looking graphic in 15 minutes!
– Janneke Orriens, Strategic Proposals (Netherlands)
I’ve been playing around with this, and it is AWESOME!!! I have been working on an interactive FAQ and the graphics and ability to change colors to meet brand standards has been great. I have been able to do exactly what this is meant to do—take wordy docs and build meaningful graphics!
– Kristie Radetzky, BrightView
Build-a-Graphic is for non-designers and designers alike. My dream is to empower everyone to use better graphics to achieve their goals.
Below are examples of graphics made with Build-a-Graphic. The graphic possibilities are only limited to your imagination.