The SmartArt tool in Word is a great way to quickly create relatively complex diagrams; however, occasionally I want to use that diagram as a basis and then tweak it - for example remove some nodes without changing anything else, add connectors between various node, etc.

Unfortunately, the amount of change possible to SmartArt objects is limited - I can draw shapes over it but cannot perform the two above actions properly.

Is it possible to convert a SmartArt shape into a regular word shape? If it is, how can it be done? If it isn't, is there any alternative to do what I'm trying to do, other than foregoing the SmartArt route?

3 Answers 3


I think it is not possible in Word; however you can past your SmartArt in PowerPoint and there you can convert (under "Design" Tab I think) convert it to shapes and then paste them back to Word


Bert Sercu was close, but he gave some wrong details.

After you paste the SmartArt in PowerPoint, select the drawing. The Ribbon UI will offer you a SmartArt menu. Select Design. There you will find a Convert menu item where you can "Convert to Shapes". Depending on your Office version and service packs, you may have to UNGROUP your shape before you can modify the end points through the Drawing / Format --> Edit Shape menu.

Bianca is not answering the question. If you want to edit the nodes and change connectors, then you have to convert the SmartArt into shapes.


I disagree with Bert Sercu. In fact, you CAN change the shape of what SmartArt has given you into another shape from Microsoft Word(if that is what you mean), and it is very simple to do. You just click the shape that you wish to change, and (under the "SmartArt tools" section), you click the Format tab (if you see options like "Shape Fill", "Shape Outline","Text Effects" etc then you are in the place I am speaking of). Go to the far left of the screen and go to the section called Shapes. There, you should see items such as Edit in 2-D, Larger, Smaller, and Change Shape, which is a drop down menu. You click Change Shape and when the drop down menu appears, you chose the shape you are wishing for(if it is there).

You can do the same thing in Microsoft PowerPoint, like Bert Sercu said. Just right click the PowerPoint and a drop down menu should appear. Go down until you see the word layout and chose any layout that has those six things in the middle. chose the green arrow out of those six items, chose the chart you want, and repeat the instructions above to create a different shape.

I know the directions are long even though the solution takes little time, but I did this in case people, like me, have a hard time reading directions and need to see it visually or read/hear it step-by-step.

  • 1
    But this only lets me change shapes, not remove nodes (without affecting anything else) or add connectors.
    – Oak
    Aug 1, 2012 at 4:53

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