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The image author said he used Microsoft PowerPoint2010 SmartArt to draw it.
I tried but I can't even draw rectangles using SmartArt.
Can SmartArt really draw this? If so, please explain it to me.

Or is there any tool else more nicer than smartart?
I'd really like to draw an image like this.

I don't mind any answer if it gives me an ability to draw this.

  • 2
    It would be a clumsy tool to use, but I can see SmartArt being used to draw this. You've got the textboxes with drop-shadow, an arrow, another text box with no border, plus some arbitrary lines and shapes, in that grotesque green of which Microsoft is so fond.
    – user3463
    Jan 12, 2011 at 4:24
  • 2
    The Mac OS X solution to this problem would likely be OmniGraffle.
    – Daniel Beck
    Jan 17, 2011 at 11:08
  • Your image has gone missing. Consider uploading again.
    – Daniel Beck
    Jun 13, 2011 at 7:27

3 Answers 3


I used basic functionality in PowerPoint 2007 to create this in 10 minutes: Sample

How it's done:

The boxes are basic text box with shape outline (gray) and shadow effect. The green text boxes obviously have green fill color. The white text boxes have white fill color (not transparent, which would make the shadow effect look strange). The fills can be made more advanced with gradient or other more advanced fill styles.

The green area between the text box lines is a freeform shape with green fill color.

The arrow above first line is a basic arrow shape with gradient fill, green outline and shadow effect. The line-thing below is also a basic shape (looks like } ) that is rotated.

  • @awe: Hey, I made it. Thank you very much. By the way, how did you draw the row of rectangles with regular interval? Did you build it by yourself? I mean by your hand.
    – Benjamin
    Jan 18, 2011 at 2:44
  • @Benjamin: I made copies of the first rectangle I made, and then I just dragged the copies one by one and used the default snapping.
    – awe
    Jan 18, 2011 at 13:28
  • @awe: um. If I need to draw 100 rectangles, it will make me annoy. Isn't there any more convenient way? Even if there is not, your answer deserve to get accepting enough. Thank you.
    – Benjamin
    Jan 18, 2011 at 15:22
  • 1
    You can start like I did with the first 5, then copy all five and paste/move all new 5, then copy all 10 and paste/move again. Then copy/move all 20 etc. This way it will be less operations to eventually get the 100 (or even 1000).
    – awe
    Jan 18, 2011 at 18:42

Any vector editor will happily let you draw something like this.

Inkscape would be one free alternative.
Adobe Illustrator would be one expensive alternative.

In both, you would draw rectangles with grey outlines and white/green fill. On top of these rectangles, you would write the text you want to put there. Then, you either apply a drop shadow or put a faded black rectangle of the same size behind it to recreate the shadow effect.
You should be able to draw an Arrow shape to get the arrow. The long brace you would have to paint by hand using the line tool.

Alternatively, some flow-chart program could probably do this.

Check out Microsoft Visio for a commercial alternative.
Or take Dia as a free alternative.

Here, you would draw a rectangle shape with grey outline and white/green fill and a drop shadow. In those rectangles, you would put the desired text. Then, you would draw an Arrow shape to get the arrow and either use a pre-defined shape for the brace or use the line tool to recreate it.

A vector drawing program will give you more freedom to draw any shape you like, but you will probably have to do many things by hand--such as centering the text in the rectangles or drawing nice-looking braces.
A flow-chart program will provide you with handy templates for rectangles, braces, arrows and the like, but you probably won't be able to draw anything more artistic than flow-charts with it.

  • 2
    Trivial to do using Visio. For a freeware program doing something similar, check Dia. Jan 17, 2011 at 12:07
  • 2
    Please explain how to do it as well!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jan 17, 2011 at 12:16

I would recommend paint.net.

"Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins."

Grab it here: http://www.getpaint.net/index.html

  • 9
    I would say that a pixel editor is rather badly suited for something like this. This is clearly the realm of vector editors.
    – bastibe
    Jan 17, 2011 at 10:50
  • 1
    @Paperflyer - Paint.NET does have some vector editing capabilities, but I wouldn't use it for something like this though.
    – ChrisF
    Jan 17, 2011 at 12:14
  • 3
    Please explain how to do it as well!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jan 17, 2011 at 12:15

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