Wheels of Fortune: Part 2


This post is one of a series on “wheels,” circular graphical objects divided into separate segments. This kind of object is useful in describing parts of a whole or a range of possibilities. The first post in this series detailed a wheel representing a web marketing strategy.

In this post we use a more complicated object called a “Decision Profile Wheel” that represents characteristics of decision makers.

I have no opinions concerning the “Decision Profile Wheel;” I am using it only as an example of a “wheel” graphical object.

This wheel has six basic segments with various overlapping sectors representing characteristics of the basic segments.  See the page referenced above for the original form of the wheel.

My version is constructed using the techniques outlined in the previous post; the layout looks like this: wh9

The radial guidelines are four connector lines, drawn connecting the eight (convenient) anchor points on the outer circle. The first post in this series describes several ways to create layouts for this and similar wheels. The circles represent the layers in the wheel; their size may be adjusted later.

It’s a good idea to group the elements of the layout into one object and name the object (using the Selection pane). This will help later.

The labels are text boxes with the Text Effect/Transform/Follow Path/Arch Up effect. Here are the first two:


Here are some tips:

  • Start with a Centered text box with Top vertical alignment.
  • Text must be at least 20 points for legibility for this font (Calibri); 18 points is acceptable for “larger” fonts like Arial.
  • Once the transform effect has been applied, size and center the text. Make sure that the text has equal height and width and is centered on the layout. The radial position of the text is determined by the size of the box. You can add additional layout circles to help position the text uniformly.
  • Set the angular position manually or numerically by using the Size and Position pane.
  • For text on the bottom half of the wheel, use the Arch Down option.
  • Use Ctrl/Enter to separate the text into two lines.
  • Use the Selection pane to name each text box; this will help you select specific objects later.

In some wheel applications, you may have trouble fitting one or more of the text boxes into the segments. Avoid the temptation to make the text smaller than 20/18 points and try these ideas:

  • Adjust the line spacing to get more space radially.
  • Adjust the character spacing to get more space; don’t overdo this.
  • Adjust the circular guides so that the segment is taller and a little wider.
  • “Cheat” the angular size of the segment a little, reducing the size of the neighboring segment. Your audience may not notice if you don’t disturb vertical or horizontal lines.

Here’s the wheel with all 16 of the text boxes nicely (!) arranged:


Again, use the Select pane to name each label.

As in the earlier post, I used Block Arcs to add color. Using a different color to distinguish each segments will be a little garish in this example. There are a couple of options:

  • Add contrasting Outlines to the block arcs. This may reduce the space available for text a little.
  • Space the elements so that the background shows between them. This may also “steal” some text space. I suggest you add additional guidelines to the layout if you want to try this.
  • Use a gradient fill so that a light color is against a dark color to distinguish adjacent sectors; this has the advantage of taking no space from the interior:


I opted for outlines in this wheel. After adding the Block Arcs and changing some of the text colors, I made some final adjustments before removing the layout lines. I also filled the inner circle with an image of a “decision maker.” This is the final result:


This construction has at least 32 separate parts, all on top of each other. It is practically impossible to build without naming the parts and using the Selection pane.

To get a free copy of the PowerPoint “source” file for this post, use this form:

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