Wheels of Fortune – Part 3

wheel part 3

In this installment of my series on “wheels,” I will build a wheel of fortune like the one in the popular TV series.  If you want to create another kind of wheel,  search for “carnival wheel” or “prize wheel” for inspiration.

(The first post in the series is here and the second here.)

PLEASE NOTE: Several readers have asked about a version of this wheel that produces random results so it could be used in a game or other audience participation. Originally, I said I knew of no way to make this happen in PowerPoint since the amount of spin is determined by a fixed number. Since then, I located a way to produce a “random” spin; see this post for the technique.

I want to use this wheel to show a prospective customer the possible personal outcomes of his current project: He may get a raise, get fired, promoted, demoted, get a bonus or be ignored. I will follow up by showing him how he can improve his chances for success by using my product.

The wheel will have twelve sectors; each of the six outcomes will appear twice. I also want my layout to include a center line for each sector to help align the text. The layout is created using two Twelve Point Stars as templates, one rotated 15 degrees. Here’s the process:


(The first post in this series describes several ways to create this kind of layout.)

Add two circles and center everything to complete the layout; I used the red lines to help align the text:


For the sector labels (outcomes), I used the Cooper Black font and Stacked text; here’s what the process looks like:


Some notes:

  • The text is center aligned horizontally.
  • The Text direction/Stacked option is a little peculiar. First, it has no effect unless the Wrap text in shape option is unchecked.
  • Then, the spacing is way too much. I will not bore you with the PowerPoint esoterica behind this; just fix it.

Next, fit the label to the sector:


  • Rotate the text 15 degrees and align it with the red center line.
  • Apply the Text Effect/Transform/Fade Right.
  • Adjust the size and degree of taper to your liking. Too much taper will affect the legibility.

Add the other five labels to the right side of the wheel. Rotate and apply and adjust the Fade Right effect as above. Leave some space and don’t taper too much. You may need to readjust other labels as you go. Here’s my result:


To add color to the sectors use Block Arcs; see the earlier posts in this series for details. Use bright flat colors like the TV show. Next duplicate the sectors (text and arc) place in different positions on the left side. Finally, fill the center circle and delete the layout. Here’s my result:


The wheel has a series of pegs around the rim between each sector. The rim is two circles, the inner one is the size of the wheel graphic. Using methods from my “clocks” post, I put two circles at opposite positions, grouped them, and duplicated. centered and rotated the groups to complete the rim of the wheel:


There is a “flipper” at the top of the wheel that interacts with the pegs as the wheel spins; the flipper assures that the result of a spin is unambiguous.

The flipper is an Isosceles Triangle; the animation is a series of 90 degree Spins; here’s how it looks:

  • The basic action is a 90 degree Counterclockwise Spin with a duration of 0.15 seconds. Smooth Start and Smooth End are unchecked (the default).
  • Auto-reverse is checked; this returns the flipper to its neutral position; this also makes the duration 0.3 seconds. (This is the first time I’ve ever used this option.)
  • The Timing/Repeat option is set to 6. Thus the total duration is 6x.03 = 1.8 seconds.

To make the wheel interact with the flipper:

  • Position the flipper at the top of the wheel.
  • Rotate the wheel so that the flipper is halfway between pegs (15 degrees)
  • Apply a Spin effect to the wheel with the duration equal to the total flipper duration (1.8 sec)
  • Delay the flipper action by half a sector time (0.15 sec). Actually, I used 0.1 sec since PowerPoint will not accept 0.15 sec as a Delay.

Here’s what the setup looks like:


And the animation:

To make the wheel slow down and stop, I added two more Spin animations at slower rates, along with the corresponding flipper action, delayed by half the sector time. Here’s the annotated animation pane:


Finally, I filled the inner circle with the wheel image. Here’s the animation:

The asterisk on the slide marks the “winner” for this set up; to change the winner, manually rotate the wheel so that the desired winner is next to the asterisk. You may want to experiment with the timing, also.

If you want to take a spin with your own wheel, request the free PowerPoint file for this post using the form below:

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