Using vector icons in PowerPoint

Using Picons vector icons in Powerpoint

A guide on how to import vector icons into PowerPoint presentations — the right way

Want to use vector icons in your next presentation, and to change the color, size and shape of the icons within PowerPoint?

Sure, you can always import icons into a PowerPoint presentation as bitmap images (JPG or PNG), but there are two big disadvantages to this:
– There is a loss of quality when resizing an icon to a bigger size,
– You cannot change the color of an icon or edit it in any way.

Luckily, Microsoft PowerPoint (2010 or newer) supports some of the basic shape manipulation techniques that we know from vector editing software like Adobe Illustrator. However, this comes with a major setback – the behavior is not the same with macOS as it is with Windows.

a) Using Windows

To be inserted into a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, your icon (or any other vector graphic) needs to be of the Windows Enhanced Metafile format (.EMF). With the latest update, all our vector icons already include the necessary EMF files, which are compatible with Microsoft Office.

1) In PowerPoint, select “Insert pictures” and choose one of the EMF files on your computer.

Insert vector icons in PowerPoint  2) Right-click the imported icon and un-group it. You will then see the following PowerPoint dialogue box asking: “Do you want to convert it to a Microsoft Office drawing object?” Press “Yes.” This will transform the icon into a drawing object, ready to be modified.

Ungroup vector icons in PowerPoint

3) Done! Now you are able to use the icon in your Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. You can modify the vector icon the way you like.

Change color of vector icons in PowerPoint

4) To change the stroke or fill color of an icon or stroke weight, right-click the imported icon and un-group it again. This will break up the icon and let you move or change the color of any individual parts.

Insert vector icons in PowerPoint

Btw: There is a cool free shell extension for Windows users that enables thumbnails and previews for EMF files in Windows File Explorer.

 

b) Using macOS

1) In PowerPoint, select “Insert pictures” and choose one of the EMF files on your computer.

Insert vector graphic in MS PowerPoint

2) Now you can resize and change the color of the icon.

Recolor vector graphic in MS PowerPoint

What’s with changing the shape and color of individual parts of an icon when using macOS? 

Because EMF isn’t a macOS-native file format and normally EPS can’t be un-grouped, the same method does not work if you’re using macOS. PowerPoint on Windows treats EPS in a non-standard way (basically converting it to a Microsoft Office drawing object), which allows it to be un-grouped there, but not with macOS. A lot of people are impatiently waiting for that, though! See update below!

On the other hand, there is an ugly work-around where you have to download and install Apache’s Open Office (free). Start a new presentation in Open Office and import the EMF file (in Presentation mode). Right-click the icon and select Break. Save the Open Office presentation as a PowerPoint presentation. Now you can go to Microsoft PowerPoint and edit it from there.

UPDATE (Jan 25, 2018): The PowerPoint for Mac team just announced that support for SVG and icons is planned and will begin development soon. I will update this article once support for SVG is live.

UPDATE (May 13, 2018): The PowerPoint for Mac team just announced

As of April 2018, Insert Icons and SVG support are now available in Office 2016 for Mac.

To insert an icon in Office 2016 for Mac: Go to the Insert > Insert Icon. Scroll through the icons or jump to a category by clicking the name in the navigation pane at the left. Choose an icon and then click Insert at the lower right. Insert multiple icons at the same time by clicking each of them before clicking Insert. Use the Graphics Tools ribbon to rotate, color, change style or resize your icon.

To insert an SVG file in Office 2016 for Mac: Go to Insert > Pictures > Picture from file to insert your SVG images.

Icons – The Only Language Everyone Understands

Picons Rocket Icons

Icons, which are sometimes called pictograms, are those little symbols you (un)consciously interact with every day. They are those somewhat recognisable signs that you click on when working on your computer, your smart phone, your car, your television or any other home appliance  —  even your toaster!

Read our complete guest post at Iconfinder‘s blog.

Case study: Custom icon design project for Synergis Software

Besides creating own icon collections, I’m also offering custom icon design. And I’m one of the few designers doing custom icons at Iconfinder.

The custom icon project for Synergis Software was complex, as the client asked for a coherent set of 150+ icons to redesign their window-based application (an engineering document management product). The requested style of the icons was black outlines with a little color. A perfect case to use the foundation of the Picons Thin collection and extend it with color.

Synergis Custom icons Examples

So the first steps, after studying the brief, were to define the grid (I’ve choose 24px), corner rounds, stroke weights and color palette, as the basic elements that will define the visual language of the complete icon set.

Custom icons - Style guideline

Larger icon collections require not only to follow a grid but also strict style guidelines that will define the character of a collection. When this fundament is built, creating a large icon set is fun as those design elements get repeated throughout the set to tie all icons together as a whole.

Synergis Custom icons Samples

Our friends at Iconfinder also wrote a blog post about this custom icon project.

Icon examples #1

We are starting a series of great Picons use cases with an app we are very proud of. Ulysses is a macOS and iOS app that just received the Apple Design Award 2016.

No, Ulysses is not just a text editor. It is a writing environment, with a super slick and intuitive interface, where our icons play an essential role for the navigation and organization of writings.

ulysses_1

ulysses_2

Source: Ulysses

Used icons: Picons Thin collection