Article title plus demonstration of what these labels will look like
Article title plus demonstration of what these labels will look like

How to use a single-cell table as a label

Diagrams are a great way of visually explaining complex relationships and processes. And an important part of diagrams are the callout labels that add context to, or focus on, a particular part of the diagram.

But PowerPoint shapes aren’t very helpful. You could use speech bubbles; but their spikes can block out parts of the picture. Or there are various callout shapes; but their weird adjustable lines won’t snap to the text box and it’s impossible to keep them straight.

Example of a slide using various built-in callout shapes

So here’s our go-to approach: a single-cell table.

Same slide but now using single-cell tables

We like them because:

They expand and shrink to match the amount of text
Connectors snap to the handles on each side
You can add a border to one side to provide a subtle visual clue.

And they are really easy to create:

Insert > Table > 1 cell by 1 column
Add the text and resize the width as needed
Add a border to one side
Add a connector. We prefer to use a circular ‘blob’ on the other end rather than an arrow.

Note: it’s also worth setting the cell margins to zero on the three sides that don’t have the border. 

These labels work really well in charts as well.

Example of using single-cell tables to annotate a chart
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Published:
March 16, 2022

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