As artificial intelligence becomes more developed and computers are programmed in speech recognition, there can still be some interesting cases of errors in translation. A 'mondegreen' is the term given to mishearing, usually accidental, of a phrase, so that it acquires a new meaning. An example of a mondegreen is: "I led the pigeons to the flag" (for "I pledge allegiance to the flag").

Oronyms are sentences that can be read in two ways with the same sounds. For example, compare: "Reading in the library is sometimes allowed", with "Reading in the library is sometimes aloud".

Another example of miscommunication is the well-known whispering game, where the aim is to confuse and twist the message deliberately. The object of the game is to avoid repeating what you whisper to the next person, and the aim is to pass on what you think you heard.

But it's just not funny when your well prepared message has been translated or misheard into something completely different. Briefing another person on how to illustrate your creative concept can sometimes feel like the whispering game. When your original request to have "a cycle diagram" comes back as a well-drawn but totally inaccurate illustration of a Raleigh you know it's time to take things into your own hands.

And with Office PowerPoint 2007, SmarArt graphics - that's exactly the control you get.

With SmartArt graphics, you can easily create editable illustrations from your information - and all without having to brief a professional designer. Stunning visual effects can be added to your SmartArt graphics, shapes, WordArt, and charts, including three-dimensional (3-D) effects, shading, reflections, glows and more.

The possibilities of how you can illustrate your creative concept are endless. For example, some of the different graphic styles to choose from include Process, Relationship and Pyramid designs - any idea can be translated into an interesting graphic with SmartArt - even a cyclical pattern.

Text can also be added directly to the SmartArt graphic. Simply click on the text you wish to change to a graphic, then on the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, select Convert to SmartArt Graphic. The command, incidentally, is only available in PowerPoint 2007. This saves the trouble of retyping text and avoids the possibility of error.

Once you have completed the graphics in your presentation, you can select a Theme so that all of the text and graphics have a consistent look. Customisations to the graphics - such as Effects - are preserved. SmartArt graphics can be copied from one slide to another, or from one Microsoft Office application to another.

SmartArt Styles also allow you to change Shape Effects and alter colour on any of your graphics. Individual shapes can also be edited and formatted so they appear exactly as you need them to. Shapes and Effects can be altered until you're content with how your masterpiece looks. When you have the slide layout exactly as required, you can even animate the graphic using the Animations function so that your graphic can fade in, or fly out whatever you choose to do with it.

SmartArt graphics add colour, shape, and vitality to your text and data, and help bring any presentation to life. You can easily try out a variety of SmartArt graphics to see which one works best for conveying your message, and can tackle anything from an organisation chart to a time line. Experiment as much as you want with different formats and styles, and preview these before choosing one, so you don't have to apply styles over and over again to find the one you want. And after you apply a style you can customise it with colours, animation, and effects such as shadows, bevels and glows.

There's much more to learn about creating and using SmartArt graphics, so that you will have the confidence to develop more advanced diagrams and illustrations using many more of the functions available. A professional training course will guide you through the rights and wrongs of when and how to use SmartArt in PowerPoint 2007 so that you never need confuse your design department again.