Adding Animations to PowerPoint Slides

Atlantic-IT-ppt-animations-WEBAdd some pizzazz to your presentation with these special effects.

We’ve all struggled to stay awake during PowerPoint presentations that were about as thrilling as watching paint dry. Of course, the key to a good presentation is high-quality content that is well-delivered. However, you can use animations to help keep you audience awake through dry material. Flying objects, spinning graphics and shimmering text enable you to add motion, emphasis and pizzazz. Just don’t overdo it — limit animations to about a third of your slides so they don’t get distracting.

Types of Effects

As the name implies, Entrance and Exit effects control how text and objects look when they enter or leave the slide. You can make an object fly or fade in or bounce off the screen. You can also specify the direction of their entrance and exit and the order in which they appear or disappear.

With Emphasis effects the object stays put on the screen but pulses, teeters or changes colors. With motion paths you can have an object move across the screen in any desired pattern.

Animations are best applied to content that suggests movement, change or progression. For example, you could make each bar in a chart appear in sequence or numbers fly along the route of a line graph.

Applying Effects

Select an object on the slide then click the Animations tab. Click the down arrow in the Animation ribbon to show common animations. There are also submenu options for each type of effect — click the appropriate “More…” button and a full menu of effects will appear. Select the animation you want and PowerPoint will immediately preview it for you. If you don’t like it, select the object again and choose a different effect from the same group.

You can also apply more than one effect to an object. For example, if you have an object fly into the slide, you can add an Emphasis effect to make it teeter once it gets there. Simply select the object that has already been animated then choose another animation from the list.

When you apply a motion effect, the default path will take effect immediately. Once the preview is complete you will see a dotted-line diagram of the path. You can manipulate the size, shape and direction of the path to customize the motion effect.

Customizing Timing and Duration

Select an animated object. In the Timing area of the ribbon you can change the Start trigger (“on click,” “with previous,” or “after previous”), the duration of the animation and any delay before the animation starts. You can also move the animation earlier or later in the sequence using the Reorder Animation function.

The Advanced Animation area of the ribbon allows you to get fancier with the start triggers. You can also open the Animation Pane to further customize timing or performance actions. The Play button lets you see the effect of your work.