• Home
  • Blog
  • How to Animate PowerPoint SmartArt Graphics Easily

How to Animate PowerPoint SmartArt Graphics Easily

This video shows you how to easily and quickly animate PowerPoint SmartArt Graphics.


Using animations well requires a bit of finesse. And it helps to understand the different settings you can use.

Too much animation or the over-the-top animation doesn’t add to your presentation in any way. Applying tasteful and compelling animation to a slide deck can take your slides from OK to great.

A quick questions for you.

Have you ever wanted to animate individual components of a SmartArt Graphic on a slide deck? But gave up out of frustration because it appeared you could only animate the entire graphic?

Fortunately, there is a way to apply animations to individual SmartArt components. While not immediately obvious, it isn’t hard to do.

What are PowerPoint SmartArt Graphics?

Some of you may be wondering what a SmartArt Graphic is. PowerPoint SmartArt graphics have been a part of the software for many years.

This feature allows you to create visual representations of information and ideas. Many times with only a few clicks of your mouse. It is an excellent way to convert text heavy content into easily digestible segments.

For your audience, it is ideal to be able to absorb your content. Commonly used graphics for slides are organizational charts, processes, or unique font formatting.

SmartArt graphics are a common element of PowerPoint’s Design Ideas feature as well. In a previous video, I highlighted a key strategy for getting the most out of the Design Ideas feature.

Why Animate PowerPoint SmartArt Graphics?

On their own, as a static image, SmartArt graphics look impressive. So why would you want to animate PowerPoint SmartArt Graphics?

Animation of individual graphic elements helps you convey your message. You will connect with your audience at a deeper level. This is particularly useful when conveying unique content.

Such as, the specific steps of a process, key dates of a project timeline, or categorized data. As you are presenting, a great technique is to focus on individual elements. Showing each element when talking about it keeps the audience focused on what you are saying.

Steps to Animate PowerPoint SmartArt Graphics

Alright, now I will show you the steps to animate PowerPoint SmartArt Graphics.

In this example, I’ll use a timeline suggested from PowerPoint Designer on the Design Ideas pane.

  1. The first step is to add a SmartArt Graphic.
  2. Next select the SmartArt Graphic.
  3. Right click and select Group and then Ungroup.
  4. Select the graphic again and repeat the ungroup.
  5. At this point all the objects are separate elements on the slide.
  6. I often regroup the elements I want to animate together.
  7. It makes it easier to apply the animation.
  8. After grouping the individual components, select all the grouped elements.
  9. Click the Animations tab.
  10. Select the type of animation.
  11. Change the Start to On Click.
  12. Click the Preview button to check the animation.


Can you believe it was that easy to animate PowerPoint SmartArt Graphics? By using this one trick you can add animation that makes your content meaningful to your message.

You can apply this animation to many different SmartArt graphics available in PowerPoint. Common examples are processes, timelines, and even picture collages.

As always, I am curious to hear about your experiences. In the comments, share what types of animations you’ve applied to SmartArt graphics.

About the Author

Follow me

Jennifer Sharkey is known as the Virtual Presentation Specialist. She has 20+ years of experience public speaking and helping others. She draws from her experience as an associate professor, academic librarian, and coach to help new, holistic female coaches master virtual presentations and gain more clients. Her unique immersive program helps her students gain confidence, present engaging content, and tame the tech in 12 weeks (or less).

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}