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Fundamentals of PowerPoint Animation (2022)


One of the most common questions about PowerPoint is how to add animations. In this first video of my 3-part series, I will cover the fundamentals of animation like showing the different types and how to add a basic animation. Once you have the fundamentals down, moving on to intermediate and advanced animations will be much easier.

Types of Animation Effects

Before you begin applying animation in PowerPoint, it helps to know how they are categorized and how these categories affect the function of the animation. These categories or types are also referred to as effects.

The first effect category is Enter. With this animation objects are not visible initially and appear based on a specific action by the presenter like a click of a mouse.

The second effect category is Emphasis. Here an object is visible on the slide and will animate to draw attention to it such as pulse.

The third effect category is Exit. Here an object is visible on the slide and then will exit from view based on an action like a mouse click.

The fourth effect category is Motion Path. With this animation an object will move in a certain way on the slide like from one location to another.

Adding an animation

To apply an animation on a slide you need at least one object on the slide. An object is any type of content that can be added to a slide such as a shape, text, icon, picture, etc. In this example, I’ll use a shape on blank slide. The location of the object will be where the animation either ends or begins.

You want to select the object. Click the Animations tab and click the animation you want to apply. You can scroll through the gallery or click the small drop-down arrow to display more options all at once. When you select an animation, the object will show what the animation looks like.

You can also use the Preview button on the Animations tab to see what the animation looks like. You will notice that the object now has a small box with a number next to it. That is a visual indicator noting an animation has been applied to the object. The number indicates the order the animations occur if you have more than one object animating on the slide.

In Windows if you select a new animation from the gallery, it will override the previous selection. For instance, if I apply an Emphasis animation the Enter fly-in is replaced. The same with applying an Exit Fly-out the Emphasis effect is replaced. To remove an animation, just choose None in the Gallery.

Some animations like the Fly In are pre-set to animate from a specific direction. To change the direction, click the Effects Option button after applying the animation. From the drop-down options choose the direction you want. If the Effects Option isn’t active, then that effect you selected can’t be changed in any way.

Motion Path animation

The next effect I want to touch on is the Motion Path option. You can choose a basic effect like moving in a straight line. Or something highly custom like drawing your own path. With the Motion Path, the small green dot is the starting point, and the red dot is the ending location. To extend the path, you can drag and drop the red dot to a new spot on the slide. With motion path the animation possibilities are quite extensive, especially if you use it with other effects.

Applying an animation to similar objects

If you have several objects that you want to add animation to, here are some strategies I use to save time. If you want to animation multiples of the same object in the same way first add the shape then add the animation to that shape and then press Control D to duplicate that shape. Rearrange as needed and you will notice that all of the objects have a number indicator next to them. The different numbers indicate the order the objects will animate. Let's click the Preview button to see what it looks like.

Copying the shape and pasting is another option Either on the same slide or another slide. To copy either use Control C, Right-click and copy, or click the Copy button on the Home tab. Then paste either using Control V, Right-click and paste, or click the Paste button on the Home tab. Just like with Duplicate, there is an indication number.

If you want the same object to animation on a different slide, you can duplicate the slide Select the slide in the Thumbnail Pressing Control D or Right-click and choose Duplicate Looking at the second slide, you can see the object has an animation indicator I will change the object's color so you can see what it looks like. I'll go into Presentation Mode and here is what the animation looks like.

If you have several different objects and you want them all to have the same animation, you have a couple of options. You can select them all. And click the animation type in the Animations tab. You will see they all have the same animation indicator next to them. As the Preview shows, this option sets the animation for all objects to start at the same time.

You can also use the Animation Painter. Once you’ve added an animation to an object, select it. Click the Animation Painter button. Then click on the object you want to apply the animation to. With this option, it sets the animations to start one after the other. If you double click the Painter option, you can apply the animation to multiple objects without having to click the Painter button for each object.


And in Part 2 of this video animation series, I will cover intermediate features such as timing, adding multiple animations to one object, how to best leverage the Animation Pane, I'll also show you how to use an ‘on click’ trigger.

About the Author

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Jennifer Sharkey is known as the Virtual Presentation Specialist. Being passionate about seeing people shine and be heard, she leans into her 20+ years of public speaking experience and uses what she has learned from presenting, both in-person and virtually, to small groups all the way up to 5000 people. Jennifer draws from her experience as an associate professor, academic librarian, and coach to help holistic coaches master virtual presentations to grow their business. Her unique immersive program provides practical strategies and methods to build confidence, engage audiences, and generate authenticity and authority.

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