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PowerPoint Animation Tutorial (2022) – Step-by-Step


Animation in your slide deck is a great way to add visual interest. And when done well it can WOW your audience. This in-depth, step-by-step tutorial covers how to animate in PowerPoint showing the fundamentals of adding and modifying animations and then demonstrates advanced strategies like customizing timings, adding triggers, using morph, and creating animations with 3D objects.

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.

Adjusting Start, Duration, and Delay

Once you’ve added an animation to an object, often the next step is modifying the timing of the animation. To the far right on the animation tab, there are three timing settings: Start, Duration, and Delay.

Modifying Start

The Start timing determines how the animation will start. The default is On Click. So when you click your mouse the animation begins.

The next option is With Previous. The object with this setting will animate at the same time as the previous animation. In this example the Triangle animates with the circle.

The third start setting is After Previous. Here an object animates after the previous animation is complete. In this example the triangle animates once the circle animation is done.

Changing Duration

The next timing is the Duration or speed of the animation. The default setting is typically Very Fast at half a second (0.5). You can use the up and down arrows to speed up or slow down the animation by quarter intervals. Or you can type in the duration.

In this example, you can see the Triangle fly in is much slower than the previous examples. As a side note, the duration can’t be changed for some animations.

Adding Delay

The last timing is Delay. This a slightly more advanced setting and this setting delays the start of an animation. The default setting is zero. Meaning there is no delay. In the example, the Triangle is set to start after previous with a one second delay.

Applying Multiple Animations

Now that you know how to modify a single animation, we can move on to apply multiple animations to one object. As I mentioned in Video 1 of this 3-part series, clicking a different animation in the gallery replaces the previous animation.

In this example, I will set the object to fly-in, pulse, and then fly-out. Do do this, I select the object. I choose the Fly in animation. Then I click the Add Animation button. Choose Pulse as an emphasis. I'll add the third animation, clicking the Add animation button and then choosing Fly-out. And the Preview shows what that will look like.

In Video 1 of this series, I demonstrated the Animation Painter, when you have multiple animations, this option comes in handy.

Using the Animation Pane

Once you start adding multiple animations to objects, using the Animation Pane can help you keep track. To display the pane either click the Animations Pane button or click one of the animation indicators by an object.

From the animation pane, you can see the order of the animations. They are listed from beginning to end. A mouse means it is an On Click start animation. No icon means that it is set to With Previous. And a clock indicates that the Start is After Previous.

The color of the star indicates the type of effect: green for enter, yellow for emphasis, and red for exit. If you can’t see color very well, the lines Indicate whether it is an Enter, an Emphasis, or an Exit.

If you want to change the order of the animations, you can use the up and down arrows. Or just drag and drop. You can select more than one by holding down the Shift key and then moving them all at the same time.

Deleting animations from the Animation Pane is quite easy. Select the animation and press the Delete key.

The animation pane also shows the timeline of the animations. The placement of the bar on the timeline indicates when the animation begins and end. You can drag and drop the bar to change the delay. You can resize the bar to change the duration of the animation.

Effects and Timing Dialog Box

When you mouse over or select an animation, To the far right of each animation is a small down arrow. Clicking the arrow provides options to show more settings for the effects and timings. Let’s take a look.

You will notice there are three tabs Effect, Timing, and Text Animation The added options in the Effects tab, is that you can add a Dim after animation setting. I usually apply this to content that I have as part of a list. So, when I am done discussing one bullet point, I dim that option and then display the next option.

If you don’t want to apply an exit animation, you can also make content disappear right after the animation or hide on the next mouse click.

The Timing tab, provides the same options as on the Animation tab for Start, Duration, and Delay.

You can also add a repeat loop. You can set specific times or until the next animation or until the end of the slide show. The speed of the animation will determine how the effect looks such as a rapid pulse or slow flash.

The trigger setting lets you set an On Click to a specific object. When you click the object with your mouse, it activates the animation for a different object. This differs from a typical On Click animation because the object itself must be clicked for the animation to work.

To do this, apply each animation to the specific object Then select the animation in animation pane Click the trigger button in the Animations tab and choose the object from the menu options Repeat this process for each object.

Renaming objects in the Selection Pane helps if you have several objects to trigger. One reason I like this option, is because it allows me to animate in any order.

Text Animation Strategies

With all of the examples so far, I’ve worked with shapes and other objects. Text can be animated just like any other object on the slide. But here are some things to keep in mind.

Selecting the text box will animate each line separately Selecting all of the text in the text box will animate all of the text at once. To change the setting, highlight the line or lines and change the Start to On Click. Selecting each paragraph or line in a bullet and then choosing your effect, will animate each line separately.

Morph Transition

A more advanced animation people like to use is called morphing. Within PowerPoint, morphing is a transition and not an animation. That means you apply the effect to the entire slide and not an individual object. Morphing as its name implies is an object that is changed into something different. This can be a simple effect like moving and changing in color.

For this effect, I will duplicate the slide with the circle. On the second slide I’ll move the circle to the right side and changed the color fill. With the second slide selected in the thumbnail pane, I click the Transitions tab and select Morph.

The Preview shows you what it'll look like. As you can see, unlike a fly in type of animation, the object appears to be changing with a slight fade.

Advanced Morph Transition

An advanced morph transition can be used to make an object change into a different object. Like this example of a circle morphing into a star. To apply an advanced morph, create the two slides with the different objects.

Before applying the transition to the second slide, open the Selection Pane. Select the object on the first slide, then click the Selection Pane button either on the Home tab or in the Shape Format tab.

Within the Selection Pane, you can rename objects to help keep track of multiple objects. For this animation to work, the objects on each slide need to have the same name starting with 2 exclamation points. I will rename this object to !!morph1. And copy the name. And then press Enter to set the new name of the object.

Now I need to select the second slide. In the Selection Pane, double click in the name of the star object. And paste in the name of the first object. Then I will press Enter to set the new name.

Now with the second slide selected, I can apply the Morph transition. And it will show what the morph will looks like. This is one of my favorite tricks to add some pizazz to a slide deck.

Animating 3D objects

The last animation I want to show you is animating a 3D object, like this example. Many people aren’t aware that they have access to 3D objects within their 365 subscription.

To add a 3D object, click the Insert tab. Then click the 3D object button and choose from Stock 3D Models. Or if you have a model on your device, choose that option. Search and select the object you want. In this example, I will insert a Monarch Butterfly.

To view the different sides of the model, click the center button with the multiple arrows. And then just drag your mouse to view the object. With the model selected, click the Animations Tab. And you'll notice that the Gallery now has 3D animations added.

These will be cubes with arrows around them. For this example, I will use the turntable effect. With the Effects option button, I can make some adjustments like the direction and amount of spine as well as the spin axis.

Using the Morph transition with a 3D object can add an extra visual element. Using the butterfly again, I will duplicate the slide. For the first slide, I will delete the turntable animation and change it to top view.

On the second slide I will keep the side view and the turntable animation. Then I will apply the Morph transition to the second slide. The preview shows the butterfly smoothly transitions from the top view to the side view. and then the turntable animation begins.

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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