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PowerPoint for Mac Animation Tutorial


Applying animation in PowerPoint for Mac is a bit different than in the Windows version. This in-depth, step-by-step tutorial covers how to animate in PowerPoint for Mac 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.

Animation Effects Overview

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 pulsate.

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 Path Animation. With this animation an object will move in a certain way on the slide like from one location to another.

Apply 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.

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 occurs if you have more than one object animating on the slide.

Changing an animation direction (Effects Options)

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.

Motion Path animation

The next effect I want to touch on is the Path Animation option. You can choose a basic effect like moving in a straight line. Or something highly custom like drawing your own path.

With the Path Animation, 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 path animation, the animation possibilities are quite extensive, especially if you use it with other effects.

Applying Animation to Two or More Objects

If you have several objects that you want to animate, here are some strategies I use to save time.

If you want to animation multiples of the same shape the same way, add the first shape, add the animation, and then press Command D to duplicate the shape. Rearrange as needed. 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 it is another option either on the same slide or on another slide. To copy, either use command C, right click and copy, or the copy button in the Home tab. Then paste by using Command V, right click and paste, or the Paste button in 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 pain Pressing Command D or right click and choose duplicate.

Looking at the second slide, you can see that the object has an animation indicator. I will change the object’s color so we can see what it looks like. I will 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.

Animation Painter

You can also use the. Once you’ve added an animation to an object, 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.

Animation Timing and Duration

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 two timing settings: Start and Duration.

The Start timing determines how the animation will start. The default is On Click. So, when you click your mouse the animation begins. For these three objects, every time I click my mouse the next 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.

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 just type in the duration you want. In this example, you can see the triangle fly in is much slower. As a side note, the duration can’t be changed for some animations.

Applying multiple animations to one object

Now that you know how to modify a single animation, we can move on to applying multiple animations to one object. In Mac OS, if you select a new animation from the gallery, it will add the animation along with the previous selection.

You can quickly apply multiple animations to an object just by clicking the next animation you want. For example, if I want an object to fly in, pulse, and then fly out I select the object.

Choose the Fly in animation. Then choose Pulse as an emphasis. And then I add the third animation by choosing Fly Out in the Exit button option. In Preview this is what it looks like. Earlier in this video, I demonstrated the Animation Painter, when you have multiple animations, this option comes in handy.

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.

In Mac OS, just clicking on an object with an animation won’t activate certain features on the Animations Tab. You typically need to open the Animation Pane to active those options.

From the animation pane, you can see the order of the animations. They are listed from beginning to end. A mouse pointer means on click. No icon means with previous. And a clock indicates 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, lines to the left means enter and lines to the right means exit. Lines all around indicate an emphasis effect.

If you want to change the order of the animations, you can use the up and down arrows. Or 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 easy. Select the animation and press the Delete key. Or click the small red X in the upper left corner of the pane.

Below the animation sequence, there are more settings for the effects and timings. Let’s take a look. You will notice there are four sections: Effect Options, Timings, Triggers, and Text Animation.

In the Effects section, you can add a Dim after animation setting. I usually apply this to content that is part of a list. I dim the content I’ve already discussed and then display the next point. Here is an example of this feature.

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

The Timing section provides the same options as on the Animation tab for Start and Duration. An additional option Delay. 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.

You can use the up and down arrows to increase or decrease the animation delay by quarter intervals. Or you can type in the actual length of the 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 a slow flash. Rewind when done playing will active when you have set a specific repeat number.

Trigger Animation

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 must be clicked for the animation to work.

To do this, apply the 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

You can also use the Triggers section, in the Animation Pane. 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 or other objects. Text can be animated just like any other object on the slide. Some things to keep in mind when working with text.

Selecting the text box will animate each line separately with the default On Click.

Selecting all of the text in the text box will animate all of the text at once as a as a With Previous start. To change the setting, highlight the line or lines Change the Start setting to On Click

Selecting each paragraph or line in a bullet list and then choosing your effect, will animate each line separately.

Morph Transition

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

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 what it looks like. As you can see, unlike a fly in type of animation, the object appears to be changing with a slight fade.

Advanced Morph Transitions

An advanced morph transition can be used to make an object change to 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 on 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 after the 2 exclamation points. And copy the name. Press Enter to set the new name.

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. 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 look 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 with their 365 subscription.

To add a 3D object, click the Insert tab Then click the 3D models 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. Drag your mouse to view the object.

With the model selected, click the Animations Tab. You will notice that each gallery now has 3D animations added. These will be cubes with arrows around them. For this example, I will use the turntable effect in the Emphasis gallery. The preview shows what it will look like.

With the Effects option button, I can make some adjustments like the direction and amount of spin as well as the spin axis.

Using Morph and 3D object animation

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 using the 3D Model tab.

On the second slide I will keep the side view and the turntable animation.

I will change the Start to With Previous Then I will apply the Morph transition to the second slide. Viewing in Presentation mode, shows the butterfly smoothly transitions from the top view to the side view.

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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