We all want to create more dynamic PowerPoint presentations. You know the kind, presentations that draw the audience in and hold their attention. One way to bring more life to your presentations is through the use of movement or animation.
Yes, it is definitely possible to make a PowerPoint presentation look impressively animated. All you have to do is spend MANY hours skillfully applying custom animation to every element on every slide, timing every animation exactly, then weaving the slides together with transitions. And actually, there are a few reasons why you might want to go to this much trouble — but I’ll save that for another post.
Meanwhile . . . most of the time, most of us just want to add some tasteful, functional visual effects to a presentation. So let’s start with very simple steps that can introduce movement into your PowerPoint presentation — easily and quickly.
First, building text. This is the most common and useful purpose for PPT animation—and if all you want to do is have the next text point appear on the slide when the presenter or viewer clicks the mouse, you can make it happen like magic. Select the text you want to animate, then on the Animation tab, pull down the Animate menu:
Choose Fade, By 1st Level Paragraphs. (If there are sub-level paragraphs under the first level, they will all appear at the same time.) By default, the build timing is set up for On Mouse Click, so that’s taken care of. And if you want every text slide with paragraphs to build the same way, you can apply this animation scheme to the Slide Master. Done.
There is a similar shortcut for adding motion to objects. Select an object and you will see a different pull down list for Animate:
If you choose Fade, the object will gradually appear in place. If you choose Wipe, it will spread in from bottom to top. If you choose Fly In, it will enter the slide from the bottom and travel to its correct position. Objects will do this in the order that the animation is applied—and little numbers will appear on the slide to show you the order of animated elements:
You can also apply Fade, Wipe and Fly In to titles (or any text that is not in paragraphs) by the same method, and that too can be done on the Slide Master for all slides. But each object must be animated separately on the slide where it is shown. (If there is text animation set up on the Slide Master, the text effect will automatically be ordered first, and any object animations on a specific slide will follow.)
Using these basic steps, you can easily create text builds and add motion to titles and objects. By keeping it simple, you will avoid having the presentation distract from the content. And you’ll also save time. To keep the presentation clean and crisp, leave off slide transitions (the ones in PowerPoint are very dull anyway) and don’t add object animation to more than a few slides—use it only to emphasize key points or to mark special slides, such as section dividers.
Beyond the Basics: For more complex presentations, and/or to achieve a more sophisticated level of design, you will need to move on to Custom Animation. Customizing allows you to:
- Apply animations for exit as well as entry
- Choose from a wide variety of animation effects
- Animate text at levels below the 1st paragraph
- Link animations to create longer sequences
- And much more . . .
Future tutorials will go beyond the basics to explore ways of using PowerPoint animation effectively. It’s not difficult—just takes some knowledge of fundamental concepts, and a little practice!