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PowerPoint animation tips: Don't be that person whose slides are deathly boring

JD Sartain | Feb. 11, 2015
Nothing can revive a DOA PowerPoint presentation faster than animations. Applied judiciously, these motion effects can bring dynamism to your deck and make your message more powerful.

Nothing can revive a DOA PowerPoint presentation faster than animations. Applied judiciously, these motion effects can bring dynamism to your deck and make your message more powerful.

Using the entrance and exit animations in PowerPoint 2013, text and other objects can drop, flip, or fly onto or off of your slide. You can make them pulse, spin or shimmer for emphasis. You can even set motion paths to make them slide, hop, and boomerang across the screen.

Add animations to objects

Start by creating a new slide or choosing one from an existing presentation. Look for slides that imply movement, change or progression — menus, maps, and charts are prime candidates — and keep it to about one-third of the total number of slides so it doesn't get distractingly busy.

Next, select an object on the slide and click the Animations tab. Choose an animation from the icons displayed. Effects are color-coded by type — green for Entrance animations, yellow for Emphasis, red for Exit, and blue for Motion Paths. When you select an animation effect, PowerPoint immediately previews it so you can see what it does. If you don't like it, click the object again, select a different effect, and it's replaced.

Note that additional animation options are available on the submenus at the bottom of the Animations list.

Rename all your objects

Before you add any more effects, it's a good idea to rename all the objects on your slides. You'll quickly lose track of which text box is the title and which graphic is the clock if you try to rely on the generic default names. To do this, select an object , then click the Format tab (note: the Format tab is visible only when an object on the screen is selected). Next, select Arrange > Selection Pane, and the Selection window opens with a list of all your animations. Double-click each one and give it an easily identifiable, descriptive name. When finished, close the window. Now, if you add more effects to any of the current objects, PowerPoint will use these names.

Combine effects

Objects are not limited to one animation effect. You can combine animations to make a slide element really stand out. For instance, you could make the six menu items in our example presentation fade in one at a time, then add a second effect that makes all of them shimmer simultaneously once the full menu is displayed.

To combine effects, select an object that has already been animated. Select Animations > Advanced Animation > Animation Pane > Add Animation, and pick another animation from the list. Repeat this process for each animation you want to add to that object.

 

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