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Custom Animation in PowerPoint

November 3, 2009 1 comment
Unfortunately, many people use animations as a rather gimmicky way to amuse an audience, which often leads to distraction from the primary message. The goal of using animation in PowerPoint should always be to enhance understanding and flow in a presentation. Each special effect should have a purpose. By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to:
  1. Animate a simple text object line by line
  2. Add an entrance and an exit effect to a shape
  3. Move a shape from one portion of the screen to another
  4. Re-order animation orders, set objects to appear with or immediately after another object, and change animation speed

Animation a simple text object line by line

Purpose: to introduce each concept in a stepwise manner.

We will start by working with a small text box and will make it so each paragraph comes in on its own. This also introduces the concept of the “Custom Animations” menu. Create a new slide and add text to the bulleted list. Use the “tab” key at the beginning of some of your lines to make them indented to level 2 in the outline. When you are finished typing, right click on the edge of your text box and select “Custom Animation…” from the list.
Right click - Custom Animation
On the right, you should see the “Custom Animation” pane. Click the “Add Effect” button, then select “Entrance” and then “Fly In.”
Add effect - Entrance - Fly In
Now, if you view this page in “Slide Show” mode, you’ll see that each portion will animate when you press your mouse (or right arrow, spacebar, enter button, etc.). Go ahead and try that now if you like.
Suppose, on the other hand, we wanted our text to all come in from the left side of the screen as opposed to from the bottom. To do this, we would select the “animate” event from the list and then selec the “Direction” we want from the dropdown list. You can also change the speed by clicking on the speed box.
Snap4 - Select Item in List Snap5 - Choose From Left
If you decided you didn’t want to use the “Fly in” animation, you could select your item from the list again and then click “Change” and then select “Entrance” and then choose what you want. I like to use either “Fade” and then set my speed to “Very Fast,” or I use “Appear.” These tend to be the least obnoxious while still allowing you to introduce concepts one at a time rather than all at once.
Right now, if you run your presentation, you’ll find that each top level (1st level) bullet is animated with each mouse click, but the nested bullets all appear with the 1st level. If we want to change this, we click on the animation in the list, then click on the down arrow Snap7 - Down arrow on the right. Select “Effect Options…” from the list.
Effect Options
Select the “Text Animation” tab, and then click on the “Group text:” dropdown and select “By 2nd level paragraphs.” Now, each of our bullets will appear on click, and the 2nd level paragraphs/bullets will not be grouped (will not appear) with the 1st.
Snap9 - Text animation - By 2nd level paragraphs
Congratulations! You have just animated your bulletted list. This is the basic building block upon which we will create the rest of our animations. There are lots of tricks and customizations out there. Let’s take a look at a few.

Add an entrance and an exit effect to a shape

Purpose: to emphasize an object or draw attention to something and then allow it to leave.

In this section, we will utilize the feature of adding more than one animation to an object. In this case, we will add an entrance and then an exit to an object. Begin by creating an object. It can be whatever object you choose. I’ll create a star. As an aside, as you’re creating your “Autoshape,” you can hold down the “shift” button (along with your mouse button) to constrain it to perfect proprortions (i.e. make a circle instead of an oval, a square instead of a rectangle, or a perfectly-proportioned star). After you have created your shape, right click on it and select “Custom Animation…” just like you did before. Then, click on “Add Effect” and choose what you want for an entrance effect. When you’re finished customizing your entrance effect, click on the shape again and click on “Add Effect,” but this time select “Exit” and select an exit effect. Customize this however you want.

Snap10 - Animate object - entrance Snap11 - Animate object - exit

Now, when you view this page in Slide Show view, you will first see your text animated, and then your object will enter on your click and then exit when you click again.

Move a shape from one portion of the screen to another

Purpose: To show movement or to help move attention from one portion of the screen to another.

We just added a few effects to one shape. Let’s now try moving an object from one portion of the screen to another. Go ahead and create a new shape, then select it and click on “Add effect,” and select “Motion paths,” then choose which one you want.

Snap12 - Create motion path

Once you’ve created the path, you can customize where exactly it goes. First click on the path, then click on the white dot overlaying the red arrow and drag it to where you want the animation to end.

Snap13 - Select path Snap14 - Click and drag

You have now created a motion path for the object.

Re-order animation orders, set objects to appear with or immediately after another object

Purpose: Reorder items so they appear when you want them to. Keeps good organization. Allows multiple items to animate together.

When working with several animations on the same page, it is unlikely that you will always create your animations in the perfect order that you want everything to appear. That’s why it’s easy to change the order in which animation appear. For example, let’s move the entrance on our first object to happen before the list appears. In the list on the right side, select the entrance and move it to before the list.

Snap15 - Select entrance Snap16 - Dragging animation Snap17 - Reordered item

Now, the object will enter, will remain there while the text is animated, and then it will disappear. You can also have an object animated in the middle of the text animation by first expanding the animation and then dropping the animation where you want it. Let’s do this for the motion path. First click the double down arrows to expand the text box, then move the motion path animation to in between the text.

Snap18 - Click to expand contents Snap19 - Drag motion path to middle of text animation

Nice job. The object now moves in the middle of the text being animated. But, let’s suppose we want our object to move while the previous text is coming into play. This time, click on the object’s animation in the list, then click in the “Start” dropdown, and select “With Previous.”

Snap20 - with previous

Now, the object will move as the previous shape is entering. If you wanted, you could also have chosen “After Previous,” and it would have begun automatically after the previous one had completed its animation. Since you’ve already expanded the text box, you could also click on one of the lines of text and decide you wanted it to come in with a previous line of text. The choice is yours.

Throughout this tutorial, you’ve been introduced to the basic concepts of the “Custom Animation” pane. You have animated both text and objects, added multiple animations to an object, created a motion path for an object, and learned to customize the order and timing of objects. I recommend continuing to play around with the various options that are presented to you. The “Custom Animation” pane gives you power to build your page and add emphasis to better enhance your message for your audience.

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