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Home > Lessons > Jan's CompLit 101 > Working with Presentations > Format > Transitions & Animations > Animations

Jan's Working with Presentations

   Format: Transitions & Animations:

An animation effect applies a motion to or changes the appearance of part of a slide, such as a bullet point or an image or part of a chart. A common animation effect makes each bullet point appear only after a click.

Why use animations?

By using animations you can help your audience absorb the information gradually, instead of hitting them with a whole slide's worth of info at once.

When a new slide appears with a lot of info, your audience will sit there reading it all while you are trying to talk about just the first point. They may miss your wonderful words!

Adding a bit of motion or sound when something new appears on the screen helps keep your audience awake and attentive. Too much will annoy them and distract them from your presentation. It's a fine line to walk!


Animation Choices

You have a wide choice of animation effects, including many that are similar to the transition effects. Too many to list here!

There are four aspects of your objects that can be controlled with animations. You can combine these to create complex behaviors.

  • Icon: Animation - Entrance Entrance - how the object or text comes into view
  • Icon: Animation - Emphasis Emphasis - a change that occurs after the object or text is fully in view
  • Icon: Animation - Exit Exit - how the object or text leaves the slide
  • Icon: Animation - Motion Path Motion Path - how the object or text moves around on the slide

Dialog: Change Entrance Effect Dialog: Change Emphasis Effect (PowerPoint 2010)
Dialog: Change Exit Effect Dialog: Change Motion Path (PowerPoint 2010)

Icon: PowerPoint 2010 PowerPoint 2010: Effects lists = Entrance, Emphasis, Exit, Motion Path

WarningNot too much: A cute and interesting effect can quickly become highly annoying when used too often! 

Animations Ribbon and Pane

PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2010 are different in how they let you access animations. The directions in the Step-by-Step portion will often be different for each version.

PowerPoint 2007 with Animations ribbon and Custom Animations paneIcon: PowerPont 2007 PowerPoint 2007: The Animations ribbon tab contains transitions and a Custom Animation button that opens an old style Custom Animation pane. You must open this pane to add animations. Awkward!

  • Add animation effect: Click Custom Animation button to open the pane. Click Add Effect button in pane and pick an effect.
    Effect is added to the list in the bottom part of the Custom Animation pane.
  • Manage effect options: Use the drop menu for the effect in the Custom Animation Pane.
  • Change order of effects: Drag effect to new position in the list or use arrows at the bottom of the pane. 

PowerPoint 2010 with Animations ribbon tab and Animations PaneIcon: PowerPoint 2010 PowerPoint 2010: Animations and Transitions each have a ribbon tab of their own.

  • Apply animation effect: Select an effect in the Animations palette on the ribbon.
    Effect is added to the list in the Animation pane. The pane does not open automatically.
  • Manage effect options: Select Effect Options button on the Animations ribbon tab or use the drop menu for the effect in the Animation Pane.
  • Change order of effects: Drag effect to new position in the Animation Pane or use arrows at the bottom of the pane.

Icon: TroubleProblem: Add Effect button or palette of animations is grayed out.
No animations in either version of PowerPoint are available until you select an object or text that can take an animation.
Solution: Select something that can take an animation!

Once you apply an animation, it is listed in the animation pane and a matching numbered square appears in the Slide Pane next to the slide part that is animated. If the pane is not open, you won't see those very helpful numbers on the slide! 

Configure an Animation

Some options for an animation are on the ribbon, some are in an effects drop list, and some are in a dialog that opens from the drop list. You can get complete control, but you have to dig deep for some things!



Effect Drop List
in animation pane

Menu for effect - in Animation Pane (PowerPoint 2010)
Effect Options dialog
Dialog: Effects Options

Animation Features

Start: You can control when an animation starts.

Icon: PowerPont 2007Pane Menu: Custom Animation - option Start; Icon: PowerPoint 2010RibbonRibbon: Animations > Timing - Start drop list (PowerPoint 2010)

  • only on click

  • together with previous animation (including the transition)

  • after previous animation has finished

TipAutoAdvance: For a slide show to run automatically, all animations must run either with or after the previous animation, plus slide transitions must advance on a timer.  

Property: For most animations you can modify a property, like the direction of the motion, the font style or color, or the degree of rotation.

Icon: PowerPont 2007 Pane Menu: Direction of animation (PowerPoint 2007); Icon: PowerPoint 2010 Ribbon button  Button: Effect Options - list dropped (PowerPoint 2010)

Speed: For most animations you can select a speed/duration. PowerPoint 2010 also lets you set a delay before running the animation.

Icon: PowerPont 2007 Pane Menu: Speeds (PowerPoint 2007); Icon: PowerPoint 2010 Ribbon  Ribbon: Animations > Timing (PowerPoint 2010)


Paragraph animation: Your bullet lists can appear all at once or one at a time. PowerPoint 2007 has this choice on the ribbon. PowerPoint 2010 has it in the effect options. For both versions, you can get more detailed control in the effect's options dialog.

Icon: PowerPont 2007 Ribbon Button: Animate - list dropped (PowerPoint 2007); Icon: PowerPoint 2010 Ribbon button Button: Effect Options - list dropped (PowerPoint 2010)

Text animation: You can apply most text animations either letter by letter, word by word, or all at once. The dialog for the effect's options is where you find this choice.

Icon: PowerPont 2007  Icon: PowerPoint 2010 Effect dialog Dialog: Effect Options - list for Animate Text (PowerPoint 2010)

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Animations

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn: to apply an animation
to remove and restore an animation
to apply animations to the Master slide

Start with:  Icon: Class flash driveAnniversaryTripsOffer4-Firstname-Lastname.pptx from the Class disk

Apply Animation

An animation applies to an object on a slide while a transition applies to the slide as a whole. The animations palette is grayed out until you select something on a slide that can be animated. Animations are grouped as Entrance, Emphasis, Exit, and Motion Paths. Some are the same effect as in Transitions, but applied to only an object instead of the whole slide.

  1. Icon: Class flash driveOpen AnniversaryTripsOffer4-Firstname-Lastname.pptx from your Class disk.
    (NOT the autorun version you created last in the previous lesson which was saved as AnniversaryTripsOffer4-auto-Firstname-Lastname.pptx.)

  2. Ribbon: Animations - grayed out (PowerPoint 2010)Switch to the Animations ribbon tab.
    All animation options are grayed out. You have not yet selected anything that can take an animation.

  3. Icon: Experiment Experiment: Animations

    • On Slide 1, click on the title placeholder on Slide 1 to select it.

    • Click each of the animations in the palette.
      AutoPreview runs the animation in the Slide Pane.
      Can you guess from the icon what the motion or change will be?
      Icon: TroubleProblem: No AutoPreview
      This choice can be turned off.
      Solution: On the Animations ribbon tab, click the Preview button and then on AutoPreview.
      Verify that AutoPreview is on by clicking the Preview button again. There should be a check mark beside AutoPreview.

  4. Close the presentation without saving any of your changes.
    (You may not be able to Undo enough times to get rid of all the changes.)

Apply Animation

The animation effect you pick is applied to the parts of the slide that are currently selected. The disadvantage is that you cannot apply the same effect to different slides at the same time. In PowerPoint 2010 you can use the Animation Painter to copy animation effects to other objects. It's about time they added this feature!

  1. Slide 2 - a bulleted list Icon: Class flash driveReopen AnniversaryTripsOffer4-Firstname-Lastname.pptx

  2. Show Slide #2 in the Slide Pane.

  3. Click in the bullet list to select that placeholder. 

  4. Select animation:

    Icon: PowerPont 2007 PowerPoint 2007:

    • Adding Fly In as an animation (PowerPoint 2007)In the Animations ribbon tab, click the button Custom Animation Button: Custom Animation (PowerPoint 2007).
      The Custom Animation pane opens at the right of the Slide Pane.

    • In the new pane, click the button Add Effects.
      A list of categories appears.

    • Hover over Entrance to expand its list.

    • Click on Fly In.
      A new item appears in the white area of the pane.

      Icon: Trouble Problem: Fly In is not in the list
      Other effects have been used, pushing Fly In off the list.
      Solution: Click on More Effects... at the bottom of the list and look through the expanded list to find Fly In. 

    • Animation Menu: Direction- From Left (PowerPoint 2007)Click the arrow to the right of the Direction box to open its list.

    • Click on From Left.

      Animation added to list in Custom Animation pane. Animated parts get a number.The Custom Animation task pane now shows a collapsed list of animations that run one after the other.

      The first bullet point and its subpoint in the Slide Pane are both labeled with Number 1 label for placeholder with first animation the number 1. This means that they will animate at the same time with the effect that is #1 in the list in the Custom Animation pane.

      All of the objects with the same number run their animations at the same time. 

    • Screentip: Name of animation effect; beginning of text (PowerPoint 2007)Expanded effects list (PowerPoint 2007)Click the double down chevron Chevron: Double Down (PowerPoint 2007) below the #1 effect in the list to expand the list.

      The pane shows when the animation runs:
      Icon: On Click Mouse icon = Effect runs when you click on the slide.
           No icon = Effect runs with the previous effect
      Icon: Animation - After PreviousClock icon = Effect runs after the previous effect is finished.

    • Hover over the second item in the list.
      A screen tip appears that shows how the effect will appear (On Click, With Previous, or After Previous), gives the name of the effect, and shows the first words in the paragraph (Offer to 200...). This tip does NOT tell you the direction or speed, which should be showing above in the pane.

      All four paragraphs are using the same effect, Fly In.

    • Click on the second effect to select it.

    • In the top of the Custom Animation pane, change Start to On Click.

    • Repeat for the last animation effect.

    Icon: PowerPoint 2010 PowerPoint 2010:

    • Slide 2 showing numbers for animations applied (PowerPoint 2010)On the Animations ribbon tab, click on the Fly In effect in the Animations palette.


      The slide changes to show animation numbers. The default is to apply the effect to each paragraph in order, not all at once. The Animation pane does not open automatically.

    • Add Fly In -from Left animation to Slide 2 (PowerPoint 2010)Click the button Effect Options and choose From Left

    • Animation Pane opened. (PowerPoint 2010)Click the Animation Pane button Button: Animation Pane (PowerPoint 2010) to open that pane.

      The Animation pane now shows a collapsed list of animations. Paragraphs or objects with the same number will animate at the same time.
      The default seems to be to require a click to get the next numbered animation to run. Sub-points show up with the main bullet point by default. Not often a good plan! 

    • List of animations expanded (PowerPoint 2010)Click the double down chevron Chevron: Double Down (PowerPoint 2010) to open the list of effects.

      The tan rectangle Duration rectangle for an animation (PowerPoint 2010) represents the time the effect will take to play. Changing the duration of an effect will change the width of the rectangle.

      The pane shows when the animation runs:
      On Click - Effect is numbered
      With Previous - tan rectangles line up at left
      After Previous - tan rectangles are staggered
    • Effect 2 changed to Start = On Click (PowerPoint 2010)

      Click the second item (Offer to 200...) in the list to select it.

    • On the ribbon, change the Start control to On Click.
      The effects are renumbered.

    • Repeat for the last animation effect: select and change Start to On Click.
      Now all paragraphs will show up only after you click. 

  5. Click on Button: Play (PowerPoint 2010) the Play button in the pane to see the effect of your animations in the Slide Pane.
    The animations play without any clicks! Did you expect that??  

  6. Click on the Slide Show button Button: Slide Show (PowerPoint 2010) on the Views bar to view the actual show.
    You will have to click to advance to the next effect.
       TipAlways check animations in the full Slide Show: The preview of animation effects in the Slide Pane never waits on a click. Always check the Slide Show itself to be sure the effect is behaving the way you intended.

  7. Press the ESC key to stop the Slide Show after the slide has finished.
    You are returned to the editing window.

  8. Icon: Class flash driveSave As   AnniversaryTripsOffers5-Firstname-Lastname.pptx  to your Class disk in the powerpoint project2 folder.
    Icon: Full flash drive How to handle a full Class disk

Modify Animation: Effects Options

The Effects Options dialog offers even more control over an animation effect than the Animation Pane.

  1. Menu: Animation effect (in pane) > Effect Options (PowerPoint 2010)Click animation #3 (Actual) in the list in the task pane to open the menu.
    (Or right click the item in the list.)

  2. From the menu select Effect Options...
    A dialog appears with tabs. What tabs and choices you see will vary, depending on what animation has been applied. 

  3. Dialog: Effect Options (Fly In) > Effect > By letter (PowerPoint 2010)

    On the Effect tab, change the item Animate text to  By letter and click on OK.
    Look quick! The Slide Pane runs a preview of the changed animation.

    Icon: Question markEvaluate: Do you like this effect?
    Is it helpful? Interesting? Annoying?

  4. Icon: Class flash driveSave.

  5. Icon: Experiment Experiment: Edit Effects
    Try out some of the options in the Effects Options dialog.
    Apply a different effect and see if the options are different.
    When you are finished experimenting, close the presentation without saving changes and open it up again. No worries about the Undo list with this method! 

Remove and Restore Animation

Let's suppose that you decide you don't like the changed animation. You can dump the whole thing with the Remove command, but you may lose more than you expected.

  1. Select the second animation in the list.

  2. Press the DELETE key.
    The item is gone.  

  3. Click on the Play button to see how the animations are working now.
    Hmmm. That looks weird. The line "Offer to 200..." shows up with the slide and then the other paragraphs show up. That's not quite what we need. Maybe Undo can save the day.

  4. Button: Undo > list = Custom Animation (PowerPoint 2010)Click on the arrow at the right of the Undo button Button: Undo (PowerPoint 2010) on the toolbar to open the list of actions. You may see quite a number of Custom Animation items in this list.

  5. Click on the first Custom Animation at the top.
    This returns the animation that you deleted.

  6. Click Undo again.
    This should/might get you back before you changed the third effect to By Letter.

  7. Check the change: Click the Play button to preview the slide's animations.
    If you went back too far, click the Redo button.
    If you have not gone back far enough, click the Undo button again.
    Play the slide animations again. Keep trying until you get the correct effect. (If you get entirely too frustrated, you can always re-create the animation!)  

Apply Animation to Master

Now that you have picked and configured a animation, you should use the same animation on the similar slides.  In PowerPoint 2007 there is no way to copy and paste this formatting of animations. PowerPoint 2010 has a new feature called Animation Painter that will copy all of an object's animations to another object. But you still have to apply the animation to each slide separately!

An alternate plan - If you are going to use the animation on all slides or all of a certain layout, you can apply your animation to the Slide Master.
Disadvantage - The Animation Pane does not let you edit or remove any animations applied to a master layout. You have to edit those in Slide Master view.

  1. Open the Slide Master View.

  2. Select the body text placeholder.

  3. Apply the Fly In effect with -
     Start: On Click
     Direction: From Right
     Speed/Duration: Very Fast/0.5 sec.

  4. Play the animation.
    All of the bullet levels fly in one after the other. That's what we wanted.

  5. Click the Slide Show View button on the Views bar to play the whole slide show. 
    Look carefully at how Slide #2 plays. The custom animation you applied to the first placeholder is running in addition to the animation from the Master. Odd effect!

    Continue through all of the slides.

  6. Return to Normal view.

  7. Animation Pane: Layout:Body added at top (PowerPoint 2010)Select Slide #2 again and look at the list of animations.
    In the Animation Pane at the top is a new entry- Layout: Body. You no longer need the animation you applied earlier.

  8. Remove each of the animations in the list below Layout: Body.

    TipYou cannot delete animations applied by the Slide Master from here.  That is shown by the effect name being in gray.

    If you want to do something different on a particular slide, you could:

    • Apply a different layout to the slide.


    • Animation Pane: Copy Effects to Slide for effects applied to the master (PowerPoint 2010)Open the menu for the effect and choose Copy Effects to Slide and make the changes that you want. These changes apply to just this slide! Cool feature!!

  9. Play the Slide Show again. All should work as planned now. If not, go back and fix any errors.

  10. Icon: Class flash driveSave.