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Jan's Working with Presentations

   Format: Transitions & Animations

Using an effect when changing slides and when revealing a slide in stages can help your audience keep up with you by attracting their eyes to the screen and to the part that just changed. PowerPoint has a number of transition and animation effects that you can apply. Some are subtle. Some are a bit wild!


A slide transition applies to a whole slide. It changes how the slide comes into view.

With no transition, the new slide appears all at once, replacing the previous slide instantly.

With a transition effect you can make the whole slide fade in gradually or fly in from the side or be revealed in sections like opening blinds or strips. The extra time and motion give your viewers a chance to notice that there is a new slide.


An animation is similar to a transition but applies to only part of a slide, like a single bullet point or an image or a series in a chart.

With animation effects you can control the entrance, emphasis, and exit of the slide part.

Animations are often used to build a slide or chart, revealing each bullet point or chart series in turn. The whole set of animations for a slide is called a build.

It can get complex! For example, you could make a bullet point enter by flying in from the side and then enlarge itself and change color for emphasis and then exit by dimming the color.

WarningToo many motions and extravagant motions get annoying and distracting...  quickly!

Design Goal: Viewer should notice the new information more than the effect.

  • Use subtle, simple effects most of the time.

  • Pick a few effects and stick to them throughout the presentation.

  • Reserve the effects with the most motion for title slides between sections of the presentation or for a slide that is completely different from the rest.

  • Avoid using a cool effect that does not help the audience follow your points!

Remember: Motion for the sake of motion is a mistake!


There is an example presentation in your resource files that shows a few of the transitions and animations.

example-transitions-animations-ppt2013.pptx Icon: In this site

Each version of PowerPoint has a different set of transitions and animations to choose. Older versions may not play the newer, more exciting choices. Be warned!