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Bring Your Next Presentation to Life with PowerPoint Animation

Bring Your Next Presentation to Life with PowerPoint Animation

PowerPoint animations can be incredibly effective when used with care. But we all know what it looks like if they are overused or chosen poorly. These three tips can help you easily and effectively add PowerPoint animation effects to your next presentation!

  1. Start with a transition

  2. Your friend the fade

  3. When to make it move

Transition image

If you want to grab attention, focus the eye, or just make a slide pop, PowerPoint animations are a simple and effective way to do it! But we’ve all seen what happens when someone gets a little too excited about discovering PowerPoint animation effects: words bounce around, slides fly in and out, and the message is too often lost behind the bells and whistles that have been added. It can feel, for back of a better word, very PowerPointy. Don’t get us wrong, we love what a well-chosen PowerPoint animation brings to a deck, but like any tool, it's all in how you use it.

So let’s get back to basics, and look at a few of the easiest and most effective ways you can add PowerPoint animation effects to your next presentation!

PowerPoint animation basics

There are basically two types of animations you can use with presentations. 

Animations are motion effects that apply to objects on a slide. This means text coming on screen or elements moving around on your slide.

Slide transitions are motion graphics that link two different slides. Fades and wipes are the most common types of slide transitions, though there are lots of other ways you can transition between slides.

Start with a Transition

If you’re unsure of where to start with animations, a Fade slide transition is probably the single most effective PowerPoint slide animation you can add to your presentation. Not only is it simple to add, but it will add a level of polish to your presentation that will raise eyebrows on your next Zoom call. That’s because by default PowerPoint doesn’t use any transition when you move between slides, which creates an abrupt transition that feels more like a hastily assembled PDF than a carefully crafted deck.

But a basic Fade gives you just the right amount of transition to add sophistication without seeming forced or arbitrary. PowerPoint offers lots of other slide transitions, but many are too aggressive and tend to take attention away from your work, rather than complement it.

Slide transitions live outside of the normal animation section at the top of your PowerPoint design ribbon and will complete before any other assigned animation on the slide begins.

To add a fade slide transition to all your slides, select all the slides at once, choose Transitions > Fade > Apply to all

You’ll look like a pro without doing anything at all. And we’d know, since we use this trick all the time.

Your Friend, the Fade

Now that you’ve mastered the Fade, your next transition pro-tip is… the Fade!

More specifically, the Fade animation. This is by far our most used PowerPoint slide animation technique. In the software’s current version, there are 35 different PowerPoint animation effects you can choose from. If they removed all but the Fade, most people would never even notice. It’s just that good.

Fading in and out elements of your slide works in nearly any presentation type, and like its sibling, adds a level of polish and refinement that can elevate any message. And when you start getting comfortable with adding Fades, you can start changing the timing of fades, and applying them to create emphasis in different ways.

Make It Move

Here’s where things get tricky. Because even a little too much motion can be too much motion, start out by using this next tip sparingly.

There are two PowerPoint animation effects that we regularly use in our presentations: the wipe effect and rise up effect.

When you’re using shapes like arrows and lines to direct the viewer’s eye, adding a wipe effect can give the appearance that your graphics are being “drawn in,” making your slide come to life in front of your viewers.

And if you want to add some heft to a closing statement or a slide, adding a “rise up” effect can add some gravity to your words.

Manage animations in the Selection Pane

Once you start animating your slides, it can quickly become challenging to keep track of all the elements and labels you’re using. In it, you can label, reorder, and edit all of the animations you are using in one place. It’s a quick and easy way to wrangle complex slides.

Stick around for more

This is just the beginning of what you can do with animation in PowerPoint. In our Animation 101 blog, we break down some of the more complex ways to use animations, but if you’re just getting started, these should help you to learn the ropes. 

Have something you want to learn about PowerPoint? Let us know!

Update (02/24): we’ve revised this article to add some new details on tips for adding animations to your presentations

Looking for more information about presentation animation and beyond? Check out our resources for expert advice and tested strategies.

About the author

Danielle John is the founder of VerdanaBold. She has more than 25 years as an award-winning designer and creative lead, directing the visual expression and production of thousands of high-value new business pitches, C-level presentations and internal presentations for major global brands. When she’s not busy at VerdanaBold, she can be found antique shopping and spending time with her husband and two kids.



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