Animate Individual Elements of a PowerPoint Chart

Adding animations to charts in PowerPoint presentations can make the data come alive and help emphasize key points. Rather than animating the entire chart all at once, you can animate individual elements sequentially. This allows you to reveal the data piece-by-piece and direct the audience’s attention.

Why Animate Chart Elements

Animating parts of a chart has several benefits:

  • Emphasize key data: Reveal important numbers or trends sequentially to make them stand out
  • Tell a story: Show the data unfold on the slide to illustrate a progression over time
  • Engage the audience: Animations add interest and help keep viewers focused
  • Improve comprehension: Breaking down complex charts prevents information overload

Overall, animating chart elements strategically helps communicate essential information more effectively.

How to Animate Chart Elements in PowerPoint

Animating individual pieces of a PowerPoint chart is straightforward once you know how. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert chart: Add your desired chart type to the slide such as a column, bar, line or pie chart
  2. Select chart: Click the border of the chart to select the whole thing initially
  3. Open animation pane: Go to the Animations tab and click “Add Animation”
  4. Customize animation: Choose “Effect Options”>”Chart Animation” and pick an animation grouping like “By Series”
  5. Set sequence: Adjust the order and timing of animations in the Advanced Animation pane

Below are more details on each step:

1. Insert Your Chart

Start by inserting a chart onto your PowerPoint slide. Some options include:

  • Column or bar charts to show comparisons
  • Line charts to illustrate trends over time
  • Pie charts to demonstrate part-to-whole relationships

The example below inserts a stacked column chart:

Stacked column chart

Select any built-in PowerPoint chart type to continue.

2. Select the Entire Chart

With your chart inserted, the next step is to select the whole thing. Do this by:

  1. Clicking anywhere along the chart’s border
  2. Ensuring the circular resize handles appear around the perimeter

This indicates that the entire chart object is selected before applying animations.

3. Open Animation Pane

Go to the Animations tab in the ribbon and click “Add Animation” to bring up animation options:

Add animation menu

The default here would animate the entire chart all at once. We want to customize this further.

4. Customize the Chart Animation

Click on “Effect Options” next to the animation menu and select “Chart Animation” in the dialog box.

This brings up options to animate chart elements individually. Choose one like “By Series”:

Chart animation options

Now different series in the chart will animate separately.

5. Set Animation Sequence

In the Advanced Animation pane, you can rearrange the order of animations and set precise timing:

Advanced animation panel

For example, you may want to:

  • Reorder animations so the legend appears first
  • Start animations After Previous rather than all at once
  • Set delays between animations for clarity

Preview different options here to achieve the desired sequence.

Animate Other Chart Elements

Beyond animating by data series, you can animate a PowerPoint chart in different ways:

  • By category: Animate groups of related data points
  • By data point: Animate single data points individually
  • Background first: Show chart background before data
  • Legend: Make legend appear separately
  • Axis titles: Animate x-axis and y-axis text separately

Mix and match options to create a custom animation sequence that best presents your data.

Animation Best Practices

When animating PowerPoint charts, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Convey key points: Match animations to essential information in your verbal presentation
  • Keep it simple: Use subtle, consistent animation styles that don’t distract
  • Set expectations: Tell the audience that the chart will be built piece-by-piece
  • Check sequence order: Ensure animations logically display data components
  • Time transitions: Allow a moment between animations for clarity

Well-designed animations will boost audience engagement and comprehension.

Other Advanced PowerPoint Chart Options

Beyond basic animations, further customize your PowerPoint charts using features like:

Interactive controls: Let viewers filter data upon clicking
Triggers: Start animations by clicking or based on sequence
Morph transitions: Seamlessly transform chart types
Video backgrounds: Incorporate moving imagery

Take advantage of these options to create dynamic, cinematic charts that bring your data to life.


Animating parts of a PowerPoint chart sequentially is an impactful way to emphasize key information. By revealing data components one-by-one, you can craft a compelling data narrative that engages your audience.

Follow the steps outlined here to animate a chart by series, category, individual points, and more. Combine animations with other pro design techniques to create memorable presentations that clearly communicate your essential ideas.