How to Create and Use Progress Bar in PowerPoint

Progress bars are an effective way to visually demonstrate progress and guide your PowerPoint presentation audience. They promote engagement by structuring the flow and providing a sense of closure. This article will show you how to easily create progress bars in PowerPoint to level up your presentations.

Why Use Progress Bars in Presentations?

Here are some key benefits of using progress bars in PowerPoint:

  • Set expectations – Progress bars let your audience know where they are in the presentation so they can anticipate timing and topics ahead. This reduces anxiety and uncertainty.
  • Focus attention – When audiences see the presentation progressing, they are more likely to re-engage with your content. Progress bars promote attentiveness.
  • Enhance flow – Breaking down key stages into steps with a progress bar improves the logical flow of your presentation.
  • Add visual appeal – Progress bars make presentations more visually compelling and professional. Simple but effective design elements.
  • Emphasize milestones – Use progress bars to call attention to major milestones and wins as you move through content.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Make a Progress Bar in PowerPoint

Follow these simple steps to create an animated progress bar in PowerPoint:

1. Insert a Rectangle Shape

  • Go to the Insert tab and click Shapes
  • Select a rectangle shape with rounded corners
  • Drag to desired size on the slide

This rectangle will become your progress bar.

Insert progress bar shape

2. Format the Shape

  • Select shape and go to Format tab
  • Expand Shape Fill and choose No Fill
  • For Shape Outline, increase the weight to 8pt or higher for a bold outline

This sets up the container.

3. Animate the Shape as a Bar

  • With shape selected, go to Animations tab
  • Click Add Animation > More Entrance Effects > Wipe
  • Choose the Wipe direction you prefer

This will make the shape fill in with your chosen effect.

Animating progress bar

4. Adjust Animation Flow and Duration

  • On Animations tab, open Effect Options
  • Set animation duration to 1-2 seconds
  • Select the animation and use the arrows to reorder it earlier in the sequence

A smooth, quick animation improves the progress bar.

5. Duplicate and Update per Slide

  • Copy and paste the animated progress bar shape to additional slides
  • For each slide, adjust the Wipe animation to fill more of the shape
  • Position the bars consistently on each slide

This completes your animated progress bar!

Progress Bar Design Tips

Here are some best practices for styling progress bars in PowerPoint:

  • Use solid, high contrast colors for the bar and background. Avoid busy patterns.
  • Pick a minimalist, flat design that matches your presentation theme.
  • Animate the bar gradually rather than all at once.
  • Display progress horizontally rather than vertically.
  • Show progress in 10-25% increments for ideal granularity.
  • Position at top or bottom of slides to avoid covering content.

Creative Progress Bar Alternatives

Beyond basic horizontal bars, consider these creative ideas:

  • Progress circles – Animated circles that fill provide a more modern, engaging option.
  • Icons – Checkmarks, stars or other icons can indicate milestones.
  • Roadmaps – Literally show a road or path with markers.
  • Processes – Images for each step in a process or workflow.

Don’t limit yourself to boring blue bars! Use shapes, icons and graphics that reinforce your presentation’s theme.


Adding clean, well-designed progress bars to your PowerPoint slides is an impactful way to improve presentation flow, engagement and aesthetics.

With these simple tips, you can create smooth animated progress bars to level up your next PowerPoint deck. Just remember to focus on high contrast colors, minimalist designs, gradual animations and strategic placement.

Now you have the power to showcase progress with professionalism and panache!