How to Use Animations in PowerPoint: The Ultimate Guide

Animations can make a PowerPoint presentation more dynamic and visually appealing. When used effectively, animations can emphasize important points, make complex ideas more understandable, and add polish to a presentation.

Follow these tips to add smooth, professional animations to your next PowerPoint deck:

Getting Started with Animations

The Animations Tab

The Animations tab in PowerPoint provides all the tools you need to add and manage animations. This tab allows you to:

  • Select an animation effect
  • Customize effect options like direction and speed
  • Reorder animations
  • Set effect triggers

Animation Pane

The Animation Pane gives you more control over the timing and playback of animations. Click on the Animation Pane button in the Advanced Animation group on the Animations tab to open it.

Preview Animations

Test animations using Slide Show view. Use the Play From Start button on the Animations tab to preview the animations from the beginning.

Types of Animations

There are four main types of animations in PowerPoint:

Entrance Animations

These animations allow objects to enter the slide with different effects like:

  • Fade in
  • Fly in
  • Bounce in
  • Zoom in

Entrance animations help direct focus and reveal ideas one element at a time.

Emphasis Animations

These animations draw attention to specific elements on the slide rather than introducing new content. Examples include:

  • Spin
  • Pulse
  • Flicker

Use emphasis animations sparingly to highlight key points.

Exit Animations

Exit animations remove elements from the slide at the end of their duration with effects like:

  • Fade out
  • Fly out
  • Flip out

Pair exit animations with entrance effects to keep the flow smooth.

Motion Paths

With motion paths, you can move elements on a customized route across the slides with effects like:

  • Lines
  • Arcs
  • Freeform paths

Motion paths can illustrate ideas and relationships between concepts.

Animation Best Practices

Follow these guidelines to use animations effectively:

Keep it simple

Limit animations to 1-2 per slide, using straightforward effects like fade, float or wipe. Complex animations can be distracting.

Be consistent

Use the same style animation to represent the same type of information across your presentation. For example, always use a “fly in” animation when new text appears.

Emphasize key points

Use subtle animations to highlight important text, data, images or diagram elements without overdoing it.

Maintain flow

Make sure animations have consistent timing and transition smoothly from one to the next. Group related elements and sequence animations logically.

Use triggers wisely

Triggers allow animations to start on click rather than automatically. Use triggers sparingly and only when interactivity serves a clear purpose.

Test thoroughly

Preview your animations in Slide Show view on different devices to ensure they display properly and run smoothly. Refine as needed.

With the right balance of motion and consistency, animations can make your PowerPoint presentations more visually compelling and effectively emphasize your core message. Follow these tips to add polish without distraction.