Our first PowerPoint animation tip is to remember the adage ‘less is more’. Using too much animation can distract from your overall message and make your presentation looks amateurish. However, when animation is used well, it can focus attention to key points, engage audiences, look slick and leave a lasting impression.
Before you begin
Before you start adding animations make sure the content is final. No further edits or changes – or you’ll be creating even more work for yourself if you have to alter animations. A useful tip for basic animation is to add text directly inside shapes instead of putting textboxes on top of shapes. We see this rookie mistake often. This makes animation a lot easier as you are working with single shapes and not groups.
Spend time getting familiar with the Animation Pane. Within this pane are all your animations in the order they will play. Green for entrance, yellow for an emphasis effect and red for exits. Animation occurs in one of 3 time states: on a click, after previous, or with previous. Plus there are options to delay the start time. It’s logical, but perhaps overwhelming at first glance.
If you are dealing with complex animation, we recommend renaming objects using the Selection Pane (on the Home tab, on the far right, click on the Select dropdown menu, and choose Selection Pane). Renaming objects makes it easier to animate a complicated sequence and also makes it a lot easier for anyone else who works on the presentation later to see what’s going on behind the scenes. (The same names also appear on the shapes in the Animation Pane).
Which animations look good?
As a rule, we stick to simpler, cleaner PowerPoint animations such as Fade, Fly In/Out, Wipe In/Out and Appear/Disappear. We also try to avoid having to click through the animations by setting them to appear either With Previous or After Previous. Unless we need to avoid and control cognitive overload.
Remember: people watch what moves. They notice what is different. Make sure what you are saying matches watch you are showing with an animation. You need the flow of animation to be synchronised with the flow of your words.
Always animate text sentences on clicks: this helps to prevent the audience from reading ahead and getting out of sync with the presenter. It’s a simple thing, but it’s incredibly important.
Applying multiple animations to one object
Instead of using the animations ribbon to apply animations in the Animations tab, make a habit of using the Add Animation button instead – otherwise any animation you have previously applied to an object will be overwritten.
To copy animations from one object to another, use the Animation Painter in the Animations tab. This works in the same was as the Format Painter and will bring over all of the animation effects and timings. New animations appear at the bottom on the pane, so move them to their correct place in the sequence as necessary.
Triggers (advanced PowerPoint animation tips)
The clue is in the name! A trigger makes something else happen. For example, if you want additional text to be hidden on your slide until you click an object – you can create a trigger to do this. Some examples of how triggers can be used can be seen in this short video:
Use transitions to animate
Transitions can create the illusion of animations. The Push transition (set to come in from the right) can create the effect of a timeline, as shown in this video.
In the right hands the Morph transition can mimic sophisticated animations, you can see this in action here.
When not to use PowerPoint animation
Don’t use animation if it is going to distract from your message. This is important! Also avoid using too much animation for presentations used in webinars. Because the streaming capabilities of all users are not the same. Poor internet connections may cause animations lag or mean they do not play at all.
To see how animation can increase interactivity:
Take a look at our video on vimeo: Presented’s Interactive PowerPoint Examples