When to Use PowerPoint Animation in Your Presentation

PowerPoint animation can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. The word “animation” tends to terrify most people when they think about actually trying it out in their presentations. On the other hand, some people use PowerPoint animations as an opportunity to get in touch with their creative genius side, which can lead to a visual disaster that blows your audience away…far away. You don’t want to create situations where your audience is bored or dizzy during your presentation.

Luckily, even if animation isn’t in your skillset, PowerPoint makes animating objects pretty easy and user-friendly. In fact, most of the situations where animation is most used really aren’t that complex, requiring minimal effort to apply. There are three common situations in which a simple application of motion can be really effective:

  1. Animate Bullet Points or Key Points
  2. Call out your Chart Data
  3. Make an Intro with Text Effects

Firstly, when making animations, there are 2 key areas to focus on once you’ve selected the object you want to animate: The Animation Ribbon and the Animation Pane.

1. Bullet Points and Key Points

Bullet Points and Key Point Lists are probably one of the most common use cases. When you are wanting an audience to pay attention to one point at a time, the best way to keep them from getting distracted by multiple ideas at once is to show them one piece of information at a time.

1: Select your bullet point list, and then select the “Fade” effect from the first ribbon in the “Animations” tab.

2: In the Animation Pane use the “On Click” option from the menu next to “Start:” in the “Timing” settings.

3: Next, You’ll want to adjust the animation so that each line appears individually. Simply go to “Text Animations” settings in the Animation pane, select “First Level” next to the “Group text:” option.

2. Calling out your Chart Data

Using charts and graphs as a visualization tool to help your audience understand Data is a perfect way to simplify metrics. Did you know you can actually animate charts? My favorite way to use animation here is for Bar Charts so that I can make the bars appear like they are growing up using the Stretch animation effect. Here’s how:

STEP 1: With the Animation Pane opened, select your chart and click the “Stretch” animation in the first ribbon. You’ll notice the animation is added in the Animation Pane on the right.

STEP 2: Click on the animation in the Animations Pane and the settings menus will open below it. In the “Effect Options” menu, select “From Bottom” next to the “Property:” settings.

STEP 3: Next select the “Timing” menu where you can adjust when it appears next to “Start:”.

STEP 4: In the “Chart Animations” menu select “By Element in Category” and uncheck the box next to “Start animation by drawing the chart background.”

3. Making an Intro with Text Effects

We are all used to the flat text on a background scenario for slides like Title slides, Section Headers, and even Testimonial Slides, but adding animation here can make your presentation feel more sophisticated whether your slide is a Title, Section Header, or Testimonial slides.

It can be easy to overdue PowerPoint animation on these types of slides because most of the time, there’s not much content other than a text header, maybe a subhead, and a description. Whatever the situation, keeping it simple is better.

While it’s usually best practice to use a less distracting entrance effect such as “Fade” or “Float in,” I also like to use the “Whip” effect for the main title or subhead. Using the “Appear” effect with its Text Animations set to animate text “By Letter” is also a useful technique if you want to make it look like each letter is being typed out.

While PowerPoint offers a decent variety of animated effects for different types of situations, a good rule of thumb is to make sure the animation you use is conducive to the type of story you’re telling with the slide, and remember to keep your animations consistent throughout the presentation.

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