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PowerPoint Fantastic Features:  Custom Animations & Using Layers and Triggers

PowerPoint Fantastic Features: Custom Animations & Using Layers and Triggers

September 25, 2017 in Corporate IT Training, Microsoft Office / by Craig Gerdes

Without a doubt, one of the most powerful features in PowerPoint is the ability to animate objects; there are several basic options available, which are very good. However, you can supercharge your animations and really dazzle your audience by creating custom animations and by using layers and triggers.

You can create custom animation effects using one of the following methods:

  • Applying multiple animation effects to one object
  • Applying motion path animation (including Custom path)

Applying Multiple Animation Effects to One Object

You can apply multiple animation effects to a single object, such as a picture or shape. For example, you could have an object animate on entrance, do something for emphasis, and then have an effect as it exits.

Click here for a video example of the Centriq logo entering the slide with a Fly-in effect, pulsating for emphasis, and then splitting upon exit.

Below are screen shots that show the animated object on the slide and the animated effects in the Animation Pane.


To do this:

  1. From the Animations tab, open the Animation Pane (it will appear on the right side of your screen).


TIP: Use the Animation Pane

The Animation Pane highlights all of the animated objects and all the effects applied to those objects.?? This makes it easier to change effect order, set effect options, arrange effect timings, and remove effects.?? In the Animation Pane, entrance effects are in green, emphasis effects are in yellow, and exit effects are in red.

2. Select the object on the slide that you want to animate. Then, click Add Animation, and pick an animation effect (entrance for example).

OPTIONAL: Set the options (such as fly-in from left, top, right, bottom) start time (for example, on click, with previous, after previous), and timings (including delay and duration) of the animation effect.


3. To apply additional animation effects (such as emphasis and exit) to the same object, select it again, then click Add Animation again and pick another animation effect.

If you try to add more animation effects any other way other than clicking Add Animation, you will not apply an additional Instead, you will replace the existing effect with the one you are adding.

TIP: Use the Selection Pane

When you are working with multiple objects on a slide, it can be difficult to differentiate each object and their applied animation effects from one another in the Animation Pane. You can use the Selection Pane to give each object a distinct name to make them easier to work with when applying animations to each.

To do this:

  1. On the Home tab, click Select, and then click Selection Pane.
  2. Then, double-click the default object name to open the box, and type a new name for the object.


Using Motion Paths (including Custom Options) for Animation

You can apply motion path animation effects to move objects on the slide from left to right (such as a person walking along a path or a car driving along a road) or top to bottom (such as a bird or a butterfly flying around and then landing on the ground).

You can use several built-in motion paths including basic options such as lines, turns, and loops and advanced options such as curvy, bounce, zigzag, and spiral. You can also draw your own path by creating a custom motion path.

Click here for a video example of a line path (person walking), wave path (butterfly flying), and custom path (bird taking off and then landing).

Below is a screen shot that shows the animated objects on the slide and the paths they take from start to finish.


To do this:

  1. Click the object you want to animate and then go to the Animations
  2. Scroll down to Motion Paths, and pick one. If you choose the Custom Path option, you will draw the path that you want the object to take. To stop drawing a custom path, press Esc or double-click at the end.


    1. If you do not see a motion path that you want click More Motion Paths.

PowerPoint-Fantastic Features-7

  1. To remove a motion path animation from the slide, click the motion path (dotted line with arrow), and then press Delete on the keyboard.
  2. Click Effect Options to do editing tasks like change the direction of the motion path or adjust the individual points of the motion path.

Using Layers and Triggers

You can trigger an animation effect to start when you click a shape or object. Triggers let you identify specific click points for effects rather than randomly clicking anywhere on the slide to start an animation effect.

Click here for a video example where the Earth is rotating automatically. Then by clicking the Earth, it triggers the “Appear” effect for the sun and then alternatively the moon and star “appear” with another click.

Below are screen shots that show the animated and triggered objects on the slide, the Animation Pane, and the Selection Pane.

  • Notice in the Animation Pane that the Earth animates first “On Click” and it continues to rotate until the end of the slide.
  • Notice the Sun is the first object that animates (appears) by clicking the Earth (trigger). Then the Moon and Star animate together and appear when clicking the Earth again and activating the trigger a second time. You can continually activate this animation sequence as often as necessary or desired by continuing to click the Earth.
  • Notice the renamed objects in the Selection Pane, as explained earlier in this article.
  • Notice how the Moon/Star initially hides the Sun on the slide. The Selection Pane can allow you to hide/show objects on the slide by clicking the eyeball icon next to an object (see TIP below for more details). This is similar to working with layers.

To do this:

  1. As usual, select the object you want to add an animation to and then from the Animations tab choose the animation effect. Repeat for each object as necessary.
  2. Next, with the object still selected, click Trigger, point to On Click of, and then select another object that when clicked will activate the trigger and play the animation on the selected object.


TIP: Open the Selection Pane where you can select, multi-select, show, hide, change the order of objects, and rename objects. Notice in the example below, when clicking the eyeball icons to “off” for the moon and star, they are hidden and now the sun appears for “editing” if necessary such as resizing, reanimating, recoloring, etc.


Thanks for reading and learning more about custom animations and layers and triggers. Have fun!

For more information about these features, take a PowerPoint Class from Centriq. For course descriptions and dates, see our website at https://centriq.com/corporate/class-schedule/?q=PowerPoint.

Be sure to watch for future blog articles in this PowerPoint series. The next topic will feature Terrific Tips for Presenting and then Awesome Add-ins. Also plan to attend a free PowerPoint Lunch and Learn on Wednesday, November 1.  We will feature live demonstrations of all of the items covered during this PowerPoint blog series. If you would like to attend, CLICK HERE to register.

In addition, if you would like more information about PowerPoint or other training classes available, contact a Centriq Training Advisor online or at 913.322.7062 for assistance.