How to Add Meaning to PowerPoint Transitions & Animations

You’ve surely played around with the animations and transitions in PowerPoint just to explore them and have some fun adding motion to objects. Well yes, they do have an entertaining effect but you might suddenly feel like adding random transitions to your slides actually makes no sense.

Unless those transitions and animations add to the meaning and support your story, having them for the sake of effects and visual stimulation is useless.

Let’s talk about what gives meaning to a transition and how you can help your slide convey your message better by animating certain objects in specific ways. This should be fun!

The difference between transitions and animations in PowerPoint

How do you decide whether you need to use a transition or an animation for your slides? Well, here’s the main difference between the two:

Transitions: They are the effects that help you make the transition from one slide to the other. To put it simpler – they are the motion between two slides.

Animations: They are effects that help you express or explain a subject on your current slide. You don’t need two separate slides to complete an animation.

How to create a simple Morph transition in PowerPoint

There are two important things you need to consider before adding the transition for your slides – context and relevancy. It’s all about creating a transition that stays within the context of what your slides are trying to say.

1. Place the content you want to have on your slide

2. Duplicate the slide

3. Select the object you want to move with the Morph transition

4. Open your Selection pane and rename the object starting with two exclamation marks. For example – !!Square

5. Add the content to your second slide.

6. Choose the final form and position you want your initial object to take.

7. Repeat step three and give it the same name you gave to the first object.

8. Go to Transitions and click Morph.

9. Do the same for the rest of the objects on your slide.

Congratulations, you did it! Enjoy your Morph transition and start experimenting with more creative solutions.

How to create a simple animation in PowerPoint

With animations, you have a bit more control over their duration, delay, order, and much more. Before you start animating your slides, explore the Animations tab and more specifically the options at the right side of the panel.

1. Start by adding your slide content while thinking about what and how you’re going to animate. Here’s an example with a simple text box.

2. Select the object you want to add motion to and go to the Animations tab. We recommend you use the simpler transitions like Fade, Fly In, Float In, etc.

3. After you choose your animation, you should open the Animation pane to access the settings that let you customize it and fine-tune the effects the way you want them.

Each PowerPoint animation has its own available settings, so don’t get surprised if you see a difference between them. For instance, we’re using the Fly In animation for our text box and we’ll set it to appear from the left side.

4. Insert some additional shapes you want to combine together with the motion in your main object.

For instance, here’s a white rectangle to match the background of the slide so the text doesn’t appear from the edge of it. Also, a separate line to use as an underline of an important part of the phrase.

5. Add an animation to the new shape or object and customize it in a way that stands out, but not too much to distract your audience from the main object.

For example, we’re adding the same Fly In animation, but this time we’re switching it around to appear from the right side of the slide.

Also, one more important detail. If you want two objects to be animated and trigger at the same time, you need to select the second object, go to the dropdown next to the Start field and select With Previous.

This way both objects will activate their animations at the same time, and not one after the other. Also, you need to adjust the length of the animations so they’re about the same.

6. Add more animations without overloading the slide. When you want to use two or more kinds of animations, always be careful and avoid triggering animations that don’t work together simultaneously.

For example, we want to have a full-screen image covering the entire slide and fading away for our main slide message to be revealed.

Add your image to the slide and select it to apply the Fade animation. It’s a very simple animation that always works best when you want to make your presentation have some motion, but don’t want to overload it.

To make the image fade away at the beginning of your slide, you need to use the Exit type of animations and select Fade from here:

Congratulations, you now have your animation ready to go! You can adjust the animation timing, duration, delay, and everything else from your Animation pane to achieve the exact effect you’re going for.

Ready to start?

These are some basic ways to add motion to your slides with PowerPoint transitions. Still, they can be more than enough for you to build slides that help drive your story forward with just enough motion to achieve the goals of your presentation without overwhelming the audience with too much unnecessary action. Let us know if you have any specific questions so we can help!


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