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How to Quickly Add Good Animations to Your PowerPoint PPT Presentations

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Read Time: 15 min
This post is part of a series called How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
How to Record Narration in a PowerPoint Presentation (New Video)
How to Control PowerPoint Animation With the Animation Pane

When you need to give a big presentation, PowerPoint is the most user-friendly tool to build a slide deck. A well-made PowerPoint captures the audience's attention and reinforces ideas. Learning how to animate slides in PowerPoint will level up the style.

Intro ways to add animation to PowerPointIntro ways to add animation to PowerPointIntro ways to add animation to PowerPoint
Great templates already include animations in PowerPoint that help you engage your audience.

Few apps make it as easy as PowerPoint to add animations to your slides. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to add animations in Microsoft PowerPoint. You'll see that animation PowerPoint templates are the best way to kickstart your next presentation design.

How to Add Animations to PowerPoint (Quick Video)

In this short video, you'll watch me add animations to a PowerPoint presentation. I'll cover basic animations and sequencing them so that items appear in the order you want. Check out the video below to watch and learn how to get animation in PowerPoint.

Keep going for a written version of these skills and some extra tips for mastering how to animate slide in PowerPoint.

Need Help? Download Our eBook on Making Great Presentations (Free)

We also have a useful compliment to this tutorial. Quickly grab it before you read on. Download our FREE eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It'll help you write, design, and deliver the perfect presentation. 

Grab the Free Make Great Presentations eBookGrab the Free Make Great Presentations eBookGrab the Free Make Great Presentations eBook

What Is an Animation in Microsoft PowerPoint (Definition)?

Animations are visual effects for the objects in your PowerPoint presentation. Animations bring objects like text, images, or charts on or off your slide.

Microsoft calls these entrances and exits. An entrance is an animation that brings something onto the slide. An exit moves an object off the slide. Use an animation to make an object enter or exit your slide (or even move it between spots on a slide.)

Animated fashion gif PowerPointAnimated fashion gif PowerPointAnimated fashion gif PowerPoint
Learning how to add animation in PowerPoint starts with on-slide object movements like these from The Fashion PowerPoint template.

My recommendation is to completely build out your presentation first and add animations later. Focus on content and the ideas you want to convey. Add the sizzle later in the form of well-timed animations.

While animations are the visual effects for objects on your slides, transitions are the animations that occur when you change slides. This tutorial will cover only animations.

How to Make Your First Animation

Read on to learn more about how to customize animations and work quickly with PowerPoint templates.

The tips in this section were written using Windows and Office365. If you’ve got a different operating system or a different version of PowerPoint, your steps may be slightly different.

It's easy to add an animation to your PowerPoint presentation. After you've finished inputting all your content into a PowerPoint file, begin adding your animations:

  1. Click on an object to select it on any slide. This could be an image, chart, or block of text.
  2. Now, find the Animations tab on the ribbon.
  3. Find the Animation menu, which has star icons on it. Each one represents an animation effect.
  4. Click on one of the animation effects to add it to the selected object. In this example, I'm going to click on Fade so that the text will fade in.
Add animation in PowerPointAdd animation in PowerPointAdd animation in PowerPoint
Here, I clicked on the image on my PowerPoint slide. Then I chose the simple, yet elegant Fade animation to bring it onto the slide.

You'll know that a slide contains animation when a small orange box with a number appears on the slide. Preview your animations by clicking on the Preview button on the far-left side of the Animation tab in PowerPoint.

How to animate slides in PowerPointHow to animate slides in PowerPointHow to animate slides in PowerPoint
Click on the Preview button of the Animations tab to play a preview of your animations.

Your animation will play when you switch to Slide Show mode. Each time you click the mouse button or press a button on a presentation "clicker," the slide will advance. This could mean going on to the next slide or animating in the next slide object. 

That's it! You've added your first animation to PowerPoint. Practice your skill by adding it to another element, such as a chart or image. Let's look at other animation styles.

Explore PowerPoint Animation Styles

PowerPoint has a great variety of styles to animate objects on your slides with. With the animation presets, you can quickly bring an object on or off a slide with one click.

On the Animations tab of the ribbon, there are many one-click styles to apply to an image. Scroll down in this menu to view them. Or click the small double arrow to the lower right to view them all at once.

See the screenshot below for the full list of animations:

What is animation in PowerPointWhat is animation in PowerPointWhat is animation in PowerPoint
Launch PowerPoint’s full gallery of animations by clicking the dropdown arrow in the Animation section of the Animations tab.

There's a large list of animations to choose from. Here's a simple key to understand how they work:

  • Animations with green icons will cause objects to enter the slide.
  • Animations with yellow icons will animate on the slide in some way, such as spinning or pulsing (good for drawing attention to specific objects).
  • Animations with red icons will cause objects to exit the slide.

The names of the slide are also good clues for understanding what the animations will do. "Fly out" will cause an object to exit the PowerPoint slide, while "Float In" is indicative of an object coming onto the slide.

Spend time trying out the various PowerPoint animation effects. Click on each one and PowerPoint will play a short preview, right on the slide.

How to Add Your Second PowerPoint Animation

So far, we've animated a single object onto our PowerPoint slide. You know how to get a single animation in PowerPoint, but now, let's add our second!

To add a second animation to a slide, simply select another object. Then, click on one of the animations from the menu again.

How to get animation in PowerPointHow to get animation in PowerPointHow to get animation in PowerPoint
Shown here is a slide with many animations on it. Look for the small numbers to find them.

Once you add a second animation to a slide, you'll notice that each animated object has a small number in a box next to it. That number indicates the order the objects will animate in. A box with a "1" will be animated first, and a "2" will be animated after it.

What if you want to change the order of our animations? Read on to find out about sequencing the animations the slide.

How to Sequence Your PowerPoint Animations

You’ve just learned how to animate slides in PowerPoint. With an array of effects added, you’ve built an animated slide that’s ready to share!

But first, you may want to change the sequence of the animations. In other words, you want to adjust the order in which they appear. 

In this example, I want the text box reading “Global Growth” to fly in first. Then, I want it to be followed by the image of the factory on the right. Fortunately, this is easy to do with Microsoft PowerPoint. To start, be sure you’re working on the Animations tab on the ribbon. Then, click on the button labeled Animation Pane.

You’ll see a sidebar menu open on the right side of your PowerPoint window. This is the Animation Pane. Think of it as the control center for animations in PowerPoint. It’s ready to help you re-sequence animations fast. 

What is the definition of animation in Microsoft PowerPointWhat is the definition of animation in Microsoft PowerPointWhat is the definition of animation in Microsoft PowerPoint
On the Animation Pane, you can reorder animations and change up the sequence of how they appear.

Right now, the photo shows a “1” beside it. This indicates that it comes onto the slide first. The “Global Growth” text comes in second, noted by the number “2” next to it.

On the Animation Pane, all that we need to do is drag and drop to re-sequence the animations. If I want the text to come in first, I'll move it up in the list of my animations. Simply click and drag on its title in the Animation Pane to move it into a new position. 

Notice that the number beside the text box animation changes from a “2” to a “1”. This indicates that it is now the first animated object on the slide. 

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Click and drag animations in the Animation Pane to change up their sequence.

When you're managing many objects on a single slide, the Animation Pane is helpful. It can help you visualize what order that objects are entering or leaving your PowerPoint slide. Plus, you can quickly reorder them by dragging and dropping.

Control How to Animate Slides in PowerPoint

It’s key to learn how to get animation in PowerPoint that fits your needs. For example, it’s a great idea to alter the duration and triggers for animations. Add animation to PowerPoint in these cases for an attention-getter.

By default, PowerPoint assigns standard values to various types of animation. Often, this is the perfect timing. But in other cases, you might want to make adjustments.

Similarly, you can change what triggers an animation. By default, animations start On Click. This means that your cursor or clicker causes each animation to start.

Again, it’s useful, but it also means that you have to start each animation manually. If you’ve sequenced animations, you may want them to automatically start one after the other.

Timing how to get animation in PowerPointTiming how to get animation in PowerPointTiming how to get animation in PowerPoint
Use the Timing section to adjust how PowerPoint animations start, and how long they last.

To make these changes, select an animated object and return to the Animations tab. On the right side, you’ll see the Timing section. Here, you can change the starting trigger by opening the Start dropdown. Duration and delay settings can be adjusted using the menus below.

When To Use Animations in Your PowerPoint Presentations

Here's the thing: presentations aren't about animations or how fancy your slides are, it's about holding your audience's attention.

This quote from one of my favorite movies is a great way to think about using animations:

"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should." - Jurassic Park

Just because you can add animations, doesn't mean you should. Are they improving your presentation, or distracting your audience from your message?

Distraction animation in PowerPointDistraction animation in PowerPointDistraction animation in PowerPoint
Use too many animations and your audience might feel as distracted as this freelancer. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Using too many animations is distracting. When you've got objects flying in and out of the slide, you'll lose the attention from your audience.

Here are four key principles for applying animations in PowerPoint tastefully:

  • Keep objects off screen until you're ready to talk about them. 
  • If you put everything on the slide at once, your audience will stop paying attention to what you're saying and focus on the text.
  • Use simple transitions such as Appear or Fade to keep your slides simple and clean.
  • Limit your animations to one or two per slide to maintain simplicity.

What is the definition of animation in Microsoft PowerPoint that goes too far? Anytime the animation supersedes the content, it's time to rethink things.

Play the presentation to yourself before presenting it. If you feel like you've got too many animations on your slide, consider removing some of them.

5 Quick PowerPoint Presentation Animation Tips

If you're learning how to animate slides in PowerPoint, it helps to have a few top tips. Let's walk through five of our favorite fast facts that show you how to get animation in PowerPoint.

1. Animate Your Data

More than ever, PowerPoint presentations are full of data visuals that tell stories. Audiences love charts that help them understand your message, visually.

Why not add animations to your data? With the help of our quick screencast below, you can learn to do just that.

2. Survey Your PowerPoint Animations Before Starting

Many of the recommended templates include more than one PowerPoint animation. It always helps to survey your slides by reviewing all the active animations before you start.

Ways to add animation to PowerPointWays to add animation to PowerPointWays to add animation to PowerPoint
Click on the Animations tab in PowerPoint to show all the objects that have animations. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Click on Animations on PowerPoint's ribbon. Instantly, you'll see numbered icons on each object that features an animation. A quick review like this will help you avoid deleting any key objects.

3. Create an Animated Photo Slideshow

One of the most popular formats for a presentation is as a slideshow. And every slideshow is better with animations that smoothly shift from one slide to the next.

Use our article below to create a photo slideshow in PowerPoint. Many of these templates include PowerPoint animations to segue the images.

4. Use Slide Transitions

This tutorial doesn't cover transitions, a form of animation that helps shift between two slides. Use those transitions as an animation to bring the focus back to the slide. 

Learn how to add animation in PowerPoint for slide changes with transitions. Check out our quick screencast that teaches you how to add transitions in just 60 seconds:

5. Use Fewer Animations

We've already mentioned this tip above, but its importance bears repeating. To learn how to get animation in PowerPoint to work effectively, consider that you might be overdoing it.

Everything we do as presenters should consider the audience. Too many animations take away from the content and are more harmful than helpful. Always challenge yourself to delete half the animations you initially include to bring tight focus.

After you learn how to get animation in PowerPoint, ask yourself how much you really need. For even more tips to master the art of animation, don't miss our follow-up tutorial. It teaches you how to animate slides in PowerPoint:

The Best Source for Templates to Add Animation in PowerPoint (With Unlimited Downloads)

There's a big mistake that rookie presenters make. When they're learning how to animate slides in PowerPoint, they assume they've got to do it all on their own. Beginners ask, "what is animation in PowerPoint?" and wind up deep down the rabbit hole of learning the entire app.

Instead of learning how to animate slides from scratch, a better way is to start by using a template. Templates already have most of the work done for you. And thanks to a site called Envato Elements, you'll unlock unlimited templates with animations for PowerPoint.

Explore PowerPoint Templates With Animation

How to add animation in PowerPointHow to add animation in PowerPointHow to add animation in PowerPoint
Learn how to animate slides in PowerPoint with the help of Envato Elements templates that already include perfect motion.

For a flat monthly rate, you unlock unlimited downloads of animated PowerPoint templates. Plus, Elements includes millions of other digital assets. These include stock photos, music, fonts, and more. These pair perfectly with your animated slides. Join now and start downloading!

Five Top Animation PowerPoint Templates From Envato Elements

Now, let’s explore five of the very best templates that help you add animation to PowerPoint. These are available today on Envato Elements:

1. The Fashion PowerPoint

The Fashion Animated PowerPoint TemplateThe Fashion Animated PowerPoint TemplateThe Fashion Animated PowerPoint Template

Fashionable templates include the most modern and minimal design elements. Those principles help draw the viewer's eyes to images that cover the slide. Plus, it includes the best PowerPoint animations already built in!

2. Infographics PowerPoint Animated Slides

Infographics add animation to PowerPointInfographics add animation to PowerPointInfographics add animation to PowerPoint

Infographics help you illustrate data and ideas. Animating them controls the flow of your narrative. Use this template to your advantage, with an array of slide layouts. This one is easy to customize and will impress even the toughest audiences.

3. The Sound - clean presentation template

The Sound Clean Presentation TemplateThe Sound Clean Presentation TemplateThe Sound Clean Presentation Template

The Sound is another impressive template that shows you how to get animation in PowerPoint right. It uses the "just enough" animation mindset that helps audiences enjoy your slides to the max. Use 30 unique slides and six color schemes to create an animated presentation.

4. Square Animated PowerPoint Template

Square what is animation in PowerPointSquare what is animation in PowerPointSquare what is animation in PowerPoint

Searching for remarkable flexibility for your animated PPT? Square is the template for you. Inside, you’ll find 128 custom animated slide designs. And with fully editable graphics, make changes to fit your style in a flash.

5. Business Animate PowerPoint Presentation

Business Animate PowerPoint PresentationBusiness Animate PowerPoint PresentationBusiness Animate PowerPoint Presentation

Businesses need engaging presentations to stand out from the crowd. Use this animation PowerPoint template to create an interesting and wonderfully animated presentation. Add your business concept to the placeholder slides and watch your story come to life.

Make Great Presentations (Free eBook Download)

We've got the perfect complement to this tutorial, which will walk you through the complete presentation process. 

The right animations help your presentation stand out, but there's a whole lot more to master. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully. 

Download our eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It's available for free with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. 

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Learn More About Using PowerPoint

After you've read this tutorial, you're sure to know how to animate slides in PowerPoint. Animation in PowerPoint's definition is "the motion you need to hold your audience's attention."

You've got the momentum to level up your PowerPoint skills now. Why stop here? To keep learning the app, don't miss out on our resource, How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide.)

These skills level up your techniques of how to add animation in PowerPoint. Check out three of our top tutorials in the guide, particularly the animation PowerPoint deep dive.

Keep Learning Animation for PowerPoint

In this tutorial, you learned to use PowerPoint animations to tastefully animate elements on your slide. Bringing those key bullet points or images on the slide at the right time will make for a great presentation.

When you think of how to add animation in PowerPoint, always use premium templates. The vast Envato Elements library has thousands of stunning options for animated designs. It’s the best way to build animation slides in 2023.

How do you like to use PowerPoint animations? And what are your best tips for using them tastefully to hold the audience's attention? Make sure to check in with a comment below.

Editorial Note: This post was originally published in 2017. It's been comprehensively revised to make it current, accurate, and up to date by our staff. Plus, a video has been added with special help from Andrew Childress.

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