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How to Control PowerPoint Animation With the Animation Pane

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Read Time: 13 mins
This post is part of a series called How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
How to Quickly Add Good Animations to Your PowerPoint PPT Presentations
Creating Motion Paths in PowerPoint

Are you building a PowerPoint deck that needs animation? You should learn the Animation Pane PowerPoint feature, the cockpit for PowerPoint slide motion.

Intro animation pane barsIntro animation pane barsIntro animation pane bars
The Animation Pane PowerPoint feature shows you the animations on your slide, their sequence, and more.

What is the use of the Animation Pane in PowerPoint? Think of it as your hub to view, manage, and adjust your animations. In this tutorial, we'll teach you how to view animations in PowerPoint and adjust them on one convenient menu.

What Is the PowerPoint Animation Pane?

Animations in PowerPoint are the best way to bring your slides to life. But at first, they can seem daunting and difficult to work with. Fortunately, this isn't the case. That's all thanks to the Animation Pane PowerPoint dashboard. The Animation Pane controls all animations from one location, right inside the app.

So, what is the use of Animation Pane in PowerPoint? It's a sidebar menu that sits on the right side of your PowerPoint screen. It's a listing of every animation that you've applied to a certain slide. 

Animation paneAnimation paneAnimation pane
Think of PowerPoint's Animation Pane as the control center for your animated slide deck.

From this view, you can rearrange and reorder animations. You can control their duration and change their style. Without the Animation Pane, it would become hard to keep animations on time and in sequence.

But with it, you can control all aspects of your animations from one place. When you think of how to view animations in PowerPoint, the Animation Pane is your first choice.

The Animation Pane is easy to access. As you work with your animations, it's a good idea to keep it open. To open the Animation Pane, begin by finding the Animations tab on PowerPoint's ribbon. The ribbon is the list of menus across the top of your screen: Home, Insert, Design, and so forth. Click Animations.

What is the use of animation pane in PowerPointWhat is the use of animation pane in PowerPointWhat is the use of animation pane in PowerPoint
Find the pane by going to Animations > Animation Pane.

You'll see several options displayed here. The one you want is on the right side of the menu at the top, Animation Pane. Click on it. The Animation Pane sidebar appears on the far right side of your screen, next to the slide that you've got in view. 

Now, with the Animation Pane PowerPoint sidebar open, you're ready to get to work. Any animations already on your slide will be listed. As you add new animations, they'll appear on your list. Again, the Animation Pane is the control center for all animations in your deck.

How to Add PowerPoint Animations

We answered the question, "what is the Animation Pane?" And we learned how to open it. Now, it's time to learn to use it to add PowerPoint animations. To begin, ensure the Animations tab is selected, and the Animation Pane opened.

PowerPoint animations are grouped into three categories. To help you decide which ones to use, let's learn a bit about them:

  1. Entrance. These control how objects appear on the slide.
  2. Emphasis. These call out specific objects and cause audiences to focus on them. They help elements on your slides stand out from their surroundings. 
  3. Exit. These control how objects disappear from your slide.

You should include some of each for a well-rounded slide deck using the Animation Pane. In this tutorial, we're going to work with the Soaring PowerPoint Template, a versatile and exciting template from Envato Elements.

Soaring PowerPoint templateSoaring PowerPoint templateSoaring PowerPoint template
The Soaring PowerPoint Template is a professionally designed template from Envato Elements.
The steps in this tutorial were written using Windows and Office 365. If you’ve got a different operating system or a different version of PowerPoint, your steps may be slightly different.

Now, let's add our first animation. Slide #3 here in the Soaring PowerPoint Template is a good example slide. Like all slides in this Envato Elements template, it includes many types of content. It's got a title, supporting text, and two images.

1. Animate the Title

Imagine that we first want to animate the title. Think back to the categories: Entrance, Emphasis, and Exit. The title introduces the slide's main theme, so an entrance animation is a good choice here. Click on the text box to select it.

The main Animation section in the Animations tab is now available. Click the dropdown in the Animation gallery to see your options. The animations group into the same three categories. Again, here an Entrance animation is the best bet. To apply one, click the thumbnail of your chosen effect. Let's click Swivel.

What is animation pane updated v2What is animation pane updated v2What is animation pane updated v2
Select an object and choose from Entrance, Emphasis, or Exit animation styles.

PowerPoint applies the animation to the selected object, the title text box. You'll see a preview of the effect on your slide. The animation appears as item #1 on the Animation Pane

2. Animate an Image

Let's add a second animation, this time to an image. The process is the same. Click the object and choose an effect from the Animation gallery. Once again, the animation will preview and apply to the selected object. The second animation is listed as #2 in the Animation Pane

With animations added, you can make edits to them. Right-click on one of the animation titles in the Animation Pane. Then, choose Timing from the list of features.

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Use the Animation Pane to control effects like duration and timing.

A menu appears with an array of options. From the Duration dropdown, you can choose from several durations. Also, you can delay animations to start after a period of time. These options are controlled using the Delay controller. 

3. Control When Animation Starts

Another feature here is the ability to control when an animation starts. This controls the flow of your slides. From the Start dropdown, you can choose for an animation to start with the previous animation. Or you can trigger it only by clicking your mouse. A final option starts the animation as soon as the prior animation completes.

Change the animation start option to after previousChange the animation start option to after previousChange the animation start option to after previous
Changing how animations are triggered helps control the flow of your presentation.

Click OK when you've made your selections. As you can see, it's easy to add animations with the Animation Pane. 

How to Resequence and Adjust Animations

Once you've got animations added, it's easy to work with them, using the Animation Pane. Consider this example, using our same slide. The title is animated, and now there are animation effects added for both images. But there's a problem.

You want the image on the left to animate first, but it's the second of the two photo animations. Fortunately, that's no problem. The Animation Pane lets you quickly make edits to animation sequence.

How to vie animations in PowerPoint v2How to vie animations in PowerPoint v2How to vie animations in PowerPoint v2
Click and drag to resequence effects inside the Animation Pane.

Again, what is the Animation Pane, if not the control center for your effects? It helps you resequence animations into your desired order. To swap these two, click and drag on animation #2 in the pane. Move it below animation 3 and drop it into place.

PowerPoint flips the order of your animations. You can repeat this step with any animation that shows in the Animation Pane. It makes it easy to change up how your effects are ordered, with minimal extra work needed.

The colorful bars in the pane represent the duration of each animation. They stack atop each other. Hover over each bar with your cursor, and you'll see the duration appear. The text animation is 2 seconds, the first photo animation is 1 second, and the final animation is 0.5 seconds.

To alter the duration, click and hold on one end of a bar. Then, pull your cursor left or right. The duration bar expands or contracts, based on how you move.

Animation pane barsAnimation pane barsAnimation pane bars
The colorful bars show the duration and sequence of a given animation effect.

You can also resequence timing by clicking and dragging the bars to move them around. This helps you introduce delays and precisely control how animations time.

Again, this showcases the power of the Animation Pane. It puts full creative control of animations in your hands. You don't have to jump between different menus to make the adjustments you need. 

How to Add a PowerPoint Exit Animation

Let's use the remaining text on the slide to illustrate an exit animation. Remember: exit animations help send objects off of your slides. It's easy to think animation only means introducing content. But exit animations help to send content on its way. 

Exit animations are important because they help you transition between ideas. Even within a single slide, you may find yourself moving from concept to concept.

Being able to smoothly move from one to the next helps you stay focused. It also keeps your audience engaged. You won't distract by showing content that you've already talked about. Exit animations help you steer audience focus to specific pieces of content. They're a key part of staying on pace and on track.

Animation pane exit updated v2Animation pane exit updated v2Animation pane exit updated v2
Add an exit animation to send content off of your slide.

To add an exit animation, begin by clicking on any object. With it selected, return to the Animations tab and open the dropdown. Scroll to the Exit group and choose an effect to apply it. Here, let's use Fly Out as an example. PPT adds the effect, and you'll see it listed last on the Animation Pane. 

Here's a good time to learn how to change the animation start option to After Previous. This enables your final animation to automatically trigger at the end of your slide.

How to change the animation start option to after previousHow to change the animation start option to after previousHow to change the animation start option to after previous
Change the animation start option to After Previous for a strong close to your slide.

To do this, click on the dropdown arrow on the right side of the animation in the Animation Pane. From the dropdown, choose Start After Previous. The timing bar shifts forward, immediately to the right of the prior animation. When that animation completes, your Exit effect begins. 

How to Use Chart Animations

When you think of how to view animations in PowerPoint, don't just think of text and images. Charts are a great place to add animations. Imagine, for example, a stacked bar chart.

Charts like these include multiple data series matching a given condition. It's often useful to talk through each series in turn. By animating your charts, you can focus on your data step by step. Again, this keeps audiences focused and on track with your message.

Chart animation pane PowerPointChart animation pane PowerPointChart animation pane PowerPoint
You can animate a stacked bar chart to talk through data in sequence.

Consider a stacked bar chart that you want to animate. You're ready to get started with the Animation Pane open. To begin, click into the chart to select it. Then, go back to the Animations dropdown gallery that we've been using.

Choose an animation effect from the gallery. Here, to introduce data by category, an Entrance effect like Appear is an ideal choice. Click Appear, and PowerPoint will apply it to your chart.

Appear animation paneAppear animation paneAppear animation pane
An Appear effect is a simple animation that won't distract your audience.

But this is only part of the process. Notice if you preview the animation that all data in the chart appears at once. This is the default setting in PowerPoint chart animation, but it's easy to change.

With an animation added, click on the Effect Options dropdown on the Animations tab. You'll see several options here. In this example, the one you want is By Series, found in the Sequence group. Click By Series and preview your slide again.

Animation pane sequenceAnimation pane sequenceAnimation pane sequence
Use the Sequence menu to control how animations appear on objects.

Now, watch as each data series appears in turn, triggered by a click. This helps your presentation flow by showing only data that you're ready to discuss. You won't overwhelm an audience before you can add that all-important context. 

As you can see, it's easy to animate charts in PowerPoint. Remember to take full advantage of the Animation Pane as you work. This gives you control over each set of data, helping steer the presentation exactly how you want.

More Top Templates For Microsoft PowerPoint

Great designs help you spend less time in PowerPoint, and more time preparing for your audience. We consistently work to round up the best templates. They're truly the blueprint to great presentations with less work than you ever thought possible.

Check out even more of the top templates for Microsoft PowerPoint below:

Learn More About Microsoft PowerPoint

PowerPoint is loaded with features. You've learned how to view animations in PowerPoint and modify them in this tutorial. If you want to keep learning, we've got you covered.

On Envato Tuts+, we help you master every feature in Microsoft PowerPoint. Check out our guide, How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide.) Sample these top tutorials to learn more skills that add to your Animation Pane PowerPoint skills:

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Envato Elements is the web's best source for PowerPoint templates. With one subscription, you unlock every template - and so much more. Tap into photos, fonts, and so many other resources that are perfect for your next presentation.

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Download unlimited creative assets on Envato Elements for one flat rate.

If you're still mastering PowerPoint animation, then Elements is the perfect resource. Many of the templates feature great animations that are pre-built for you. They're easy to control thanks to your new Animation Pane PowerPoint skills.

Elements PPTX category imageElements PPTX category imageElements PPTX category image
Top PowerPoint templates on Envato Elements.

On Envato Elements, you've got everything you need for a great presentation. That includes tons of extras like fonts, graphics, and so much more. Sign up, grab your files, and design your next great presentation - all for one flat rate.

Need a PowerPoint template but not ready for a subscription? Check out another great marketplace, GraphicRiver. It's a single download site where you pay only for what you use. The designs are outstanding, and you'll pay only for what you use.

Make Great Presentations (Free eBook Download)

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

Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation

What Is the Use of Animation Pane in PowerPoint? Now You Know!

You just learned key features of the Animation Pane PowerPoint feature. This central hub is so useful as you learn how to view animations in PowerPoint, then tweak them to your liking.

Time to put your new skills into action! Open up the Animation Pane PowerPoint feature, then review your active animations. Make sure that the preview shows the order and duration you had in mind, and you're on your way to success.

Editorial Note: This tutorial has been completely updated and rewritten by Andrew Childress to make sure that it's current and up to date. The tutorial is based on a 2014 tutorial by Bob Flisser

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