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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Animation Basics

Adding and using animations in PowerPoint is a fairly straightforward process - once you know how things work. However, at the outset it might be a bit confusing or intimidating.

Animations in PowerPoint are handled in the "Animations" tab - surprising, I know. You want to start by selecting the item you want to animate, in the case of the example above it's the chart. Then you can click on the "Animations" tab and apply an animation effect. I would choose one of the more subtle effects like "Fade" since it is less distracting.

When you first apply the effect to something like a chart, the whole thing is set to fade in all at once. You can change that, though. Click on the "Effect Options" button and then choose an option like "One by One" or "Level at Once." If you just point your mouse to an option you'll see a preview of it on the slide. Click when you see what you want.

The standard setting is for animations to take effect after a click, so when you're giving the presentation you'll need to click the mouse to trigger the next animation. If you want the animation to happen automatically you can change it with the "Start" selection on the right side of the Animation tab. Click on the drop-down menu and choose "With Previous" or "After Previous" to have the animation happen automatically on the slide. Under the "Start" option you can see the "Duration" and "Delay" fields. Here you can adjust, in fractions of a second, how long the animation takes and how long it will delay after the start trigger. With these you can fine-tune exactly how the animation looks.

What animation tips do you have? Which animations are your favorite?

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