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Enhance PowerPoint Slides with Animation

We've all heard the phrase "Death by PowerPoint." The factors that cause this response could be anything; how the presenter presents, the mind set of the audience at the time, or the actual presentation. Although, we can't do anything about the presenter or the audience, we can at least look at how to keep an audience alive and engaged by sprucing up a presentation. In this article, we will look at how you can take advantage of the wide choice of transitions and animations that makes a static presentation more dynamic.

Transitions and animations are accessed using PowerPoint's ribbon interface and provide effects, galleries and real time previews which complement each other brilliantly. This preview helps you to quickly see what a transition or animation looks like on your slide, so that you can choose the effect that best suits. However a word of warning, don't rely too heavily on these transitions, when overused your presentation can look tacky and distract your audience from that all important content. Transitions and animations are just useful tools to enhance the content and grab the audience's attention from start to finish.


Let's look at slide transitions first. The definition of a slide transition is the visual movement made as one slide flows into another. Transitions help make presentations flow, so that it's easier for the audience to follow. When used properly, they can make the presentation run so fluidly that the audience will barely notice. Examples of transitions include; fades - where one slide fades into the next slide, dissolves - which causes one slide to disintegrate into the next slide, and uncover - where a slide is peeled off to reveal the next slide. You can access and preview the transitions from the Transitions tab.

Tip: Transitions help give life and flow to the PowerPoint, but avoid using too many different transitions in one presentation. Stick with one type of transition or at most two transitions, otherwise the presentation will look messy and unprofessional.

Tip: If you are using two different transition types, use one transition for the main slide deck and the second transition to place extra emphasis on important or key content.


As we have seen transitions introduce movement between slides, animations are slightly different as they introduce movement of the objects on the slide rather than between the slides. Objects could be images, words or whole sentences. Examples of animations include fly in - where objects zoom onto the slide, wheel - where objects are wiped on to the slide in a circular fashion, and split - where two halves of an object come together to form the whole object. You can access and preview the animations from the Animations tab.

Tip: Just as with the tip for transitions, using too many animations can overwhelm and distract your audience from the content. Stick with one animation, or at most, two different animations throughout the slide presentation.

Tip: If using two different animations, reserve one animation for the key points or important information on a slide.


A third method to help your content come alive is to add videos to your presentation. Videos add on-going dynamic movement to a presentation and when used effectively can help even the most average presenter get the main points of the content across. PowerPoint allows you to add your own videos, web-based videos and clip art videos. You can access and see how the videos integrate with your presentation by clicking on the video button on the ribbon displayed by the Insert tab.

Tip: If your company is not good at producing videos, you can use a web-based video or even a clipart video.

Transitions, animations and videos are great ways to keep your audience engaged and to keep the content alive but do be careful of over-doing them as it will make your presentation look unprofessional and distract the audience from the main focus of the content.

Tip: When applying transitions, animations and videos, use the following order to create and enhance your presentation; write and edit the slides first, integrate the videos, ensure your slides are in the most logical order, apply the transitions, apply the animations.