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3 Ways Animation Can Make or Break Your Presentation

Ever since the birth of Microsoft PowerPoint, presentations have taken a turn for the better: user-friendly interface, easy-to-use buttons, and simple settings to name a few, rendering the whole task of creating presentations simpler and less time-consuming. Best of all is how the software gives you extras and bonuses to liven up to your slides with a few clicks and adjustments.
Like the other elements of a visual aid, and especially with PowerPoint, animations can mean the difference between bland slides and zesty ones. Proper use of transitions can arrest attention and provide suspense. Effects can highlight and emphasize points. Motion paths in action can guide viewers’ eyes to where they should be looking next. There are many upsides to using animations.
However, as with any upside, there are bound to be repercussions—two sides of the same coin, if you will. In this case, there are cons to using animation, ones that have a lasting impact even after your talk.
Animations make or break your PowerPoint. They can be the wowing element or the disappointment that makes your audience members shake their heads. Before you pepper your slides with too many special effects, ask yourself the three following questions:

PowePoint Presentation Animation: Important or Whimsical

Important or Whimsical

Do you have a point to emphasize or a concept you wish to illustrate beyond just showing an image? Or do you want your text to sparkle or your object zoom in and out? Perhaps you want a “breaking glass” effect every time you go to the next slide?
If you answered affirmatively on the first question, then you know how to use animation to your advantage. Using it when and because it’s necessary is the first step to acknowledging the fact that it’s more than just for dramatic flair. When employed correctly, it makes certain points stand out among the rest of your content.
If you’re of the last two questions, though, then it’s time to rethink how you approach animation. Any excess for no reason is detrimental not just to your slide but also to your whole presentation. You risk looking amateurish when you try to retain your audience’s attention with special effects instead of wowing them with your message, content, and/or design.

PowePoint Presentation Animation: Arrest or Divert Attention

Arrest or Divert Attention

New PowerPoint users tend to be excessive on the animations. But just because they think it’s great doesn’t mean their audiences will do too. The worst-case scenario is that you turn off your viewers with the sheer number of animations and stop listening.
This point is very much aligned with the one above, only this one tends to encompass a more focused area: does it draw and retain attention on the objects that need to be emphasized? If yes, then the animation served its function. If it doesn’t, then consider changing the animation settings or, as is often recommended, simply avoid it.
In relation to animations on your presentations, the speaker, to whom the audience should pay attention, bears the greater weight when the special effects work or not. Your presentation is not a crutch, so if it draws away the audience’s attention from you, then your talk is compromised. The message is not effectively communicated. They’re reading—or reeling or wondering why you used that transition or fade effect—when they should be listening. In that short period, their attention drifted; their focus changed. The best way to avoid that is simplifying the prevailing thought of your animation use.

PowePoint Presentation Animation: Enhancement or Distraction

Enhancement or Distraction

Overall, the main question you want to answer before putting animations on your slides is, “Will my animations enhance the audience’s experience or distract them from the main point?” If every element you have becomes a waiting game for you and your audience, then your slides, if not your whole visual aid, take away from the whole experience—and possibly diminish it. They can’t concentrate on your message, and they may feel they just wasted their time.
On the other hand, if you used animations smartly and properly, carefully planning what effects to put on major points and objects and properly executing the appropriate animation, then your audience will more likely remember your talk because it’s memorable. It informed them and sparked their genuine interest.
All in all, PowerPoint animations are powerful tools; like any other, depending on the speaker (or the presentation design agency), it can be used in a good way or a bad way. If the animations work well in conjunction with the other elements of your slides—the perfect harmonization of your content, design, effects, and skills as a speaker—then you’ve got on your hands a powerful visual aid. You educate people more efficiently and more effectively. And that’s one of the best goals a public speaker could have.


Cournoyer, Brendan. “PowerPoint Animation Tips: Dos and Don’ts for Business Presentations.” Brainshark. March 7, 2012.
Newbold, Curtis. “Top 12 Most Annoying PowerPoint Presentation Mistakes.” The Visual Communication Guy. September 24, 2013.
Noar, Adam. “10 Essential PowerPoint Hacks for More Exciting Presentations.” July 4, 2016.
Russell, Wendy. “PowerPoint Presentations – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” ThoughtCo. February 18, 2016.
Sartain, JD. “PowerPoint Animation Tips: Don’t Be That Person Whose Slides Are Deathly Boring.” PCWorld. February 10, 2015.
Vanderlee, Carly. “The Seven Deadly Sins of PowerPoint.” Bridgeable. August 20, 2014.
“Animation–Help or Entertainment?” Training Zone. August 23, 2001.

Why You Should Improve Your PowerPoint with Animation

Last November, Microsoft released two of its newest PowerPoint features for 2016– Designer and Morph.

While Designer smartly matches an appropriate layout for your content, Morph is a handy tool in creating basic animation. This feature improves on the animation process with a more user-friendly approach.

It removes the hassle of previous animation options including key frame, motion path, and flash once, which deterred presenters from animating their deck.

To use Morph, click Transitions, then Effect Options. You can choose to animate either objects, words, or characters.

It sounds like a good improvement in terms of visuals, but it’s more than just an added aesthetic to your deck.

Here’s why you should improve your PowerPoint with animation:

Transition with Ease

It seems like the future of presentations is headed towards increased accessibility, particularly with the help of digital media and the Internet.

With more ways to upload your deck online, and share it to a wider audience, your deck will sometimes need to stand on its own. Latest innovations in the program like hyperlinks, voice narration, as well as automatic and manual timings made it possible to pitch self-presenting PowerPoints to anyone at any time.

If you want to create your own stand-alone slides, animation serves as an effective transition tool without needing to switch between slides.

For PowerPoint Morph users, simply move your selected images or text in a certain path after you select the Morph button, similar to creating a work path.

Once you apply Morph to the objects on your deck, they’ll move on their own without needing a prompt.

Gain Positive Attention

It’s already established that 65% of people are visual learners, according to Prime Infographics.

Using graphics is a more effective method of reaching out to them than simply relating hard facts with too much text and numbers.

That said, why not engage the visual learners in your audience further by animating your images? Add some spice to your slides by animating them. But don’t let your deck look dated and unappealing with static and overused clipart.

The fluid movement of the animated objects on your slide can keep your audience’s attention as you expound on your key points.

Tell Your Story

One of the most effective ways to appeal to people is through their emotions. This gets them to see things from your perspective, and eventually sympathize with you.

Tap into their emotions by crafting a story around your pitch that everyone can relate to. You can do this verbally during your actual pitch, or through your deck.

While your PowerPoint serves as a visual aid, it doesn’t have to stay flat all the time. Let your deck tell your story with you. Craft an animated slide with a beginning, middle, and end without needing too many clicks on your part.


The recent development in deck animation lets you explore creative possibilities on your slide.

Use PowerPoint Morph to create stand-alone slides with fluid transitions. Let your visuals interact with your audience by strategically animating slide elements. This will help you not only explain difficult concepts better with visuals, but also tell a good story.

Work together with your visual aid through animation, and let it complement your pitch.

Need a guide for your presentation needs? Contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!



“65% of All People Are Visual Learners.” Prime Infographics. Accessed December 18, 2015.

“PowerPoint “Morph” Brings Animation to Microsoft’s Widely Used Presentation Software.” GeekWire. November 13, 2015. Accessed December 18, 2015.

“Using the Morph Transition in PowerPoint 2016.” Office Blogs. Accessed December 18, 2015.


Featured Image: “Art class” by Pavlina Jane on

On the Other Slide: 3 PowerPoint Hacks to Improve Your Deck

PowerPoint may be a user-friendly tool, but its functions go beyond templated slide designs and bullet-point lists. You don’t have to stick to plain slides and clunky graphics. Instead, why not improve your deck and create a design that’s suited for your presentation?

Here are some PowerPoint hacks to help you do just that:

1. Be Creative with Your Images

powerpoint hacks

It’s no secret that the leading cause of Death by PowerPoint, or complete audience boredom, is a slide overloaded with too much information.

Replace blocks of text with images or keywords you can expound on. This leaves you free to talk more and keeps the audience’s attention fixed on you. However, some presenters use this as an excuse to insert random images in their slides in an uninspired layout.

Make your deck more interesting by being creative with your use of images. Instead of copy-pasting a stock image to the middle of your deck, why not crop and edit it first? Crop images to your desired size by dragging the crop handles that will appear around your picture once you format it. Creatively incorporating and tweaking images to perfectly fit your deck lets you illustrate the essence of your core message without boring your audience.

2. Enhance Design with Animation

powerpoint animation

Depending on how you use them, animation and transition can make or break your presentation.

Some presenters have been criticized for their excessive use of slide transitions and animations. For example, business presentations may require no more than a simple wipe. Overdoing it with a dramatic transition like Fracture or Dissolve may lessen your professional credibility.

Fortunately, Microsoft’s presented a solution to that problem and released one of PowerPoint’s latest features, Morph. The add-in allows users to create seamless and impressive animations that can also be used as a slide transition.The Morph option can be found under Transitions, and it lets you animate your desired slide element, which can be in the form of objects, text, or images.

Unlike the previous animation options for PowerPoint, this transition type requires you to draw out a work path for the object you want to animate. You can just drag the slide element in the direction you want it to go. When you view your presentation, the object will move on its own without needing a prompt, like a mouse click. This frees your hands and lets you further use body language to emphasize key points and connect with the audience instead of having to focus on operating a clicker.

3. Have Your Pitch in Mind

powerpoint hacks

Everything on your deck should contribute to your pitch.

That said, the greatest PowerPoint hack is to always keep your pitch in mind when you’re crafting your slides. Extraneous elements will only distract the audience from your main point. Before adding anything, think about why you’re putting it there and whether it will enhance your spiel.

Keep an outline of your content to remind you of your slide order. Highlight key terms you want to emphasize in your visual aid so you’ll know what to include and what can be saved for verbal elaboration.

Decide whether you should plug in your data as text or whether you can improve on it by presenting it creatively. For example, diagrams, charts, and other visual representations may make hard information more palatable to your audience.

Content, delivery, and visuals should all go hand-in-hand, so don’t leave out one for the other. Make sure you develop each of these elements equally for an overall winning presentation.

The Takeaway: Take Advantage of PowerPoint’s Features


PowerPoint is a constantly growing software, rich with new features. Improvements in the presentation tool make it possible to improve your deck without too much hassle. To summarize:

  1. Be creative with your deck design and experiment with image layout and position. Crop and edit pictures before putting them on your slides so that they can work together with your overall design to get your message across.
  2. Make use of PowerPoint’s latest features, particularly Morph for animation, to make your deck more attractive and interactive.
  3. At the same time, always align your deck with your pitch. Good design used inappropriately can still lead to a confusing presentation.

Craft a winning deck with these PowerPoint hacks, or contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!



“PowerPoint 2013: Formatting Pictures.” GCF Learn Free.
“Using the Morph Transition in PowerPoint 2016.” Office Blogs.

PowerPoint Animation Trick: Photos from Colored to Black & White

PowerPoint animations can be a good way to enhance your slides, especially if you plan to share your deck online. You’ve probably read a lot about how you shouldn’t put animations on your slide. It’s true that if you use too much, your PowerPoint deck can look sloppy and unprofessional. However, if you know how to use it the right way, you can get interesting effects.

There’s a PowerPoint animation trick you can do to generate drama or nostalgia in your slides. If it suits the topic of your online presentation, try animating a picture to slowly turn into black and white. Here’s how it would look like:

powerpoint animation sample 1


This PowerPoint animation mimics some transition effects you’d see on TV. As Ellen Finkelstein points out, you see this in the TV show NCIS. In order to add some drama to a heightened scene, a still shot would turn into black and white before fading into the next frame.

If you want the same effect for your online presentation, follow these steps:

Step One

On a blank slide, add the picture you want to use. Place it and make a copy by either hitting CTRL + C or right clicking and choosing powerpoint animation copy. Paste the duplicate image, select it, go to the Picture Tools Format tab and apply the gray scale effect under Color. If you don’t want to turn the picture into black and white, you can add a different effect. For this tutorial, I decided to give the second image a sepia tone.

powerpoint animation step 1


Step Two

Place the duplicate image directly above the original one. PowerPoint can give you grids and guide lines to make this part easier for you. To do that, just right click on the slide and choose Grid and Guides. When a dialogue box appears, choose Snap objects to grid and Snap objects to other objects.

powerpoint animation step 2

When you have the duplicate picture perfectly placed, select it, right click and choose Send to Back.

powerpoint animation step 3

Step Three

Add the PowerPoint animation to the original colored image by selecting it and going to the Animations tab. To achieve the effect we want, you need to apply only the animations illustrated using red stars, particularly Fade, Split, Wipe, Shape, Wheel, and Random Bars.

powerpoint animation step 3.1

For this tutorial, I chose the Shape effect.

When you add a PowerPoint animation, you’re given a preview of what it looks like. If it seems too fast or too slow for you, you can adjust the timing by adjusting the settings under Timing. Here, I slowed down the animation to 3 seconds.

powerpoint animation step 3.2

Step Four

You can now add text to the slide if you need to. You can also add a PowerPoint animation to the text. Just be sure you’re aware of how you want each animation to progress. If you want to change anything, just go to Reorder Animation under Timing.

powerpoint animation step 4


There you have it!

You can now work on the rest of your deck. You can use this PowerPoint animation trick in Section Headers or if you want to emphasize a point. When you’re done, don’t forget to turn your PowerPoint presentation into a video so you can share online. Go to the Slide Show tab and choose Record Slide Show. Learn the specifics by checking out a previous tutorial we made called “How to Make a Trade Show Video Loop Using PowerPoint“.

Here’s how the PowerPoint animation I made turned out:

powerpoint animation sample 2




Featured Image: Cristian Bortes via Flickr
Image used for tutorial via Death to the Stock Photo

PowerPoint Animations: Adding Life to Your Slides

Children aren’t the only ones who have short attention spans. Many adults do, too, although this is due to a number of factors – a busy schedule, issues at work, etc. So if you’re presenting a PowerPoint to your team or potential business partners, you need to step up your game. One way to do this is by adding animation to your slides.

PowerPoint animations are very useful for creating a more interesting presentation. It can keep your audience engaged as you deliver each of your points. If children with short attention span are easily entertained by animated cartoons, I’m quite positive that their adult counterparts will find PowerPoint animations enjoyable as well.

If you’re ready to get started, here’s how you can take advantage of PowerPoint’s animation feature:

1. Use the available animations

The Add Animation gallery provides you with simple animations you can apply to the elements on your slide. Just click any of the items you want to animate, click on the Animation tab, and then click Add Animation. Below the wide range of basic animations that control the way the items move on your slides.

powerpoint animation

You can use these basic animations to make your items enter, exit, appear, and disappear on the slides.

2. Set the triggers

Triggers allow you to link the animation to a different action. You can do this by creating bookmarks in the presentation, which then prompt an animation to start. Alternatively, you can set an action to start upon clicking your mouse. To set a trigger for an animation, click an item and then click Trigger, which you can find in the Advanced Animation group under the Animations tab.

powerpoint animations

3. Automate sequences with Animation Painter

Before, with the older versions of Microsoft PowerPoint, you will have to spend hours just to get the animation working perfectly. But now, you can easily automate your animation sequences with the help of the Animation Painter.

powerpoint animation

With the Animation Painter, simply click the element with the animation you like to copy and drag the pointer over the item on the slide to apply the animation settings. PowerPoint will take care of the rest.

4. Measure Entry and Exit Using Timeline

You can find the timeline at the bottom of the Animation Pane. This helps you gauge the entry and exit of the items on the slide. You can also use it to determine whether you want to adjust the time or order of events.


Each animation also displays the span of time through the time segment at the right of every animation entry. You may tweak the animations so that the action occurs at the exact time that you prefer. Just scroll along the timeline by clicking the small arrows at either end. You may also click the Seconds control if you want to Zoom In or Zoom Out and adjust the increments of time.

5. View Everything on the Animation Pane

As you work on the animation, you can see all the information and tools you use on the Animation Pane. To display the Animation Pane, click the Animation tab and select Animation Pane right in the Advanced Animation group. This feature lets you preview the animation, reorder animations, and see where they fall on the timeline.

The important thing about using animations in your slides is to keep everything simple. PowerPoint offers a lot of features for animating any item on your slide but misusing them can confuse your audience, not to mention make your presentations look amateurish.

About SlideGenius is your business PPT guru. Based in San Diego, California, SlideGenius has helped more than 500 international clients enhance their presentations, including those of J.P. Morgan, Harley-Davidson, Pfizer, Verizon, and Reebok. Call us at 1.858.217.5144 and let SlideGenius help you with your presentation today!