Static PowerPoints Are So Ten Minutes Ago: Use Motion Path In Powerpoint!


Get Shift Done: Tips and Tricks

Do you want to spice up your Microsoft PowerPoint 365 presentation to include something more than static images? Looking for a more energetic way to tell an effective story in your presentations? Applying motion path animation effects to your slide deck is an easy way to liven up your presentation and give it a professional sheen. And it’s fun!

In the example below, we manipulate the static image of a rocket so that it flies around the screen. The solid image in the upper-right shows the starting point of the rocket, and the dotted line between the two images shows the path it takes when the animation plays. The transparent image in the bottom-left is where the image ends up when the motion path animation is done.

To begin, select the image on the slide, navigate to the Animation ribbon, and click Add Animation.

To find the Motion Path options, scroll down to the bottom of the list. For this first example, we create a Custom Path.

Once Custom Path is selected, the cursor changes into a crosshair. Continuously hold down the left mouse button to draw free hand (A) or left click to create intersections on the slide using a polygonal path (B). Double click to end the path.

Immediately after double-clicking, you are presented with a preview of the animation. You may repeat this demonstration at any time by using the Preview Button.

Maybe you lack the surgical precision to draw that perfect line. Maybe your rocket needs to steadily follow a prescribed path. Fortunately, PowerPoint 365 offers us a large selection of preset paths to choose from. Let’s return to the Add Animation menu and click the option for More Motion Paths.

For this example, let’s use the basic preset, 4 Point Star. Select the path and click OK.

We now see the selected preset path attached to our image, highlighted in the example below. Notice the green arrow? It denotes the starting point of the motion event. End points are typically identified by a red triangle, but since this preset is a full circuit (known as a “closed path”), the green arrow marks both the beginning and the end.

Unless you’re looking for a very tight movement, this path probably isn’t where you want it. So how do we edit it? Clicking on the green arrow activates the motion path. The image now appears semi-opaque over the green arrow.

Use the white transformation circles positioned around the frame to change the path’s dimensions.

Click and drag the rotation tool to adjust the path’s angle and starting point. In the example below, the path has been rotated so that the starting point of the image is near where it originally placed it. The semi-opaque image overlapping the original image illustrates the new starting point of the animation.

To perform advanced manipulation techniques, right-click on the path to pull up a context window with more options.

We begin with Edit Points. Clicking on this option causes black squares to appear around the path. Dragging these squares changes the angles of a polygonal path.

After you adjust the path, white squares appear on either side of the new intersection. Moving these white squares adjusts the curvature between the adjacent junctions.

Next, choosing the Open Path option disconnects the closed circuit prescribed by the path, and a red triangle appears. You can move the triangle to adjust the ending location of the image. Right-clicking on the path and choosing Close Path reconnects the end point with the start point.

Finally, selecting Reverse Path Direction changes the animation from moving in a clockwise motion to a counter-clockwise motion.

By default, the animation duration is set to two seconds, but that’s a rather fast speed if you use a long page. You can change the duration of the animation sequence to effectively adjust the movement speed of the image. Adjust it several times, previewing the animation each time, until you find a desirable speed.

Congratulations! You are now on your way to becoming full-fledged PowerPoint animator!

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