Finding Nemo: Image Credit - / Tom FiskHands up those of you who go to presentations and take notes on the design of the presentation. What works and what doesn’t? I guess most of you have not raised your hands as most of us tend to just take what is fed us and try to take notes on the contents, not the way it has been presented. But presentation is everything. Just look around you and compare two desks. One that is messy and full of papers not in neat stacks and old cups of coffee and boxes full of overflowing ‘stuff’ on the floor by the desk. Then look at the desk that is also very full but papers stacked neatly, folders in alphabetical order. Large empty space in front of the screen where the occupant can work easily free from overhanging irrelevant papers to that work and ‘stuff’. Here too are boxes full of ‘stuff’ by the desk but neat and the boxes are closed, clearly labelled and in order.

This latter scene is a much more tranquil space to work in and more inviting.

Now think back to some of the presentations you have sat in and compare two that are worlds apart. One that is messy and fussy with too much going on. While the other is ordered and flowing and easy on the eye.

Let’s get back to PowerPoint. This is a wonderful tool to create interesting presentations. But at the end of the day it is how you present that really matters and the presentation in PowerPoint is just your aid to help the audience understand more easily the information you are imparting. So please don’t use animation in all its glory on every slide with sound added to the melee. It just makes more confusion and uncertainty to the viewer.


Firstly you need to look at your slides, and I like looking at them in Outline View. Because here we can see the text only of each and every slide. We are not overwhelmed with all the pictures and graphs and the like just the text. Now we need to select a few to help the audience understand the message of each individual slide. Bulleted lists are great. They are simple and quick to read and punchy. But showing all the items at the very onset of the slide is probably not a good thing. There is always one person in the audience who can read like lightning and will start asking questions on the fourth or last point, whilst you are still trying to explain the first. Adding animation to such a slide will allow you to “release” each point in turn. Thus, stopping that lightning reader running ahead of the presentation. You have the CONTROL! Read this tip on how to apply simple animation for bulleted lists.

Object animation

Today we are going to look at animating objects on your slide.

Here is an example of a slide with text and diagrams or pictures. Example SlideTo show each stage separately you could create seven slides with each item appearing and staying in view as you progress to the next slide until the message is complete. Adding animation to it, in a creative way, will add interest and control and save you creating six slides. It’s all in the one slide.

  • Here is the sequence of the information being revealed. Sequence
  • On the seventh slide, in the above example, select the items in the sequence that you need them to appear and apply the animation you feel is best suited.
  • Step one. Do not select the title. This does not need to be animated and will appear as usual when you get to this slide.
  • Step two. Select the first object/s to appear. In my case the triangle and first arrow. First group
  • Select the Animations Tab. Animation Tab

From which you will select the Animation you feel suits the slide best. I will select the Fly in effect as I just like it best. Fly-in Tool

You will see the number one in a box denoting that this is the first object/s that will appear.First groupTo change the direction of the fly-in select the Effect Options tool on the Animations Tab. Effect Options ToolThere are several directions that the image can come into the slide from.  A list of directions will appear for you to choose from. Effect Options List


‘From the Bottom’ is the default setting. Here you can choose a different one for each of the objects in your slide.

I personally feel it is good design to keep the same option such as Fly-in for each item in a slide. That is to say if you use fly-in then all the objects fly in, not each object with a different choice like swivel or bounce or zoom etc. By all means use these effects in other slides.

  • So, for me this first object will fly-in from the left.
  • Step three. Select each group of objects that need to appear together and apply the fly-in effect that is best, finishing with the ‘Close Order’ and arrow.

Because all of these groups will fly-in individually you are now in full control as to what happens when. Should you be interrupted at any point, in your presentation, you do not have to reveal the next part of this slide until you are ready.

Your finished slide will look like this. Final slide

When you use the keyboard to advance your slides when presenting, you probably use the page up or page down keys to advance and reverse each slide. When a slide has animation in it those same keys advance the animation too.

I have sat through a presentation where there was a lot of animation in each and every slide not only was that becoming complicated but also a little distracting from the subject at hand. Not just that when they introduced sound every time an object appeared, it was too much for me to bear I’m afraid.

Choose your animation sparingly and wisely. Please have time to review it a day or so after you complete the presentation to see if you still feel the animation is correct and adding to the presentation not taking your limelight!

Tips – Drawing Objects in PowerPoint

Tip – How to align items in PowerPoint





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