Creating effective bullet animation in PowerPoint

Placing your discussion bullet points in an intentional sequence is the perfect application for animation. Entrance and exit animation are good choices here. When you want to discuss each idea by itself or when each idea builds on the last one, applying entrance animation can help facilitate understanding. Here are two ways to apply entrance and exit animation to accomplish this goal. 

Note: Instructions assume Office 2007. However, everything here can be accomplished in both 2003 and 2010.

Sequential building

1. Select the bullet points you wish to animate.

2. From the animations tab, drop down the Animate button and select Fly In by 1st Level Paragraph.

Alternatively, you could click the Custom Animation button. And from the Add Effect drop-down button in the Custom Animation task pane choose Entrance, then Fly In.

3. The task pane allows you to control which direction the bullet points fly in from, how fast and how the animation is initiated. For example, you can have them fly in from the left. Be aware that having them fly in from above may cause your text to get muddled with the slide topic.

The above steps will generate a layered sequence, which works well when your concepts build upon each other, such as the words “Foundation, Physical Structure, Roof and Siding, Landscaping.” You could even have graphics fly in when the appropriate bullet comes on the screen.

One at a time

1. Click the Custom Animation button on the Animations tab.  (Note: In 2010, you will need to reveal the Custom Animation pane. The button is on the Animations tab, in the Advanced Animation group and Animation Pane button.)

2. Apply the animation as above.

3. Select your bullets again. And, from the Add Effect drop-down button in the Custom Animation task pane choose Exit and Fly Out.  (Note: in 2010, click the Add Animation button in the Advanced Animations group.)

4. Change the start options for each of the Exit animation actions to With Previous.

5. Reorder so that the first bullet point flies out as the second bullet point flies in.

Optionally, you could add one more set of Fly In animation steps to bring all bullet points back on the screen at the end. Change the start options to have the first one start On click and the remaining ones in the last group start After Previous or With Previous.

Don’t forget to rehearse your delivery to make sure your bullet point animation supports your message. Unnecessary animation may distract your audience from the value of your content.