PowerPoint: 3 cool animation creations

Like many things, animation should be used in moderation in Power­Point. One place where it can be meaningfully applied is in presentations that are designed to be delivered via internet portal, such as a webinar. First, determine that your chosen portal supports animation. More and more, this is the case, but it’s always a good idea to check first. If it does, here are three techniques you can use to bring life to your content.

A drop in the bucket

To depict an item landing in a container, such as an email landing in the Junk folder, you’ll need two images: one of the container and one of an email. Placement and path are negotiable in this technique, but I like to start with an envelope Motion pathin the upper left and a trash can in the lower right. Choose one with an open top. Duplicate the trash can image and crop the top one so that the opening of the can is cropped away. Only the back image should have the opening of the can complete. Now, using the Turns motion path animation, adjust it so the end of the animation (red dot) is “inside” the can. You may need to select your outer cropped layer of the trash bin to the top using the Bring Forward button.

Light-up/Active button

When you position your cursor over buttons in your applications, they often change color to indicate that the selection is Animation paneactive and ready to be clicked. You can simulate this by using images of the button in both states. Do this with either Screen Clipping (found in all Office applications); the Snipping Tool; or by using the Print Screen button and cropping it, either in PowerPoint or in Paint. Until you have both images identically sized and positioned one on top of the other, avoid sizing them any differently. You would certainly not want to size them differently from each other. Now, apply either the Disappear or Fade Out exit animation effect to the inactive version of the button image. Now, when you click on it in your presentation, it will “reveal” the active version of the button. If the “active” version of the button has a glow effect that would show up behind the inactive button image (such as the Windows 7 Start button), then you will want to have it appear with an entrance effect and with the option Start With Previous selected.

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Spinning gears

To illustrate the concept of three things working together, you could use the Gear SmartArt object. To really make it stand out, you can animate it. First, on the Insert tab, in the SpinIllustrations group, choose SmartArt, then the Process category. Near the bottom you’ll find Gear. Click it. Enter the text components. In order to animate the components, you need to convert them to individual objects. On the SmartArt Tools Design tab, choose Convert from the Reset group, then Convert to Shapes. Right now, it’s grouped. So, ungroup them with the Arrange button, or use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+G. Select just the gears and apply the Spin effect from the Emphasis category. Right now, they’re all spinning in the same direction. In order to make it look more plausible, you’ll need to reverse the rotation on the topmost gear. With that gear selected, in the Animation Pane, click the dropdown arrow, then Effect Options. Change the Amount field to 360° Counterclockwise.