Managing large-scale animations in Powerpoint


WARNING: Using animation in slides can be dangerous for your audience’s health!!!

Of course animations should be sensible, and NEVER should be done without a reason.  One acceptable reason, in my opinion is to “build a more complex picture in such a way that it is still comprehensible by the audience.  BUT have you ever tried building a complex slide with animation? If you did, you’d agree that it can be a pain in the butt.

Today, however I have learnt something neat from a re-post on Jan Schultink’s blog (link to the original post): how one can selective hide objects so that they are not in your way. While experimenting with this on Powerpoint 2010 I found another feature which I always wish I had (and it probably was in 2007 as well). So here is how it works:
Lets say you have a complicated slides. The following one will do for our purposes:

So the very well hidden option sits in the Arrange menu on the Home tab in Powerpoint 2010.

At the bottom you will find the Selection Pane option

Which will bring the selection pane up on the right:

Now you can make the object visible or invisible by clicking on the eye:

But it bothered me that its difficult to figure out what TextBox 8 is, but explorer that I am I clicked on the label and were able to rename the object to a much more sensible name. This yielded the following:

But the great part for me is that I can now use those names to figure out what’s going on in the animation page. The screenshot below certainly looks much more intelligibly than the default object names:

For me complex animations will never be the same!  If you find this useful let me know in a comment.

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7 Responses to Managing large-scale animations in Powerpoint

  1. Ryan Goss says:

    This would have REALLY saved me hours if I had of known about it prior to creating both my proposal and ISSA slides this year!

    As you rightfully mentioned – complexity in powerpoint,specifically when you add a lot of animations (as in my case) is really difficult to manage, especially when the slide is revisited days (or weeks) later!

    These tips are sure to help future projects…
    Great post, thanks!

  2. pptcrafter says:

    The select/visibility pane is helpful but not as powerful as a full-blown layering capability would be.

    I have also spread complex animations across several slides to simplify the construction. However, objects that appear on several slides must be carefully positioned so they don’t appear to jump as the slide changes.

  3. Since you can customize the Ribbon in PPT 2010, I actually added the Selection Pane to my Animations tab so it would be handy when I want it.

    (Also, you can access the Selection Pane from Home tab (editing group) | Select

  4. The selection pane has answered the prayers of many of us. And yes, it is in 2007 as well.

  5. rabotha says:

    @ellen thanks, from what I now hear from others it did not have the ability to rename the objects though. What I found more interesting is that ppt2003 and before it seems to have used filenames as object name (if one used pictures at least)- must admit can’t remember back then. Wonder why that changed…

    @echo Great idea. Must definitely work more on customizing my ribbons.

    @pptcrafter Indeed, multiple layers would help tremendously!

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