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Powerpoint: Animation

Because of the festive season and all the pretty decorations to go with it, we are going to look at animation effects and tricks in PowerPoint, including making a light flash.

If you have attended our PowerPoint Introduction course you'd know about the Animation Effects toolbar that you can use to produce movement on a slide. You'll remember that the star button displays the toolbar, and you can choose the animation you want. To get a wider choice of animation effects you need to go to Custom Animation.

Basic Animation

To set Custom Animation use the following steps:

  1. Select the object you wish to animate.
  2. Give the command Slide Show - Custom Animation.
  3. Make sure you are in the Effects Tab (PowerPoint XP users can click Add Effects in the Task Pane on the right of the screen).
  4. You will see a list of objects (text and graphics) at the top. The object you selected earlier will be highlighted, but if not you can choose it from this list.
  5. Choose an Entry Animation and Sound (if appropriate). There are lots to choose from, so experiment by using the Preview button to get an idea of how the animation will work.

When you are happy with the effects, click OK.

Trick 1: Move all the way across the screen.

Have you ever wanted to have a car drive across the slide and leave? You may have used the fly-in, drive in or crawl in effects (three points if you know the difference between these three) to have your picture arrive from the side of the slide and stop so it is still visible. Note that it stops where the object is positioned on the slide. If you position the object off the slide (you simply drag it so that it's outside the slide) it will drive, fly, crawl all the way across the slide. (Make sure you position the object opposite to the side it is coming in from!)

Trick 2: Your own animation.

If you want to achieve an effect that is not in the list of effects, for example, text getting bigger and bigger, use the following trick. This one is so old that it predates computers, but not many people think of it. What we want to create is the same effect as those old flip books that had lots of pages with a similar picture on, and when you flipped through it, you saw the motion.

  1. Create your slide in the normal way.
  2. Copy the whole slide, so you have two the same, that follow one-another in the slide show. Make sure there is no slide transition, so that you can't see it switch from one slide to another when viewing the show. (Watch out for slide numbers!)
  3. Set the Slide Transition (Slide Show - Slide Transition) to Automatic with an appropriate delay (eg 1 second)
  4. On the second slide change only the part you want to animate. In our example you'd make the font a bit bigger.
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 so that you get a sequence of slides each only slightly different, so that when you run the slide show each follows one after the other in quick succession.

Changing the Colour of Clip Art

Clip Art is usually a complex collection of lines and shapes in a single object. You can divide it into its constituent parts and change one part of it to improve its appearance. This is known as Ungrouping. To Ungroup a ClipArt object, right-click it, and give the command Grouping - Ungroup. (If Ungroup is not available then the object is a single one). Each part of the Clip Art is then highlighted. Click away from the object and then click only the part you want to change.

Once you have selected the element of the ClipArt you want, you can give the command Format - Autoshape to choose another colour for it.

Flashing Lights

So, to get your lights flashing in lots of multi-colours in time for Christmas, you can insert several light bulbs (remember CTRL+D to duplicate an object), choose a different colour for each and then use Trick 2, to make them look like they are flashing from one colour to the next.

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