Ever wanted to get more out of your PowerPoint animation? Here's a trick you can use to make PowerPoint animations more versatile. I used it to recreate the elegant motion of pendulums in a Harvard Sciences Lecture Demonstration.
The scene: opening night of Presentation Summit 2012, a large crowd at an open bar drinks reception (hosted by Microsoft – it’s how they get you!) and as you would expect, when you cram that many PowerPoint professionals into one room, talk turns to those little things that really bug you about using PowerPoint.
One of my PowerPoint pet peeves is that the “wheel in” animation only works clockwise; there isn’t an option to reverse the direction. I’ve always thought this would handy for all of those “doing X saves you this much time” type arguments by showing a clock and then removing the time it takes. Sadly this isn’t something you can easily manage in PowerPoint – there’s a bodge way of doing it by using a spin combined with the wheel in effect, but that only works if you don’t have a patterned background – and hence the bet was born.
I asserted that PowerPoint couldn’t do this, what seems like a fairly simple option, especially puzzling since other spinning type animations do go both ways. My conversational partner claimed I was wrong, this option was hidden in the settings and I just hadn’t looked hard enough! Quick – to the nearest PowerPoint equipped PC, a mere matter of metres away. PowerPoint 2013 was already ready so we had a quick play with that, and no “anti-clockwise” option presented itself, so onto PowerPoint 2010 and once again no sign of the anti-clockwise option. Victory in my first PowerPoint bet!
Turning round however we discovered we had attracted an audience of the PowerPoint team, who asked what we were checking out. They agreed that it was fairly ridiculous that the wheel effect couldn’t go anti-clockwise, when the spin could (after checking they couldn’t do it either). Apparently this sort of feedback is fantastic for them, because they can actually go back to the design team and say “look, this is a really problem our users have, we need to fix this”. However they did want to take my photo “for their records” or something like that, so now they know who I am and if you don’t hear from me again you know why…
It was pretty great to have a chat directly to the guys responsible for PowerPoint and be able to point these things out. They were genuinely interested and actually excited about the discussion, which sounds funny until I realised I was too.
Hopefully there’s still time before 2013 is finalised for the anti-clockwise wheel to sneak in.
Oh and whilst we are at it, can we have an option to set where on the 360o the wheel starts from…?
Update: despite our best efforts, Microsoft just didn’t listen to us. But at BrightCarbon, we’re not one to be easily defeated. The Incredible Taavi Drell has figured out a nifty hack to make the wheel animation not only spin anti-clockwise, but also start from any point. If you want to make the magic happen for yourself, you’re going to want to read this article.Leave a comment
Senior managing consultantView Chris Arrington-Korek's profile
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