There are two types of people in the world: those that use PowerPoint animation, and those that don’t. Read on to find out how to strike the right balance between too much and too little animation in your presentations, and learn some cool tricks that will make your next slide deck look super-slick and professional.

To see a cool SlideShare of this article, take a look over here.

Let’s take a look at our two groups of people the over-animators have a tendency to go overboard – these are the people that get their company profiles to boomerang in.

Never use the boomerang animation.


The under-animators have slides that look like they’ve tried to cram War and Peace on one slide, and Anna Karenina on the next. The audience reads what’s there, tunes out the presenter, and phubs away like nothing is happening.

But there’s a simple lesson both kinds of people need to know: animation is a key part of storytelling in your presentations. It helps you to pace the flow of information, and tell a more effective story. It helps you control what the audience sees and when. And it helps them to stay engaged for a lot longer.

So here are 7 tips to take you from novice to ninja whatever kind of animator you are.


If you have things like arrows, timelines (in fact anything with a direction), or if you’re using a Wipe, Fly in, Peek in, make sure you change the direction of the animation to match!


If you have content flying in, try not to have it overlap other content: this makes your slide look messy and will distract your audience.

When you can’t fly, peek

Bearing this in mind, if having content Fly in would mean it overlaps something else, use a Peek in animation instead.

For the keen ninjas among you, try and design you slide with a mask over the element that will Peek in: this gets rid of that nasty gradient entrance.

Smooth ends

On motion paths and Fly ins you can have your animations finish with a smooth end.

Opening up your Effect Options and dragging the slider fully to ‘smooth end’ will make your animation look a lot more natural.


Some animations default to 0.5 of a second, others default to 2 seconds. It’s rare that you will need the full 2 seconds to make your point. You can normally get away with making these  effects 0.5 of a second too. On the whole try and keep your animation sequences to 6 seconds maximum.

Delays and disappearing acts

Delays are a really bad idea because even if you rehearse your content perfectly, there’s always a chance something will happen to make you miss your cue. But you can pace the flow of information with clicks instead.

The same goes with getting rid of elements on a slide – if you’re going to make content disappear, have it happen on a separate click so you give your audience the best chance of noticing.

Keep your friends close, and your animations closer

Don’t be afraid of animations, keep them in a nice, handy place in PowerPoint and use them to tell your story, but good watch-words are: if a fade will do, then that’s good enough!

We put all our animation shortcuts in a handy ribbon of convenience: add animations or replace animations and the best news is that you can download it too!

To see these animations in action, have a watch of this:


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Written by

Hannah Harper

Principal consultant

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  1. Image of Michaela Michaela says:

    Love the ninja in the video, so cute!

  2. Image of student student says:

    Where is the video explaining how to do these animations???

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