PowerPoint morph is a magic little transition that’s been around for a while now. As the world gradually discovers just how useful it really is, it’s turning out to be the gift that keeps giving. We’ve compiled a trilogy of how-to tricks so that you can up your morph ante.

Before we get going, if you take a look at this and you start breaking out in a morph sweat, then you might want to take a look at this article first: it explains the basics of morph and how it works.

But if all of that is child’s play to you, it’s time to begin the second most important trilogy in the known universe. (This one is the most important, in case you were wondering.)

PowerPoint Morph Tutorial #1: The morph magnifying glass

In this tutorial we use morph to create a magnified ‘roll-over’ effect on an image.

PowerPoint Morph Tutorial #2: Lens reveal

In this tutorial we create a lens, and then use morph to bring everything into sharp focus.

PowerPoint Morph Tutorial #3: The cut-away

In this tutorial find out how to use morph to create a cut-away effect that can be used in everything from blueprints and sketches, to interior and exterior photographs.

PowerPoint Morph Tutorial #1: The morph magnifying glass

But enough of that. Let’s jump in at the beginning with our first step-by-step tutorial. This is what we’re looking to create today, it’s a magnifying effect using morph:

Use cases

Perhaps you have a detailed image or screenshot with specific sections you’d like to highlight to your audience. Maybe a particular muscle on a human anatomy diagram, or a couple of important points on a scatter graph. Whatever it is, if you’re looking for a cool way to blow that image up and make it big enough for everybody to see, try this cool morph trick that will leave your audiences amazed and informed.

Though you can use some great tricks like this one to do the same thing statically, the best bit about this morph trick is how slick and dynamic it looks.

Step-by-step tutorial

1. Insert any image that you want to magnify part of, either by dragging it onto the slide or choosing Insert > Picture. Make sure it’s a decent resolution, as you’ll be magnifying it and don’t want it too pixelated. Ideally a minimum of 1000 pixels as the smallest dimension.

2. Position the image on the slide. This example is full screen, but it doesn’t need to be. Make sure that it’s the final position, as changing it later will be a pain.

3. Copy the image with Ctrl + C, paste it with Ctrl + V, and line the copied image on top of the other using the alignment tools Home > Arrange > Align.

4. Select just the top image and crop it down to the area you want to highlight with Picture Tools Format > Crop. Note that if you’ve lined up the two images, then you won’t be able to see the cropped one, yet. But be careful not to lose it or move it.

5. You may wish to create a non-square/rectangle shape for your highlight, in which case, change the crop shape with Picture Tools Format > Crop > Crop to Shape. You can also ensure a precise shape by choosing a 1:1 aspect ratio with Picture Tools Format > Crop > Aspect Ratio (for example, 1:1).

PowerPoint morph tutorial

6. Increase the size of your cropped image, to give the impression that you’re magnifying part of the image. It’s best to use the corner white grab handles and press and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys (Ctrl to re-size the shape out from the centre so it maintains its position, and Shift to ensure that the aspect ratio is maintained and nothing gets stretched).

PowerPoint morph tutorial

7. At this point, add any formatting you like to the cropped highlight image to make it stand out, such as an outline or shadow. This is optional.

8. Duplicate the slide, by selecting it in the thumbnails on the left and using Ctrl + D.

9. On the second slide move the cropped highlight image somewhere else on the slide that you want to highlight. Remember, this technique gives you a straight-line point-to-point magnification effect, so consider what will be magnified as you move the cropped highlight image to its new position.

PowerPoint morph tutorial

10. Now, select the cropped highlight image and then the crop function with Picture Tools Format > Crop and note that you get a greyed out view of the full image, showing just a small portion in full colour, inside the crop shape you created. Think of that crop shape as the viewfinder for your image, showing you what you’ll see. You can move the image around by clicking on it and dragging, so that different parts of it are visible within the viewfinder. Move the image so that the magnified picture matches up with the corresponding part of the main image underneath. So, in this example, the crop shape is now covering up the beach hut, so move the magnified image so that the beach hut is visible within the viewfinder.

PowerPoint morph tutorial

PowerPoint morph tutorial

PowerPoint morph tutorial

11. If you add a Morph transition to the second slide with Transitions > Morph, then when you go into Slide Show mode, PowerPoint will recognize that the image is the same on both slides, just positioned and cropped differently. When you move from the first to the second slide, it will then reveal the parts of the magnified image between the first and second viewfinder positions as it moves across the normal image underneath. And because you positioned the magnified image over its corresponding normal content, you get a magnifying lens effect.

PowerPoint morph tutorial

It’s a pretty cool effect. What’s more, you don’t need to stop with two slides. Duplicate the slide again and repeat the steps, moving the magnified cropped image to a different part of the slide/image, to pan around different areas.

Or, why only have a single level of magnification? You can change the size of the viewfinder, so that the crop area is larger or smaller, to magnify different amounts of the image. Or, increase the size of the cropped image within the viewfinder to give the impression of zooming in or out within the same size viewfinder. Or do both together.

Just remember, only use it to help your audience understand something. Let’s not make this the next Custom Animation fiasco by putting people off animations because they’re used inappropriately.

 

And if you’re ready for a different morph challenge, why not build and animate a 3D Death Star, or if you’ve got carried away and it’s all gone wrong, see our fix for morphing multiple objects here.

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Written by

Rachael Hattam

Communication consultant

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Oct 2019

Having lots of image slides in a presentation can be great, but sometimes they don't do the heavy-lifting they ought to with your message. Using shapes as stencils to create masking effects in PowerPoint is a really easy and effective way to make your image slides stand out, and communicate something more. Here are three ideas you can try

  1. Image of Robert Schumacher Robert Schumacher says:

    I am thinking of selling all of the programs I have been buying as a result of my very mistaken belief that PowerPoint was going the way of the 8 Track tape.

    • Image of Joby Blume Joby Blume says:

      We think that the move to a subscription model and more frequent releases has really helped PowerPoint.

      Every few months another great feature is introduced, and Microsoft seem to have replicated or improved on most of the top features of competing software, while retaining some unique strengths.

      If I were launching yet another PowerPoint alternative right now, I would be very nervous about Microsoft just copying my USP as a minor feature update next month.

  2. Image of Graham Hannington Graham Hannington says:

    Nice tutorials, thank you!

    My use of the PowerPoint Morph transition is relatively basic (I’m still learning!), but I thought this example was worth sharing:

    https://youtu.be/ygG9D6mfLDA

    I use Morph throughout the video, but especially from about 9:15 onwards.

    Morph is great for vertically scrolling text. A current gotcha, though (which I’ve logged on UserVoice): Morph doesn’t preserve some text formatting. So, if you want to highlight text, you need to scroll the unhighlighted text via Morph, highlight it, fade out the highlight, and then Morph to scroll again.

  3. Image of Micheal Micheal says:

    If I were launching yet another PowerPoint alternative right now, I would be very nervous about Microsoft just copying my USP as a minor feature update next month.

  4. Image of Jerud Jerud says:

    Excellent tutorial and a great, high-quality effect. Exactly what I was looking for!

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It is, quite simply, the best deck we have. I did a nice presentation with it yesterday and would like to do the same next week... I am sure it will get a lot of use. The visual impact and flow are compelling!

Peter Francis Janssen