PowerPoint 2013 For Dummies
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Custom animation is the nitty-gritty of PowerPoint 2013 animation. Custom animation is the only way to apply text animation that’s more complicated than the predefined Fade, Wipe, or Fly In styles of the Animate drop-down list. In addition to animating text, custom animation lets you animate other objects on your slides, such as pictures, shapes, and charts.

For starters, you can apply custom animations to any object on a slide, whether it’s a text placeholder, a drawing object such as an AutoShape or a text box, or a clip art picture. For text objects, you can apply the animation to the text object as a whole or to individual paragraphs within the object.

You can also specify whether the effect goes all at once, word by word, or letter by letter. And you can indicate whether the effect happens automatically or whether PowerPoint waits for you to click the mouse or press Enter to initiate the animation.

Custom animation lets you create four basic types of animation effects for slide objects:

  • Entrance effect: This is how an object enters the slide. If you don’t specify an entrance effect, the object starts in whatever position that you placed it on the slide. If you want to be more creative, though, you can have objects appear by using any of the 52 different entrance effects, such as Appear, Blinds, Fade, Descend, Boomerang, Bounce, Sling, and many others.

  • Emphasis effect: This effect lets you draw attention to an object that’s already on the slide. PowerPoint offers 31 different emphasis effects, including Change Fill Color, Change Font Size, Grow/Shrink, Spin, Teeter, Flicker, Color Blend, Blast, and many more.

  • Exit effect: This is how an object leaves the slide. Most objects don’t have exit effects, but if you want an object to leave, you can apply one of the 52 different effects — which are similar to the entrance effects — Disappear, Blinds, Peek Out, Ease Out, Spiral Out, and so on.

  • Motion path: Motion paths are the most interesting types of custom animation. A motion path lets you create a track along which the object travels when animated. PowerPoint provides you with 64 predefined motion paths, such as circles, stars, teardrops, spirals, springs, and so on. If that’s not enough, you can draw your own custom path to make an object travel anywhere on the slide you want it to go.

    If the motion path begins off the slide and ends somewhere on the slide, the motion path effect is similar to an entrance effect. If the path begins on the slide but ends off the slide, the motion path effect is like an exit effect.

    And if the path begins and ends on the slide, it is similar to an emphasis effect. In that case, when the animation starts, the object appears, travels along its path, and then zips off the slide.

    To draw a custom motion path, click the Add Effect button in the Custom Animation pane, choose Motion Paths Draw, and then choose Draw Custom Path and select one of the motion path drawing tools from the menu that appears. The tools include straight lines, curves, freeform shapes, and scribbles. You can then draw your motion path using the tool you selected.

You can create more than one animation for a given object. For example, you can give an object an entrance effect, an emphasis effect, and an exit effect. That lets you bring the object onscreen, draw attention to it, and then have it leave.

If you want, you can have several emphasis or motion path effects for a single object. You can also have more than one entrance and exit effect, but in most cases, one will do.

Each effect that you apply has one or more property settings that you can tweak to customize the effect. All the effects have a Speed setting that lets you set the speed for the animation. Some effects have an additional property setting that lets you control the range of an object’s movement. (For example, the Spin effect has an Amount setting that governs how far the object spins.)

If you want, you can create a trigger that causes an animation effect to operate when you click an object on the slide. For example, you might create a trigger so that all the text in a text placeholder pulsates in when you click the slide title. To do so, first add the animation effect to the text. Then, click Trigger in the Advanced Animation group and choose On Click Of.

A list of all objects on the slide that can be clicked is displayed; select the Title placeholder. (You can also trigger an animation when a specific location is reached during playback of a video file.)

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Doug Lowe is the bestselling author of more than 40 For Dummies books. He's covered everything from Microsoft Office to creating web pages to technologies such as Java and ASP.NET, and has written several editions of both PowerPoint For Dummies and Networking For Dummies.

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