Office 2011 for Mac: Moving Objects Along Paths in PowerPoint

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

When done artfully, the effect of moving an object along a path in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac can add drama, change the mood, and draw attention to selected objects on your slide. You can select an object and then have it follow a path that is represented by a line in Normal view, but the line is invisible while the presentation is playing. You can draw your own lines or choose from a wide selection of built-in lines and effect options.


Inserting a shape

Any kind of object can follow a path. Here’s how to choose a shape:

  1. Open a new, blank presentation in PowerPoint.

  2. Click the Ribbon’s Home tab, and in the Slides group, choose Layout→Blank.

    A completely blank work area is now available.

  3. Click the Ribbon’s Insert tab, and in the Shape group, click Rectangles.

    Choose any Rectangle on the submenu.

  4. Drag the mouse on the slide area to make a small rectangle.

    Your rectangle shape is now ready to be animated.

Applying a basic or complex motion path

As with other animations, the general procedure for applying a motion path is quite simple:

  1. Select an object.

  2. Click the Ribbon’s Animations tab, and in the Motion group, click Paths.

    The Motion Paths gallery displays.

  3. Choose a Basic or Complex motion path.

    The following things happen as you apply a path:

    1. a.A line representing the path that will be followed displays.

    2. b.Your shape follows the path to give you an instant preview.

    3. c.The Motion Paths icon and the Effect Options icon on the Ribbon change to match the icon of the path type chosen.

    4. d.A number is displayed that shows the path animation’s number within the animation sequence.

    5. e.A green arrow indicates the starting point of the path and a red arrow with a bar indicates the endpoint.


Right-click the line to edit points. Right-click a point to display point options in a pop-up menu. Drag the blue selection handles to resize the path line. Drag the path line or the shape to reposition the path line.

Applying a custom path

The steps to apply a custom path are the same as the previous heading except for Step 3:

  1. Select an object.

  2. Click the Ribbon’s Animations tab, and in the Motion group, click Paths.

  3. Choose a line tool from Custom section of the palette.

Choosing path effect options

Each kind of path comes with its own set of effect options. To see the options, select the path and then click the Effect Options button in the Animation Options group on the Animations tab of the Ribbon. The Effect Options button’s icon changes, depending upon what type of motion path is selected.