Using the Transitions and Animations Menus in PowerPoint

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

In PowerPoint, transitions are used to add visual effects between slides, whereas animations add text and picture movement. Learn how to use transitions and animations menus to create presentations in PowerPoint. Updated: 10/05/2021

Animate and Transition

You don't need to understand programming language, such as Flash, to make your next presentation really pop! The Transitions and Animations commands allow you to get creative with your slides. Adding transitions allows you to add a little flair between the slides, and adding animated movements to your text or pictures helps draw attention to key points and break up the boredom of plain, text-only slides.


Transitions are different from animations in that transitions are visual effects when moving from one slide to the next. For example, you can make one slide dissolve slowly away as the next slide appears. You can get more creative and make one slide push the old slide out or even use an effect that looks like doors opening to your next slide.

If you click on the Transitions tab, on the top of the ribbon, you will see that there are many different transitions you can apply to one slide or to all slides at the same time. Sound hard? Not at all. Just select the slide for your transition and click on the transition effect. You even get a preview of what it will look like. Click on Apply to All to add the transition to all slides at once.

With all the many choices for transitions, I find it's best to use the same transition for all slides and not mix it up. Keep it consistent for that professional look.


Most people think that you need to understand advanced programming in order to make text or pictures animate or move during your presentation. Not with PowerPoint. Although animations might be on the more advanced side of the program's options, don't panic. Let's break it down into three simple steps.

  1. Decide what object you want to animate (or make move on the slide).
  2. Select the movement you want for the object, such as Fly In or Appear.
  3. Choose when you want it to enter.

As you can see in the video, if you click on the Animations tab and then click on the down arrow for more animation options, there are many choices (please see the video at 02:05). You will notice that animations are grouped into three categories: what the object will do when it enters, exits and if you want any emphasis added to the object. For example, a picture could fly in on entrance, pulse for a few seconds for emphasis and then slowly fade out on exit.

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