PowerPoint has some great animation features. They’re simple and easy to use. I covered animation tips in a previous post, but want to focus a little on motion paths in today’s post.
Using the motion path feature is straightforward. However, it can be challenging when you want to add to a motion path. For example, it’s hard to discern where the object is at the end of the animation. So you end up doing a bunch of manual tweaks which can be a bit frustrating.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to a simple PowerPoint add-in that makes working with motion path’s a cinch. Before we get started, let’s look at how motion paths work for those unfamiliar, and then we’ll look at the add-in.
PowerPoint Motion Paths 101
The motion paths are found in the animation section of PowerPoint. There are a few pre-determined paths and then you have the ability create your own custom path.
Once you add a motion path, it’s like any other animation. You can easily change the settings in the animation pane. There you can determine when the animation is triggered, how fast you want it, and the timing.
A few things to keep in mind when working with motion paths:
- The motion path start and stop points are always centered on the object.
- You can click and drag the motion path to where you want. You can also click and drag the start and stop points.
- The object’s motion starts at the beginning of the motion path regardless of where the object is on the screen.
- Right click on the motion path to edit its points.
Here’s a quick tutorial that shows how to create and edit motion paths in PowerPoint.
Get More Control of PowerPoint Motion Paths
Working with motion paths can be a challenge because it’s not always easy to align the stop point of one to the start point of another.
For example, let’s say on slide one, you want an image to move from one side of the screen to the other. Then on slide two, you want to start with the image in the new position. Figuring out what that position is can be a hassle. Or at least it used to be.
PowerPoint MVP Shyam Pillai created a PowerPoint add-in for motion paths. It lets you do three things:
- Add a duplicate object at the end of the animation. The add-in will duplicate your object at the end point. You can copy and paste that onto the next slide and the object will be aligned to the end point of the animation on the previous slide.
- Align motion paths. You can quickly connect the start and end points of your motion paths for one smooth animation.
- Convert multiple motion paths to a single path. Let’s say you create an object using three different motion paths. But you want them play in sequence. You don’t really need three paths. Instead combine them to a single path and you’re all set.
Here’s a quick tutorial that shows how to install and use the motion path add-in.
Note: When you install the add-in, you may get a macro security warning, just click ok to install it.
I think you’ll find that this motion path tool really comes in handy when building your rapid elearning courses. It definitely takes a lot of the trial and error out of aligning your animated objects. Be sure to thank Shyam for his generous contribution to the PowerPoint community.
How do you use motion paths in your PowerPoint files? Feel free to share your thoughts via the comments link.
Conference season is starting soon. Here are a few events that may interest you:
- I’ll be in Baton Rouge ASTD on October 12. I’m setting up a free Articulate Jam session for October 13 (8:30-11:00). Space may be limited, so if you’re interested, contact me and I’ll add you to the list.
- David Anderson will be in Houston on October 27. His presentation is titled
Practical Techniques for Designing Better E-Learning. If you’re in the area, check it out. Sign up and use RAPIDBLOG to get a $50 discount!
- I’ll be at Devlearn in San Francisco, November 3-5. I’m doing two sessions. One on on Rapid Instructional Design to Go with Rapid Elearning and the other on Creating Shared Practice Communities. I’ll also facilitate some Articulate-specific Breakfast Bytes. So swing by and say hello.
- Jeanette Brooks is presenting in Indianapolis on November 15. She’ll share some practical tips and tricks on how to create rapid elearning in her session, Making the Leap to E-Learning. Should be a doozy!
If you want to stay on top of where we’ll be, check out the calendar of events.