If you've used animations in PowerPoint 2003 you'll have found there are two types available, Animation schemes and Custom Animations. This article summaries the key features and benefits of each.

Using Animation Schemes

Animation Schemes can only be used in text based presentations. So if your slides contain layouts such as headings and bullet points then Animation Schemes can be an ideal way to easily apply a variety of animation effects. However if your slides containing objects such as graphics, shapes and images then Animation Schemes will not have any effect. Animation Schemes can be applied to one slide, several slides or to an entire presentation.

To apply an Animation Scheme to the current slide, choose Slide Show, Animation Schemes. The Animation Schemes panel opens on the right and you can choose from a wide selection under the impressively named categories Subtle, Moderate and Exciting. Select an animation under one of these categories and the slide will preview the animation. You can apply different Animation Schemes to different slides or one animation scheme to groups of slides or the entire presentation. Once applied, the animation icon appears to the left of the slide in Normal view, or under the slide in Slide Sorted view. If you click on an animation icon, the slide animation will preview.

You can change the animation by returning to the Animation Schemes panel and choosing another. If you do this the first animation scheme is removed and replaced by the new one. Once you've made a change you can preview the effects by clicking on the Play button at the bottom of the animation panel. You'll also see in the animations panel a helpful Recently Used category. So if you create a new presentation you can easily apply a similar animation scheme without having to remember the type names.

Using Custom Animation

Custom Animation offers a greater variety of animation effects which can applied to any item on a slide including shapes, images and graphics as well as to text. However the effects are applied to individual items or groups of items on the slide rather than to entire slides, so you need more time to apply the effects. However there are many more effects to choose from and you can achieve more complex results. For example you can have some items appearing from the side onto the slide, similar to animation scheme effects, and apply different effects to other items on the same slide such as fading or dissolving. You can copy slides including all the slide effects and then amend the content, but other than this you need to apply custom animation to each slide separately.

To apply Custom Animation you first select one or more objects on the slide. Then choose Slide Show, Custom Animation. The Custom Animation panel appears on the right. You can animate objects in four main ways; Entrance, Emphasis, Exit and Motion Paths.

Entrance effects cover how the objects arrive into view or appears on the slide. So Entrance effects include for example appearing, flying in, floating in or spiraling in. You can control the timing of all the entrance effects, change the entrance direction and choose whether the effect is triggered by a mouse click or occurs when the slide is viewed. By default all custom animation effects trigger on mouse clicks, so as you give the presentation you can click the mouse and the effect is applied.

Emphasis effects are used to animate an item which is already on the slide. So for example you can have the item enlarge, rotate, appear, disappear or move following a mouse click. These effects are very useful if you want to emphasise a point during the presentation, and with careful use can really focus the audience attention.

Exit effects are used to animate items already on the slide such that the animation results in the item disappearing. So you can fly off the screen, vanish, fade or dissolve or perform a spiral and before disappearing.

Motion Path effects are just that. If you apply a motion effect to an item, you can choose a preset path such as a curve, a spiral, or a bouncing path. The motion path consists of a line drawn in the selected shape, and you can move, resize or change where the motion path starts or stops to define the path you want the item to follow. You can even draw your own motion path, but you can usually achieve the best results by using a preset motion and editing it to suit. Once applied, you change to slide show view, click the mouse and the item follows the invisible motion path.

So in this article we've looked at the two main kinds of animation you can use in PowerPoint, Animation Schemes and Custom Animation. Animation Schemes are easy to use and very effective when applied to a text based presentation. Custom Animations can be used for any slide content including shapes and graphics as well as text and allow you to apply animations to individual items or groups of items rather then to whole slides.

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