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A screenshot showing PowerPoint 2003's Custom Animation.

PowerPoint animation is a form of animation which uses Microsoft PowerPoint and similar programs to create a game or movie. Using Custom Animation, drawing tools and slides within PowerPoint, the animator makes a game or movie.

Custom Animation

Custom Animation is a set of effects which can be applied to objects in PowerPoint so that they will animate in the Slide Show. They can be added under the Custom Animation function (Slide Show | Custom Animation) or through the use of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). PowerPoint 2000 and earlier versions introduced basic effects such as Appear, Dissolve, Fly In and so forth. In PowerPoint 2002/XP and later versions, the Custom Animation feature was improved, adding new animation effects grouped into four categories: Entrance, Emphasis, Exit and Motion Paths.

Entrance effects can be set to objects so that they enter with animations during Slide Show. Emphasis effects animate the objects on the spot. Exit effects allow objects to leave the Slide Show with animations. Motion Paths allow objects to move around the Slide Show. Each effect contains variables such as start (On click, With previous, After previous), delay, speed, repeat and trigger. This makes animations more flexible and interactive, similar to Adobe Flash.

Animation Trigger

Animation Trigger is another feature introduced in Microsoft PowerPoint 2002/XP and the later versions (but, to date, not for Macintosh). This feature allows animators to apply effects that can be triggered when a specific object on the Slide Show is clicked.


In many middle school and early high school classes, students learn how to use the Microsoft Office PowerPoint program. Students generally learn how to create slides with simple custom animations for reports. Other techniques such as hyperlinks and Animation Trigger are used for the next level of animation. A hyperlink can be used within the PowerPoint document to link two pages to a highlighted object or to a website page.

Using hyperlink and Animation Trigger, one can create games such as to Jeopardy, using the tools to maneuver from question to answer. Taking this same principle, the animator can also make less complex games similar to a dungeon game and Escape the room. In this format, the animator can create a domain where the player chooses to go right or left, or pick up objects, and so forth. The process takes time to create, but is generally cheaper and easier than using a professional gaming program.

For more experienced users, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is also commonly used in PowerPoint to keep scores, enter inputs and so forth. With the help of VBA, animations can be programmed with more flexibility.


PowerPoint can also function as a movie maker program. The animator using PowerPoint works similarly to an animator using cels, using a succession of slides to create the illusion of movement. Many tools within the PowerPoint program can be easily used for maximum effect. Drawing tools such as AutoShapes, contains lines, connectors, basic shapes, block arrows, flowchart, stars and banners, callouts and action buttons, help draw out a slide. Custom Animations and sound tools can also be used to help make the project feel like a movie and not a report. The process of drawing out multiple slides takes time, but, again, it is considered easier to use than buying a movie maker program.

Another way to do these animations is by animating a cartoon as a single slide acting as a frame of film. This is done by setting the slide transitions to 00:00 time and to run automatically. This allows the slide show to runs like an animated film. This is time consuming, but the artist has much more control and can do much more detailed and precise animation. It also allows control over the timing of the animation. A usual month's work of this usually ends up at about a minute in length. A three-minutes animation can take around three to four months to complete depending on the amount of detail, these length cartoons usually run around 1,800 slides.

Using Custom Animation, cartoon or movies similar to those created in Adobe Flash can be done with PowerPoint. With minimum time, an animator can produce a simple show similar to a stick figure movie, where the body movements are animated using Motion Paths and Emphasis effects. An example released under PowerPoint Heaven, has a section called Shadow Fighter series which demonstrates PowerPoint movies.


While PowerPoint offers various distribution formats, notably in PowerPoint Show (.pps, .ppsx) and web page (.html), it should be noted that not all animation functions work accurately when saved as a web page or executed with a PowerPoint Viewer. Standalone EXE is also an alternate way for a creator to distribute his work with PowerPoint Viewer embedded. Animation works can be easily created by amateur artists which are then distributed on the web , though technical knowledge are required to create a notable work.


Though animations can be created easily using Custom Animations provided in Microsoft PowerPoint, it may be much more tedious to complete a project in PowerPoint than in professional animation programs such as Adobe Flash due to the absence of key frames and tweening.

When effects such as Emphasis Grow/Shrink and Spin are applied to objects, they may appear to be jagged when previewing in the slide show. In addition, excessive use of effects may degrade the slide show performance. These issues can though be resolved by enabling the hardware graphics acceleration feature which requires video card that supports Microsoft Direct3D.

PowerPoint 2000 and later versions introduced macro security to help protect computer from malicious code within a PowerPoint presentation. This led to disabling all VBA or macro code by default, causing presentations containing codes unable to run properly. This can though be resolved by adjusting the macro security settings to Low.