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How to use motion path animations in Microsoft PowerPoint


Microsoft PowerPoint offers many types of animations. You can add effects to text, images, and shapes. But if you want to create your own, you can select a motion path animation to move your object where you want.

With motion path animations in PowerPoint, you can make your object move in a zigzag, loop, spiral, or swoosh. Once you select the motion path you want to use, you can customize the points to create the exact path you want your object to take.

Add a motion path animation

Open your PowerPoint presentation and select the slide where you want to create the animation. Insert the object you want to animate, or select it if you’ve already added it to the slide.

RELATED: How to hide an object before animation in PowerPoint

Go to the Animations tab and click the arrow at the bottom of the Animation selection box. This opens the full collection.

Animation Options in PowerPoint

Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see a few options in the Movement Paths section. If you want to use one of these, simply select it to apply it to your object. Note that you can choose Custom Path which allows you to draw the path yourself.

Motion Path Options in PowerPoint

For additional options, click “More Motion Paths” at the bottom of the window.

More movement paths in the options

In the Change Motion Path box, you’ll see Basic, Lines and Curves, and Special paths. To see a preview before applying it, check the Preview effect box at the bottom. Then pick one to see it in action.

Preview option for motion paths

When you find the path you want to use, select it and click “OK”.

Selected a motion path animation

If you want to combine motion paths so that your object ends up in a certain place, check out our tutorial.

RELATED: How to Combine Motion Paths in Microsoft PowerPoint

Customize the path of movement

After applying the motion path, you may have options to change the direction. Select the animated object and go to the Animations tab. Click the Effect Options drop-down arrow to see your options. Note that not all paths offer additional effects, but most allow you to reverse the direction of the path.

Indications in the Effect Options drop-down box

In addition to changing the direction of your movement path, you can edit the points. Click the Effect Options dropdown arrow and choose “Edit Points.”

Edit Points in the Effect Options dropdown box

You will then see the movement path with the dots as squares. Select and drag a point to move it.

Drag a point to move it

You can also right-click a point to see options such as making it a smooth, straight, or corner point. Also, you can add more points or remove one.

More motion path options

If you want to change the start action or duration, or add a delay, select the animation and use the tools on the Animations tab.

Animations tab in PowerPoint

Remember, you can preview your animation as you edit it using the Preview button on the left side of the ribbon on the Animations tab. This helps to see if you need more adjustments or want to reorder the animations.

Animations can enhance your slideshow. So if motion path animation is what you need, you have plenty of options in PowerPoint.

RELATED: 8 Tips for Making the Best PowerPoint Presentations

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