Animate text and objects with motion paths

Motion paths trace a path for text or an object to follow across a slide. You can use predefined motion paths, such as lines and arcs, or you can draw a custom motion path to move the object from any position to another and in any direction that you want. For example, you can animate text so it moves from any position that you choose on the slide to another during your presentation. Or you can draw a path for an arrow to follow at important intervals in your presentation to illustrate the flow of a process.

Do any of the following:

Apply a motion path to an object or text

  1. Select the text or object that you want to apply an animation effect to.

  2. On the Animations tab, under Motion, click Paths, and then under Basic or Complex, click the type of motion path that you want.

    Animations tab, Motion group

    Tips: 

    • The arrows that show the motion path when you are editing the animation are not visible to your audience during the slide show.

    • To preview all animation effects on the slide, on the Animations tab, under Preview, click Play.

Draw a custom motion path

  1. Select the text or object that you want to apply an animation effect to.

  2. On the Animations tab, under Motion, click Paths, and then click Draw Curve, Draw Freeform, Draw Line, or Draw Scribble.

    Animations tab, Motion group

  3. To draw the motion path that you selected, do one the following:

To

Do this

Draw a curve

Click the position on the slide where you want to start the path, and then move the pointer along a line. Click wherever you want a curve apex in the path. Double-click at any point to stop drawing the path.

Draw a freeform path that includes straight lines

Click the position on the slide where you want to start the path, move the pointer in a direction to draw a straight line, and then click at any point that you want to create a corner. Or, click and then hold down the mouse as your move the mouse in any direction to draw a path that appears hand-drawn. Click wherever you want to change between these drawing methods. Double-click at any point to stop drawing the path.

Draw a line

Click the position on the slide where you want to start the path, hold down the mouse button, and then drag the pointer in a direction to draw a straight line. Release the mouse button to stop drawing the path.

Draw a path that appears hand-drawn, or scribbled

Click the position on the slide where you want to start the path, hold down the mouse button, and then drag the pointer in any direction. Release the mouse button to stop drawing the path.

Tips: 

    • If you want the curve or freeform path to finish where it started (referred to as "closing" the path), click the starting point of the path to stop drawing the path, instead of double-clicking or releasing the mouse button.

    • To preview all animation effects on the slide, on the Animations tab, under Preview, click Play.

Adjust the path of the animation

  1. In the navigation pane, select the slide that contains the animation effect that you want to change, and then click the Animation tab.

    How to select slides in the navigation pane

    1. On the View menu, click Normal.

    2. In the top of the navigation pane, click the Slides  Slides tab  tab, and then click a slide.Depending on the width of the navigation pane, you will either see the Slides named tab and Outline named tab  named tabs or the Slides  Slides tab and Outline  Outline tab icon tabs.

  2. On the slide, select the animation effect that you want to change.

    Tips: 

    1. Each animation effect is represented on the slide by a number  Animation number  next to the object, which indicates the order that it will play in.  If two animation effects are set to play at the same time, they are represented by a numbered stack  Animation numbered stack .

    2. To select an animation effect that is in a numbered stack   Animation numbered stack , you must view the full list of animation effects on the slide. On the Animations tab, under Animation Options, click Reorder, and then click the animation that you want.

  3. On the Animations tab, under Animation Options, click Effect Options, and then click Edit Points.

    Animations tab, Animation Options group

  4. Drag an edit point on the path animation to adjust the shape.

    Tip: To preview all animation effects on the slide, on the Animations tab, under Preview, click Play.

Reverse the direction of the motion path

  1. In the navigation pane, select the slide that contains the animation effect that you want to change, and then click the Animation tab.

    How to select slides in the navigation pane

    1. On the View menu, click Normal.

    2. In the top of the navigation pane, click the Slides  Slides tab  tab, and then click a slide.Depending on the width of the navigation pane, you will either see the Slides named tab and Outline named tab  named tabs or the Slides  Slides tab and Outline  Outline tab icon tabs.

  2. On the slide, select the animation effect that you want to change.

    Tips: 

    1. Each animation effect is represented on the slide by a number  Animation number  next to the object, which indicates the order that it will play in.  If two animation effects are set to play at the same time, they are represented by a numbered stack  Animation numbered stack .

    2. To select an animation effect that is in a numbered stack   Animation numbered stack , you must view the full list of animation effects on the slide. On the Animations tab, under Animation Options, click Reorder, and then click the animation that you want.

  3. On the Animations tab, under Animation Options, click Effect Options, and then click Reverse Path Direction.

    Animations tab, Animation Options group

    Tip: To preview all animation effects on the slide, on the Animations tab, under Preview, click Play.

Close or open the path

A motion path is "closed" if the path ends where it started. A motion path is "open" if it ends in a different location than where it started.

  1. In the navigation pane, select the slide that contains the animation effect that you want to change, and then click the Animation tab.

    How to select slides in the navigation pane

    1. On the View menu, click Normal.

    2. In the top of the navigation pane, click the Slides  Slides tab  tab, and then click a slide.Depending on the width of the navigation pane, you will either see the Slides named tab and Outline named tab  named tabs or the Slides  Slides tab and Outline  Outline tab icon tabs.

  2. On the slide, select the animation effect that you want to change.

    Tips: 

    1. Each animation effect is represented on the slide by a number  Animation number  next to the object, which indicates the order that it will play in.  If two animation effects are set to play at the same time, they are represented by a numbered stack  Animation numbered stack .

    2. To select an animation effect that is in a numbered stack   Animation numbered stack , you must view the full list of animation effects on the slide. On the Animations tab, under Animation Options, click Reorder, and then click the animation that you want.

  3. Do any of the following:

To

Do this

Open a closed path

Hold down CONTROL , click the motion path on the slide, and then on the shortcut menu, click Open Curve.

Close an open path

Hold down CONTROL , click the motion path on the slide, and then on the shortcut menu, click Close Curve.

To preview all animation effects on the slide, on the Animations tab, under Preview, click Play.

Move the motion path on the slide

  1. In the navigation pane, select the slide that contains the animation effect that you want to change, and then click the Animation tab.

    How to select slides in the navigation pane

    1. On the View menu, click Normal.

    2. In the top of the navigation pane, click the Slides  Slides tab  tab, and then click a slide.Depending on the width of the navigation pane, you will either see the Slides named tab and Outline named tab  named tabs or the Slides  Slides tab and Outline  Outline tab icon tabs.

  2. On the slide, select the animation effect that you want to change.

    Tips: 

    1. Each animation effect is represented on the slide by a number  Animation number  next to the object, which indicates the order that it will play in.  If two animation effects are set to play at the same time, they are represented by a numbered stack  Animation numbered stack .

    2. To select an animation effect that is in a numbered stack   Animation numbered stack , you must view the full list of animation effects on the slide. On the Animations tab, under Animation Options, click Reorder, and then click the animation that you want.

  3. Rest the pointer over the motion path until it becomes a Hand pointer , and then drag the motion path to the new location.

    To preview all animation effects on the slide, on the Animations tab, under Preview, click Play.

See also

Animate text and objects

Change animation order, speed, or how it starts

Change or remove animation effects

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