Animate a SmartArt graphic

SmartArt graphics can do more than just sit there. Go to the SmartArt graphic you want to animate, click Animations, and in the Animation group, click the type of animation you want. Click More Button image to see more choices. (To remove the animation, just click None.)

More button on the Animation tab

To make your message more memorable, you can animate the individual shapes one at a time. For example, make each circle of a Venn diagram fly in one at a time. Or have an organization chart fade in by level. In some cases, you’ll more effectively make your point if you reverse the order of the animation. You can further fine tune the animation by setting animation effect options. And if you want to understand all the options for animating your SmartArt graphic, see this handy reference.

Animate individual shapes in your SmartArt graphic

Once you’ve added the animation, you can animate individual shapes.

  1. In the Animation group, click Effect Options, and then click One by One.

    Effect Options button in the Animations group

  2. In the Advanced Animations group, click Animation Pane.

    Animation Pane

  3. In the Animation Pane list, click the expand chevron Expand chevron to display all of the shapes in your SmartArt graphic.

Select all of the shapes that you don't want to animate, (hold down CTRL and then click each shape in turn), and then click None. (This removes the animation effect from the shape. It doesn't remove the shape from your SmartArt graphic.)

Option for no animation (None) in Animations group

  1. For each remaining shape, right-click the shape in the Animation Pane, and then select the animation options you want.

Tip:  Use the Animation Painter, to quickly copy animations from one SmartArt graphic to another.

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Reverse the order of an animation

  1. Go to the SmartArt graphic with the animation you want to reverse.

  2. Click Animations, and in the Animation group, click the dialog box launcher Dialog Box Launcher button on the ribbon .

    Dialog box launcher on Animations tab

  3. Click the SmartArt Animation tab, and then check the Reverse order check box.

    Part of SmartArt Animation tab showing Reverse Order check box

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Fine tune the animation

You can tweak your animation using effect options.

Important: Some animation effects that aren’t available for SmartArt graphics are available for shapes. To apply those effects to a SmartArt, right-click it, and then click Convert to Shapes.

  1. Go to the SmartArt graphic with the animation you want to adjust.

  2. Click Animations, and in the Advanced Animations group, click Animation Pane.

    Animation Pane

  3. In the Animation Pane list, click the arrow to the right of the animation you want to change, and then click Effect Options.

Drop down menu showing Effects Options

  1. In the dialog box, on the SmartArt Animation tab, in the Group graphic list, select one of the following options:



As One Object

Animates the whole SmartArt graphic as one large picture or object.

All at Once

Animates each shape individually at the same time. The difference between this animation and As one object is most notable in animations where the shapes rotate or grow. With All at once, each shape rotates or grows individually. With As one object, the whole SmartArt graphic rotates or grows.

One by One

Animates each shape individually, one after the other.

Level at Once

Animates all shapes at the same level at the same time. For example, if you have three shapes with Level 1 text and three shapes with Level 2 text, the Level 1 shapes are animated together first, and then Level 2 shapes are animated together.

Level One by One

Animates each shape within each level one after the other before going to the shapes in the next level. For example, if you have four shapes with Level 1 text and three shapes with Level 2 text, each of the Level 1 shapes are animated one after the other, before each of the three Level 2 shapes are animated one after the other.


  • The All at Once animation behaves differently than the As One Object animation. For example, if you pick the All at Once option and the Fly In animation, shapes that have farther to fly will fly at a faster speed so that all of the shapes arrive at their destinations at the same time. If you pick this same animation and the As One Object option, all the shapes fly at the same speed.

  • If you pick any animation except As One Object, the background of the SmartArt graphic will show on your slide. You can’t animate the background, so if it’s messing up your slide, try setting the fill and lines of your SmartArt graphic to None.

Tips for picking an animation

To decide which animation works best, look at the information in the SmartArt graphic text pane, because most animation starts with the top bullet in the Text pane and moves down from there. Alternatively, you can play an animation in reverse order. If you can’t see the Text pane, click Text Pane, in the Create Graphic group on the SmartArt Tools Design tab.

The animations that are available depend on the layout of your SmartArt graphic, but you can always animate all of the shapes at once or one shape at time.

Animations that you apply to a SmartArt graphic are different from animations that you can apply to shapes, text, or WordArt in the following ways:

  • Connecting lines between shapes are always associated with the second shape and are not animated individually.

  • If you apply an animation to shapes in a SmartArt graphic, the animation plays in the order that the shapes appear. The order can be reversed only as a whole.

    Example:     If you have six shapes and each contains a single letter A through F, you can play the animation from A to F or F to A. You can’t play the animation out of order, such as A to C and then F to D. but, you can create multiple slides to mimic this order. In this example, you can create one slide that animates shapes A to C and a second slide that animates shapes F to D.

  • When you switch SmartArt graphic layouts, any animation that you have added is transferred to the new layout.

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