Design motion paths

Create a sequence with line paths

Your browser does not support video. Install Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash Player, or Internet Explorer 9.

Many motion path animation sequences are fairly simple to create, but it may not look that way. We'll recreate a sequence to show you more techniques for using motion paths and animation.

Want more?

Video: Create custom animations with motion paths

In this list, an arrow helps create visual impact.

With each mouse click, the arrow moves down the list, punctuating and lighting up the text as it goes.

Motion paths make this kind of action possible, by driving the arrow down, bullet to bullet, and triggering the text effects.

A sequence like this is fairly simple to create, but it may not look that way.

I am going to recreate it now, to show you more techniques for using motion paths and animation.

Here is the list with no animations applied.

For this exercise, I have zoomed in for a close-up view, and I'll turn off AutoPreview.

First, I'll apply the motion paths.

The paths go on this chevron arrow.

For the first path, I select the arrow, open the Animation gallery, and choose Lines.

A down path is applied, and that is what I want.

The pale image of the chevron arrow shows me where the arrow will move to.

But, I want it to stop at the second bullet, so I need to shorten the path.

I press Shift to keep the line vertical as I redraw it, then point to the end, look for the two-headed arrow, and drag the end upward.

As I drag, note this crosshair that appears. It helps me, visually, to line up the end of the path with the bullet.

I release the mouse and Shift key, and click away.

There is the first path.

Let's preview it.

The arrow stops at the second bullet.

I need three more motion paths for the chevron arrow.

For the next one, I select the arrow again, and this time, I click Add Animation since the arrow already has one path.

In that gallery, I choose Lines again.

The second path is applied, and it is the one that is currently selected.

Remember that the selected path always has red and green circles, rather than arrows, at the start and end.

I need to resize this new path to go between the second and third bullets.

I press Shift to keep the line vertical, then I point to the green circle at the start of the path, look for the two-headed arrow cursor, and drag the starting point to the second bullet.

I let up the mouse and Shift key.

The starting point for the second path is now here.

The end point needs to be at the third bullet.

The path is still selected, so I press Shift, and drag up the end of the path to the third bullet.

I now have two motion paths for the chevron arrow.

Let's preview how this plays: The arrow moves down in two steps, to the second bullet and third bullet.

That's exactly what I want.

So, to add more paths, I select the chevron, use Add Animation to apply the path, and then, resize the path.

Now, the Animation Pane can help with this process, so let's open it.

Here are the motion paths I have added so far.

Notice how, when I select the first path effect in the pane, that path is also selected on the slide.

I select the second path effect in the pane, and it is selected on the slide.

And there is the third path.

Another detail is that for the paths that start below the chevron, they are shown with a pale image of the chevron at the start and end.

So, as I am resizing these layered paths, I can select them in the Animation Pane if I want to.

Now I have all the motion paths in place.

Before I preview them, I want to adjust their playing time.

A quick way is to select them all. I'll click the bottom one, press Shift, and click the top one to select the range.

Then, I'll change the Duration setting, up here.

Instead of 2 seconds, I'll decrease this to .75.

Notice how the duration boxes in the Animation Pane shorten as I decrease the number.

To watch the sequence, I'll click Play Selected.

The arrow moves down and stops at each bullet.

I'll complete the animation sequence by adding a text effect.

I want the effect to turn this text from gray to white.

I'll select the placeholder,and in the Animation gallery, I'll choose an Emphasis effect called the Brush Color.

The effect is applied to the text as a group, and I can see the group of effects by clicking these down arrows.

Now I'll open Effect Options for the group.

I want the effect to turn the text white.

So, I'll change this blue color to white.

Also, I want to animate the text by word instead of letter, so I'll choose By word.

Another thing: On the Text Animation tab, I want to uncheck this option because I don't want to animate the text placeholder.

To see just the text effect, I'll click Play Selected.

The text highlights, line by line.

My last task is to reorder the motion paths, so that they play between the text effects.

I'll select the first motion path and drag it down under the first text line, which is Location.

Then, I'll do that with the rest of the paths, in order.

So, the second one goes under Time; the third one goes under Dress code; and the fourth one follows: What to bring.

Another thing that I want is the text effects play automatically after each path.

So, I'll press Ctrl and click to select each text effect that follows a path.

And I'll set these to Start After Previous.

Let's click Play All to play the full sequence.

A final detail: In the original sequence, the arrow flew in and lit up the first line.

That was done with a Fly-in entrance effect on the arrow, ordered at the start of the sequence.

Up next: Apply motion paths to layered pictures.

Connect with an expert
Contact us
Expand your skills
Explore training

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.