Deep Dive: Creating and Managing Motion Animation

About this lesson

Create powerful Motion Animation in PowerPoint to bring focus to your slides.

The path animation tool is an advanced technique that requires guidance to take full advantage.

We cover how to use this tool for both Windows and the Mac (including hidden menus) that will teach you how to take complete control of this sometimes frustrating tool.


  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:18 Applicable Versions
  • 01:40 Preview Project
  • 02:16 Building 1st Project
  • 02:37 Mac Menu Differences
  • 03:20 2nd Way to Add Motion Animation
  • 03:41 Adding Motion to Text Titles
  • 04:00 Stacking Additional Animations
  • 04:53 Opening The Animation Pane
  • 05:27 Changing the Order and Timing
  • 06:22 Fundamentals of Adding Motion Paths
  • 07:36 Preview Button vs Slide Show
  • 08:12 Seeing Extended More Motion Paths (Windows)
  • 08:40 Inconsistent Motion Path Actions – Complex vs Basic Motions
  • 08:55 Starting Point Moving
  • 09:45 Motion Path Selection Icons
  • 10:40 Moving End Point vs Moving the Whole Path
  • 11:25 Two-Way Arrow vs Four-Way Arrow
  • 11:45 Trouble Moving Motion Path
  • 12:20 Fixing Start Point Change in Motion Path
  • 13:13 Rotating the Motion Path
  • 13:50 Resizing the Animated Object
  • 14:36 Editing Motion Path
  • 15:00 Reversing the Path Direction
  • 15:05 Editing Points Grayed Out
  • 15:16 Uncover Mac Extra Motion Path Menu
  • 16:03 Editing the Motion Curve
  • 16:27 Changing the Curve Shape
  • 16:45 Remove an Animation
  • 17:14 Layers and Motion Paths
  • 17:55 Adding Multiple Animations
  • 18:25 Differences between Emphasis, Exit, and Entrance
  • 18:55 Sequencing
  • 19:50 Animation AFTER the Motion
  • 20:25 Building a Professional Presentation
  • 27:40 The Wrap-Up


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility All Versions of PowerPoint - Windows and Mac


Course Completed

PDF Files There are not any files associated with this lesson.



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Welcome to the Complete Motion Path Animation Tutorial for both Windows and the Mac OS versions of PowerPoint.

I’m Les McCarter, where I bring my decades of expertise to you for free.

In our earlier tutorial, we covered all about using the tool of <CLICK> Animation to bring focus to your slide deck.

But you can step up your game by adding the extra pizzaz of motion <click> to your animation points. Exactly like what you are seeing right now

I am going to show you how to take complete control <click> of this sometimes frustrating tool with my professional guidance.

I will cover all the controls, including the confusing cursor icons, plus the various ways to edit the motion path. And go deep into creating automated animations that are stacked one after another and executed like stagecraft.


Along the way, I will show both Mac and Windows commands when the menus deviate and uncover some hidden menus.

So <click> Let’s go Power Up and learn all about PowerPoint Motion Path Animation.

I am working on a Windows computer with the latest Office 365 and the commands work back to PowerPoint 2013. For the most part, this works the same on the Mac version of Office 365, but with some slightly different menus, which I will highlight along the way.

Here is our first introductory slide to show motion path animation in action.

My prebuilt slide has four actions:

If you have not worked with slide animation before, do loo for our YouTube tutorials on standard animation listed above.

Note that I have one for Windows and another YouTube tutorial for the Mac.

So to use this advanced animation, you sill need to go to the Animation tab on the ribbon menu and then select the object you want to animate. Let’s do the cat chasing the mouse.

For our Windows users, we will do the drop-down box to see all the animations.

But for our Mac Users, you need to click the action icon called PATH ANIMATION and the drop down list will show only PATH ANIMATIONS, which our Windows users need to at the bottom of the selection list to find the MOTION PATH . . so the wording is slightly different, but still the same tool.

So we now need to put everything together to create a professional business presentation without cutsey sticker men.

Here is the final slide that we are going to recreate. Let’s preview it in slideshow mode and then build it.

With our Shell slide, lets add in a rectangle by going to the insert ribbon menu and add SHAPE and select the rectangle to draw.

Next we will align them all to the bottom.

And finally get to motion animation. Selecting the 2nd quarter, I will add in a line motion path.

Go to the EFFECT OPTOINS and tell it to go right. Then make the bar line up on top of the first quarter.


Lets do it again for the BEE but this time in windows we will choose the aciton ICON of ADD ANMAIONT, for the mac users, they will still use MOTION PATH

Once applied, we will grab the ghosted BEE, and in a few moments, we will see the mysteries of how to select, and move it up to the top corner in a straigh line.

We are not done. In most professional presenations, you will not be animating bees and kittens, but more likely text, like our title. I am adding a more anminated motion of circle but to add even more punch, I am going back to add a SECOND, ADDTIONAL animation of GROW/SHRINK, and it is importnat that we choose from the EMPHASIS group, becuase we don’t want the title to dissapear as it would with ENTRANCE or EXCIT> and then faiinally we will add one more EMPHASIS of FONT COLOR change.

Let’s check this out in a slide show, but I want to only run the slide show from this slide, not the begging, so I will use the slide show icon found on the bottom right corner..

With that thorough introduction of motion path animation, we need to get into the details, as this is probably one of the most frustrating PowerPoint features if you don’t understand the fundamentals.

Let start off by showing how to add in some basic motion paths.

As always, you need to work in the ANIMATION ribbon menu and select the object you want to animate. It can be a text box or in our case, this bicycle man sticker. Then go to the animation list. For the Mac, choose the PATH ANIMATION action icon and for windows the drop down box of all the animations and scroll down to Motion Path groupings.

In my opinion the LINE selection is the easies to control.

Once applied, wait a moment and you will see a preview of the animation and when done, there will be a ghost version of the image at the ending point.

To change the ending point, move your mouse of the center of the ghost ending point until you see the DOUBLE arrow, not the 4-way arrow, and then click and drag to the new locations.

Let’s do it again with a right hand turn. Select object. Choose Animation. WAIT for the ghosted end image. Select with the DOUBLE ARROW. and move the end point.

Note that we have not control of the actual motion path, just the end point. I will address that path edit in a few moments.

Before we go too far, lets examine the PREVIEW action icon. When you first select a new animated motion, you get a preview of how it will play out. If you want to see it again, just go to the top left corner and hit the PREVIEW button to play it agian.

See that it plays BOTH of our animated bikes without the use of a mouse click. We will see how it works on the big screen in a moment when we do a slide show, but let’s add one more complext path and see that it does not behave like our two earlier simpley motion paths

This time, we will select the MORE MOTiON PATHS to see way more choices. Mac User friends, hang in there to see where we will find even more choices for you.

In Windows, if you click any of these choices, it will preview the effect before accepting the motion path. Once you find one that you like, then do click OK.

With the CURVEY RIGHT path, we get a lot more action, but also some different behavior.

Wit this complex path, there is NO two-arrow end point to select. And that is one of the frustrating things of PowerPoint motion path: the inconsistent interaction with the objects!

What we can do , is stetch out the path area, but when we do, look how the starting point also slightly moves at the same time.

And when we preview this, I want you to watch closely on the MANY CHOICE animation as the biker will JUMP a space to the right to start his CURVEY RIGHT motion path.

And when we return, we do see how the starting point is just slight to the right of the original image that is still part of the slide.

Watch again as we run this as a slide show. the third aniation JUMPS and then executes the motion.

So this is not very smooth, and we will need to fix this, but we do need to nail down this selection and movement problem.

First off, you ALWAYS need to be in the ANIMATION menu to manage the animation.

Let me quickly add in a straight line animation and then look closely for the TWO headed arrow before clicking to relocate the end point. ANd as I drag, you do see the point now look like a plus sign until I drop it on the new locatoin.

A BIG issue is managing the object and not the path. Look at when I click the biker object and drag the right grab point, it does NOT impact the path, but just makes the biker object bigger.

I will undo the stretching of the biker object and this time attempt to locate and then click on the path. I know I have the path selected as the ghost image shows up.

Now lets see the different between the diagonal two headed arrow versus the fourway arrow. the two headed diagonal arrow indicates I am about to move the end point to a new location. But the FOUR WAY arrow means ai am moving the whole collection path as a single unit to a new location: both starting and endoing point.

I cannot emphasize enough the simplicity of the simple straightline. You can easily move the end point and it will not give you headaches. Once you add the more complex lines, things get messy. The simple curve line would appear to have just a start and end, which is true, but the bending path messes with us when we move it around.

In our attempt to make hotdog man’s arc longer and higher, the truck now jump to a higher location than the static slide image.

Remember our four-way arrow for moving the whole animation colleciton? Well use that to select the path and bring the starting point back to the static hotdog man’s starting locaiton.

But once we go into the MORE MOTION PATHS, each selection introduces a vareithy of turns and curves.

Still we can make the total animated path longer or we can use the round circle icon to actuall rotate the path and then using the four-way arrow, relocate the starting point back on the original image. and then stretch out the path

I will choose zig zag with the goal of getting question man to zig zag upwards in a diagonal fashion Just stretching the whole path does not give me that upwards tragjectory, so we now want to look for a new cursor shape indicator by hovering over the circle arrow and click and then ROTATING the path.

Once located, we can stretch the path in one direction, not grow the whole path to get our upward right trajectory.

One more tip. Earlier I recommended that you make your starting object go to your desired location and size first, but there may be times you have to resize after adding the motion path.

So click the object and resize it; and will find the the new size will follow the previous existing path.

More control and MORE TROUBLE AHEAD. Editing the motion paths with greater control.

Starting with our simple straight line, let’s introduce the EFFECT OPTION Action drop down list choices. Here are the simplistic change for up, down, left or right.

Plus the extra bonus of getting bike man to ride backwards by reversing the path direction.

But note what we CANNOT do, and that is edit the path. That choice is grayed out.

But for our MAC users, it is the EFFECT OPTOINS where they get to see their expanded effect paths. On the Mac version of PowerPoint you select your base motion path first, such as WAVES, and then in the drop down EFFECT OPTIONS will show the addition paths to select from; so it requires those extra steps.

So back to complex path editing for both Windows and Mac. I have added a simple arc motion which introduces a three bend points between point a and point b.

Now with the more complext path the drop down EFFECT OPTOINS menu now provide the choic to EDIT PATH>

With my mouse, we need to pay close attention when trying to grab the bend points. If I get a square cursor with a plus key when click, I am adding a NEW edit path point. See how I went from three to four edit points?

But instead, I get a see through square with four pointer traingles, I am selecting and exisiing edit point that can be draged around.

Next lets look at the lever controls for a selected bend point. each end of the lever will let us shape the harshness and direction of the bend. click and experiment with both ends to turn the bend.

More motion path anoyances. I do find it hard to indentify motion paths with certain color backgrounds; which is why this tutorial has been all in white.

Every object on a powerpoint slide is on its own layer. If this statement is a new concept for you, look above for our indepth YouTuve tutorial on managing layers. Watch as we add a new line animation to our bicycle man and when we watch the action in slide show mode, he rides to the top of the sky scrapers.

One last advanced topic before we build a business animated slide.


Animation #1 will be our motion line path.

Once a motoin path is added,

Next we select object (not the existing animation path) and go to the ADD ANIMATION for WIndows users and for Mac, click off the object and then back on to stack on a second effect.

It is critical to select EMPAHSIS anmation for our #2 animation, NOT ENTRANCE or EXIT. EMPAHSIS is the yellow/orange color icons. Choose the Exit or Entrance categories will make the object dissapear or reappear in an unplanned fashion.

In this case we are selecting GROW/SHRINK as we want bike man to grow as he moves.


Watch carefully as bike man grows as he moves.

And for kicks, lets add a spin at the end with our third animation of a EMPAHSIS spin (not entrance or exit).

And this time we don’t want the spin during the move, but instead we will choose the start AFTER, not WITH.



We want to give the appearanc that the 2nd quarter is growing, but unlike before, I do want to use the ENTRANCE COMMAND becuase the 2nd quarter shape should not be showing until we start the animation.

But in the slide show, we see that we got it wrong. The image is aleady on the slide before the motion path begins and then as it moves, it does the entrance appear and zoom.

We got the order wrong. Let’s have the entrance first (so the object is not on the slide until we click) and then have it zoom and move.

And I present to you our finalized business professional motion path slide. It is a lot of work, but a well done slide.

Wrap up

There you go, you are now the stage director of all you animated motion path technqiues.


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