Trick: PowerPoint SmartArt Progress Animation Made Easy

About this lesson

Animated Project Status Bars in PowerPoint

In this training video, you’ll learn how to create animated project status bars using PowerPoint’s SmartArt tools, a faster and more elegant method compared to traditional techniques involving multiple slides and transitions. The video demonstrates three different types of progress bar animations, starting with a simple single-slide animation that can be created in under 90 seconds. It also covers a more complex multiset slideshow and a third version that offers complete control over color animations and SmartArt groupings, providing a polished look for your presentations.

The tutorial walks you through the step-by-step process of inserting and customizing SmartArt objects to create effective progress diagrams. For the first project, the video explains how to use the Closed Chevron Process layout to create a three-step progress bar and animate it to appear sequentially. In the second project, a larger multistep process is demonstrated using the Staggered Process layout, highlighting limitations such as line count restrictions and the importance of choosing the right layout to fit all steps clearly. The video emphasizes practical tips like resizing and animating SmartArt to enhance the visual impact of your slides.

For the final and most ambitious project, the video introduces using the Cycle Matrix layout for more detailed and customizable progress tracking. It demonstrates adding text, changing colors for emphasis, and converting SmartArt to shapes for more precise animation control. This segment underscores the importance of planning and organizing your animations to ensure clarity and impact in your presentations.


  • 01:06 90-Seconds Project
  • 02:33 Completed Short Project
  • 02:56 Longer Multistep Project 04:39 Animating SmartArt Details
  • 05:44 Complex Project
  • 06:07 Using Matrix Layouts
  • 07:08 Changing SmartArt Color
  • 08:07 SmartArt Animation Issues
  • 09:00 Fixing Animation Order of SmartArt
  • 09:22 Convert SmartArt to Shapes


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility


Course Completed

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



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Animated project status bars using old tools such as multiple duplicated Slides and slide transitions have been hard and not always elegant. But this quick tip will use animated SmartArt progress diagrams to create three different progress single slideshows in as fast as 90 seconds. Also, a multiset slideshow and a more complex third version will take complete control of color animations, or of objects and SmartArt groupings. And yes, this is an example in our live video of a progress bar. And over here, you’re seeing what our completed class projects will look like. Although we’re going to talk about how to make them a little classier outside of our whiteboard sessions. This will work for both Windows and Mac versions of PowerPoint from Office 2013 up to the latest version of Office 365. So let’s Go Power Up!. On animated slide progress charts,

we will build three separate projects, the first being a quick run-through so that you understand the mechanics. On our target slide will insert a SmartArt object by going to the insert Ribbon Menu tab, then clicking SmartArt action icon. For project process Slides. I like to work with the process group, as they tend to show time-based diagrams. Let’s look through here. And I’m going to choose Closed Chevron Process object as our first example.

For our tutorial, I’ll put in the most basic steps in the idea phase of a project, scope, stakeholders, and exec buy-in. Oh my gosh, if real-life project were only so simple. With that, we now have the three-step progress bar, the work is done.

So, let’s prep it for the presentation and animate this slide. In the animation ribbon tab menu, I’ll make sure that the object is selected, then let’s choose zoom for the animation effect. But we’re not done. As this will just animate the whole object. We want each item to show up as if it’s on its own individual slide. So we need to click on the effect options. And the choice we want is at the bottom called one by one. Now let’s look as I play the Slide Show.

School Project dot . . dot . . dot … click

identify stakeholders talk . . . talk . . . talk click gain exec by and talk atalk talk click.

And there it is. It’s that easy to make one slide look like three Slides in almost no time flat. In fact, in under 90 seconds. Let’s go to Project Number two, a larger multistep project and see some of the limitations and ways to get around them.

I’ll repeat the same steps. On my target slide. I’ll click the Insert ribbon tab menu, and then the SmartArt action icon. And within the process group, I’m going to select the visually interesting Staggered Process layout.

And if you need more help on choosing layouts, look above for link of our YouTube full tutorial on selecting the right layout. Just so it fits, I’m going to resize it into our space. And then let me put in a bunch of steps. First, let’s see the ending results. Let me speed this up.

As you can see, after step Five, I keep typing, but nothing is showing up in the SmartArt object. I’m only getting red X’s next to the type texts.

What’s going on? Well, if we look at the bottom, we see that the layout, Staggered Process, has some line count limitations. So we need to find a new layout. This is where the power of SmartArt tools helps tremendously as we’re able to browse different layout choices. If you’re new to all this to look for our SmartArt YouTube class listed above.

As I hover my mouse over the various layouts, we see that some will accommodate all 10 steps. But the font size is too small for many of the choices. Let’s try on this layout called Basic Bending Process.

Now, let’s go animate.

I’m going to click on the animation Ribbon Menu tab. This time I’m going to select Fly In and now let’s go to the effect options. Note that since I selected flying in, I now have some extra effect options, specifically which direction the

elements will fly in from. I will select fly in from the left, but we need to go back into the effect options. And once again choose one by one.

Now let’s go look and see how this looks in a slideshow presentation. I’m going to start from this specific page, and we go into it, we’re going to find that I can now click click click to go through steps one through 10. With that said, I would be ashamed to have to talk about all 10 steps in a presentation. As this is way too many talking points for a single slide. This is another great example of just because you can do it in PowerPoint, you should not do it, you need to keep it sweet and short,

Now to our last and most ambitious project, where we will stumble along the way and then find an elegant solution that will give us total control. Once again on a new slide, we’ll click on Insert, and we’ll choose SmartArt. And from there, we’re going to choose something different instead of a Process, we’re going to go to Matrix because there’s a very specific matrix item that lets us put in more details. The Cycle Matrix lets us put in four items, plus some supporting bullet points. Let’s go try it out.

I’m going to resize it, making sure not to choose an element but the whole object and move it to the center. And now I’m going to enter in some text. Notice that there are four headings, and each heading then has a place for bullet points to provide supporting information. This is only a four part matrix.

To speed up our process, let me paste in our text items.

And like all SmartArt objects, you can put text in the text pane. Or you can go directly into the individual elements and add text in that fashion. Watch however, when I add in a third bullet point, things do start to get small and you need to be aware once again of your audience’s ability to see small type

For this complex example, let’s introduce some color. With SmartArt Design Menu selected, I’ll browse the change color gallery. If you need more help on understand the SmartArt colors do look for advanced tutorial on YouTube. The colorful choices look fine. But I would like to point out that in our Execution phase, we have some issues with months two and three. So let me go in and individually change the color to red and bold by selecting the text and within the Home Menu, make those two bullet items red and bold.

Now let’s drive home the point that we’re having issues with the execution phase by recoloring that phase to red. For this, we need to select just that element. Then we’re gonna go to the Format Ribbon Menu tab, where we can find the Shape Fill action icon, and we’re going to select Red.

Now let’s go to the Animation tab and see what problems await us there. So I’m going to select this time fade in as our animation choice. And like before, I’m going to go into the Effects option and choose the bottom choice of one by one. And let’s take a look at it.

In the Slides frame mode, we see that the order is not quite right. It shows the main headings, one by one, before shows the supporting bullet points. That just does not work for this slide.

So normally, we would just open up the Animation Pane and change the order. Once we expand this group, we find that we cannot drag them around or click the up and down move buttons, the object seems to be locked.

Warning. Before you do this, save your work and make sure your SmartArt is exactly the way you want it. Because once broken, it no longer acts like SmartArt and is very difficult to edit. So we go back to the SmartArt Design Menu and locate convert action item to the far right of the menu. Then we select Convert to shapes, which will break apart the SmartArt objects into individual elements that will no longer be grouped together as a collective unit.

At this point, we want to animate the title and sub bullets as units, but everything are individual items. So as we demonstrated in our earlier YouTube tutorial listed above, I need to use the Arrange window and the ungroup command to break them into individual components. We will group the four pairs together by clicking the first item and then holding down the control key to select the second item

With the two items selected, I’m going to hold down the CTRL key and the letter G to group the pair’s. I’ll do this for all four topics, plus, click on the center arrow circles to delete them out. So in the end, I now have just four individual items that are simple to animate, I’m gonna go to the Animation menu, and in the order I want them to show up, I’m going to click select, and FADE select and FADE and select and fade, and I’m ready to go.

And now we were in the Slide Show, we’re gonna see that the four individual stages of our project show up in the right order grouped together, because we took total control. Remember, it is difficult to make changes afterwards. So before you break them up, make sure your SmartArt is the way you want them.

This should have opened up a whole new world for creating dynamic screen show presentations. If you want to learn more about taking complete control of SmartArt then do look for our YouTube SmartArt playlist to become a master. Do like and share this video and please please do consider subscribing as that encourages me to make more free videos for you to see our complete and free PowerPoint training school business at power dash up dot training. Until next time, Go Power Up!