How to Edit a Layered Animation in PowerPoint

By James T Wood

Like a delicious parfait, PowerPoint handles animation effects on slides as different layers. Adding one or two animations is typically simple and easy to edit. When the number of animations climbs, however, the editing can become more difficult since some of the layers will overlap or completely cover the layers underneath. Using the Custom Animation tool in PowerPoint allows you to pinpoint the specific layer you want to edit and fine-tune the features of that animation effect.

Step 1

Click on the "Animations" tab in the Microsoft Office ribbon at the top of the PowerPoint window. Click the "Custom Animations" button to launch the Custom Animation box to the right of the slide in the PowerPoint window. At the top of the box are buttons to add or change and remove animation layers. Below them are drop-down menus to customize the animation effect currently selected. Below the menus is a list that shows all the animation layers on that slide. Under the animation list are arrows for reordering the layers and then buttons for playing the animations or starting the slideshow.

Step 2

Click the animation layer you want to change from the animation list. A drop-down arrow will appear to the right of the title, and the title will be outlined in blue. Click the "Change" button at the top of the Custom Animation box to choose a different animation or use the "Remove" button to delete it.

Step 3

Adjust when the animation appears by selecting from the drop-down menus above the animation list. The first menu allows you to choose whether it appears with a mouse click -- pressing the space bar or right-arrow works too -- after the previous animation or with the previous animation. The second menu allows you to select specific options for Emphasis and Motion Path animations, for example, the font color. The third drop-down menu controls the speed of the animation in general terms from Very Slow to Very Fast.

Step 4

Move where each animation layer is in relation to the other animations. Click and drag the animation in the list, and then drop it where you want it to be. Alternatively, you can click to select the animation, and then click the "Re-Order" buttons below the list to move the item up or down, one layer at a time.

Step 5

Fine-tune the timing of the animations. Click to select an animation, and then click the drop-down arrow to the right of that animation title. Select "Show Advanced Timeline." Now each layer will also have a colored bar next to the animation title showing the length and placement of the animation. Drag the bar to the left or the right to adjust its start time. Drag the end of the bar to adjust the length of the animation effect.