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Motion Path Animations in PowerPoint 2010 -- Drawing Custom Paths

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: PowerPoint 2010
OS: Windows 7 / Vista / XP

Date Created: April 9th 2012
Last Updated: April 9th 2012

Excerpt/Capsule: Learn how to draw a custom path in PowerPoint 2010.

We showed you how you can add a basic Motion Path animation to any PowerPoint slide object. If none of the ready made motion paths suit your needs, or if you cannot easily edit them to the way you want, you can easily create your own motion paths. In this tutorial we'll show you how you can use PowerPoint's drawing tools to create your own motion path.

To access these options, and to create your own motion path, follow these steps:

  1. Select the slide object that you want to animate -- you can select any object on a slide although animation works best on text and shapes.

    Alternatively, if you just want to follow this tutorial step-by-step, launch PowerPoint 2010. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation -- PowerPoint 2010 users can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting Home tab | Layout | Blank. Then, insert a shape and select it.

  2. With the slide object still selected, access the Animations tab of the Ribbon. Within the Advanced Animation group, click the Add Animation button to bring up the Add Animation gallery, as shown in Figure 1. Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the Add Animation gallery to get the Motion Paths animation.

    Motion Paths animations within the Add Animation gallery
    Figure 1: Motion Paths animations within the Add Animation gallery

  3. Now, choose the Custom Path effect (highlighted in red in Figure 1 above). This changes the cursor to a cross hair, indicating that the drawing mode is active (highlighted in red in Figure 2).

    Cross hair cursor indicates that drawing mode is active
    Figure 2: Cross hair cursor indicates that drawing mode is active

    In the earlier versions of PowerPoint there were four tools which are used to draw custom paths: Line, Curve, Freeform, and Scribble. In PowerPoint 2010 all of these four tools are combined as one tool. Here are some guidelines which will help you in drawing a motion path:

    • To draw a straight line, click to establish the starting point of the line (motion path), and move your cursor (do not drag) to decide the length of your motion path. Then double click to establish the end point.

    • To draw a curve, click anywhere on the slide to create the starting point. Then move the cursor a little afar and click again to establish a new point. At this point, a curve will be created -- keep creating points like this wherever you want to define a curve. Double-click when you are finished.

    • To draw a freeform path, click for each anchor point that you want; straight lines will appear between the anchor points. You can also click and drag to create non-straight lines. Double-click when you are finished.

    • For a scribble, click on the slide and without releasing the mouse button start dragging the mouse, note that the cursor will now change to a pencil. Draw on the slide with the mouse button held down. Double-click when you are finished.

      Whichever path you are drawing, make sure you establish the starting point of the custom motion path exactly at the position of your slide object. Remember the start point will have a green arrow, and the end point will have a red arrow.

  4. As soon as you finish drawing the motion path, your selected slide object will animate along the path. Once the animation preview stops, you can see your drawn motion path. Figure 3 shows one such custom motion path.

    Custom motion path drawn
    Figure 3: Custom motion path drawn

  5. Save your presentation.

See Also: Motion Path Animations in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac -- Drawing Custom Paths | Motion Path Animations in PowerPoint 2002, 2003, and 2007 -- Drawing Custom Paths


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Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

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