Animation in PowerPoint is of two types: distractive or emphasising. The former can steal the focus of your content, while the latter can make your presentation come alive. Predictably, the latter is better than the former, but creating subtle animations that emphasise the content of a presentation can be a challenging task. These animations can illustrate a process, show how a piece of machinery works, or just work with poetic abandon! Much of this animation involves the use of motion paths -- and we do have exhaustive documentation and tutorials on motion path animations elsewhere on this site.
Much of the work involved with motion paths can be painstakingly slow and repetitive. Our review product lets you do these tasks in a click or two, and amazingly enough, this is a free product.Back
About Motion Path Tools
Motion Path Tools is from Shyam Pillai, a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP who creates several PowerPoint add-ins. In the past, I have reviewed his Animation Carbon and other products.
Motion Path Tools works with PowerPoint 2002 (aka XP), 2003, and 2007.
You can learn more about Motion Path Tools on Shyam's site.Back
Download and Installation
Motion Path tools is a free PowerPoint add-in that you can download from here.
Follow the installation instructions from the site (see link above) -- you'll need to manually load the add-in.
Once that is done, you can access Motion Path Tools from the Add-Ins tab of the Ribbon within PowerPoint 2007, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Motion Path Tools in add-ins Ribbon tab within PowerPoint 2007
If you are using an earlier version of PowerPoint, you'll find Motion Path Tools as a sub menu under the Tools menu (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Motion Path Tools sub menu under the Tools menu in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003
Using Motion Path Tools
There are two options under Motion Path Tools:
Motion Path End Position: This option creates duplicate shapes at the position where the selected motion path animation ends. Do note that this just duplicates the shape, not the motion path animation -- you end up with a shape (or slide object) that's static, but located at the exact position where the motion path animation ends.
Align/Join Motion Paths: With this option, you can align selected motion paths assigned to a shape (or slide object) end to end -- this also joins the individual segments of motion path to create a single, continuous path.
I show you how both these options work. First, follow these steps to use the Motion Path End Position option:
- Launch PowerPoint. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation -- PowerPoint 2007 users can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting Home tab | Layout | Blank. Users of previous PowerPoint versions can choose Format | Slide Layout, and choose the Blank layout in the resultant task pane.
- PowerPoint 2007 users can choose the Home tab, and access the Shapes
gallery, and then choose any shape. Click once on the blank slide to place
Users of earlier versions will find the rectangle shape option in the Drawing toolbar located below the PowerPoint interface. Select this option, and click once on the blank slide to place a shape.
- Select the shape and apply a preset motion path animation or draw a custom motion path animation.
- Figure 3 shows a preset motion path animation applied to a shape.
Figure 3: Motion Path applied
- Now from Add-Ins tab in PowerPoint 2007 (or the Tools menu in previous PowerPoint versions), choose Motion Path Tools | Motion Path End Position.
- This brings up a dialog box as shown in Figure 4. All motion paths on the active slide are listed here, and your listing may show more motion paths than what you can see in the figure below. Select the motion path for which you want to generate the final/end position shapes, and click OK.
Figure 4: Select a motion path to set the final position
- This causes the shape to duplicate at the final position, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: End position generated
- Now you can either apply another motion path animation to the duplicated shape, especially if you want to use the Align/Join motion paths option that I discuss next.
Follow these steps to use the Align/Join Motion Paths option:
- Apply two different motion path to a single shape, as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Multiple motion paths applied
- Now select any of the motion paths, and place it roughly at the end of
the first motion path (see Figure 7).
Figure 7: Positioning motion paths
- Now from Add-Ins tab in PowerPoint 2007 (or the Tools menu in previous PowerPoint versions), choose Motion Path Tools | Align/Join Motion Paths.
- This opens the Align end to end dialog box (as shown in Figure 8) -- here select both the motion paths and activate
the check box that says Generate new consolidated motion path from selected items. Click OK.
Figure 8: Align end to end
- This joins both the motion paths and creates a contiguous, single motion
path (see Figure 9).
Figure 9: Joined motion path
Pricing and Support
Motion Path Tools is a free PowerPoint add-in. However Shyam also creates several other commercial add-ins that can be bought online.
Support is through online documentation.Back
Motion Path Tools is an awesome product that does just two tasks -- and does it very well.Back