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Lock and Unlock Paths for Motion Path Animations in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn to lock and unlock motion paths in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows.


Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

OS: Windows 7 and higher

When most people use Motion Path animations, the feature they probably use the least is locking and unlocking the Motion Paths. That may be because these options are not too well documented. But that’s no reason to ignore this option. Especially, since locking and unlocking Motion Paths can help you create better animations. You have already learned how to add a motion path animation to any slide object by either using a preset motion path or by drawing your own custom motion path. We also explained the concept of reversing paths and opening and closing paths.

Follow these steps to learn how to access and use the Lock and Unlock options for Motion Paths in PowerPoint 2016:

  1. First add a shape to a blank slide, and apply a motion path animation. Refer to our adding a motion path or drawing a custom motion path tutorials to get started.
  2. Now, access the Animations tab of the Ribbon, and click the Animation Pane button, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 1. Remember that this is a toggle button, so if your Animation Pane is already visible, then clicking this button will make it disappear.

    Animation Pane button
    Figure 1: Animation Pane button
  3. This opens the Animation Pane as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 2.

    Animation Pane
    Figure 2: Animation Pane
  4. Select the shape that has a motion path animation applied, and you shall be able to see a dashed line representing the motion path (highlighted in red within Figure 2 above).
  5. Now move the selected shape, and you'll discover that the motion path also moves along with the shape. In PowerPoint parlance, this means that the motion path is unlocked to the shape.
  6. You can now unlock (lock in PowerPoint parlance) the motion path from the shape. To do that, first ensure that the correct motion path animation is selected in the Animation Pane (crucial if you have more than one animation applied to a slide object). Within the Animation Pane, right-click the animation item to bring up a drop-down list. Within this drop-down list, choose Effect Options as shown in Figure 3.

    Effect Options to be selected
    Figure 3: Effect Options to be selected
  7. This summons a multi-tabbed dialog box as shown in Figure 4. Click the Effect tab (highlighted in blue within Figure 4), and from the Path drop-down list, choose the Locked option (highlighted in red within Figure 4). Click the OK button to apply the changes.

    Locked option to be selected
    Figure 4: Locked option to be selected
  8. Now you can drag the shape (slide object) around, and the motion path won't move with it!

    Remember: You really don't need to lock/unlock a motion path from its slide object to move it around. To do that, select just the actual motion path, not the slide object to which it has been applied, and drag it around as required. This process just moves the motion path, and leaves the slide object in its original place. But, now if you move the slide object, the motion path also starts moving accordingly, even though it is away from the slide object. Confusing? Yes, it is a little, unless you play around for a few times!
  9. To unlock the locked motion path, first select it within the Animation Pane. Then follow the procedure explained in Step 6 and 7, but within the Path drop-down list, select Unlocked option instead of Locked. Now, the unlocked motion path also moves along when you move the slide object associated with it.

See Also:

Lock and Unlock Paths for Motion Path Animations in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Anchor and Unanchor Paths for Motion Path Animations in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Lock and Unlock Paths for Motion Path Animations in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Lock and Unlock Paths for Motion Path Animations in PowerPoint 2007, 2003, and 2002 for Windows

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