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Lock and Unlock Paths for Motion Path Animations in PowerPoint 2007, 2003, and 2002 for Windows

Learn to lock and unlock motion paths in PowerPoint 2007, 2003, and 2002 for Windows.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2007, 2003, and 2002 for Windows

OS: Windows XP and higher






You won't have to tackle locking and unlocking motion paths too often but it's good to know more about these options since the way this works is not too intuitive.

First let us rehash some basics. We already showed you how to add a motion path animation to any slide object by either using a preset motion path, or by drawing your own custom path for the motion path animation. We also explained the concept of reversing paths and opening and closing paths.

Now let us start with the locking and unlocking.

Accessing the Lock / Unlock options:

To work with these options, follow these steps:

  1. First add a shape to a blank slide, and provide it with a motion path animation. Refer to our adding a motion path or drawing a custom motion path tutorials to get started.
  2. Now make sure that the Custom Animation Task Pane is visible as shown in Figure 1. If this Task Pane is not visible, you won't be able to see or select motion paths.

    For PowerPoint 2007 users, make sure that the shape is still selected, then activate the Animations tab of the Ribbon. Next, click the Custom Animation button to bring up a Task Pane of the same name that you can see in Figure 1. Remember, this is a toggle option: click once to show the Custom Animation Task Pane, and click again to hide it!

    Users of earlier PowerPoint versions can again make sure that the shape is selected. Then they should choose Slide Show | Custom Animation to access a similar Task Pane (see Figure 1).

    Custom Animation Task Pane
    Figure 1: Custom Animation Task Pane
  3. Select the object that has a motion path animation applied, and you shall be able to see a dashed line representing the motion path. Now select the shape, and move it around. You'll find that the motion path also moves along with the shape. In PowerPoint parlance, this means that the motion path is unlocked to the shape, we know that it actually seems locked! I told you this wasn't too intuitive, probably the folks who created this meant locked to represent as "lock it in place on the slide".
  4. You can now unlock (Lock in PowerPoint parlance) the motion path from the shape. To do that make sure that the shape is selected, then again make sure that the correct motion path animation is selected in the Custom Animation Task Pane (crucial if you have more than one animation applied to a slide object). Then change the Path option in the Task Pane from Unlocked to Locked, as shown in Figure 2.

    Locked/Unlocked
    Figure 2: Locked/Unlocked
  5. Now you can drag the slide object (shape) 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, just select the slide object, then select the actual motion path, and drag it around as required. This process just moves the motion path, and leaves the slide object in its original place. Confusing? Yes, it is a little, unless you play around for a few minutes!

See Also:

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

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