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You can apply motion path animation effects to move slide objects in a sequence that tells an effective story.

For example, the plane on the right (below) shows the starting point of the plane, and the dotted line between the two planes shows the path it will take when the animation plays. The transparent image on the left is where the plane will end up when the motion path animation is done.

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Microsoft 365 subscribers have a time-saving option for motion-based animation effects: Morph

Add a motion path to an object

"Curvy Left" motion path

  1. Click the object you want to animate.

  2. On the Animations tab, click Add Animation.

    Add Animation

  3. Scroll down to Motion Paths, and pick one.

    Scroll down to Motion Paths

    Tip:   If you choose the Custom path option, you will draw the path that you want the object to take.

    Draw a custom path

    To stop drawing a custom path, press Esc.

Advanced motion path options

  1. If you don’t see a motion path that you want, at the bottom of the gallery, click More Motion Paths.

    More motion paths

    Click an animation to see a preview of how the object will move on your slide.

    Click a motion path animation

  2. Once you pick the motion path you want, click OK.

    To remove and animation, on the slide, click the motion path (dotted line with arrow), and then press Delete.

    Click the motion path and press DELETE

Editing motion paths

  1. To do things like change the direction of the motion path, edit the individual points of the motion path, or to lock (make it so others can’t change the animation) or unlock the animation, click Effect Options.

    Edit a motion path effect

  2. To preview the motion path, click the object on the slide, and then click Animations > Preview.

    Tip:    Preview is located on the Animations tab, just below the File tab on the far left.

    Click Preview

Using predefined paths

In most cases, using one of the basic path animations is a perfect choice for adding interest to your slide. In the following example, we'll apply a Turn path animation to a graphic, use Effect Options to change the direction of the path, and then we'll use Reverse Path Direction to get the final look we want.

Example: applying a predefined path animation to a graphic

  1. On a blank slide, click Insert > Shapes > Rectangle (or another shape if you prefer), and then click in the upper-left corner of the slide to insert it.

  2. With the rectangle still selected, click Animations > Path Animation, and then under Basic, click Turn.

    Apply an path animation on the Animations tab
  3. After the animation preview is finished and click Effect Options on the Animations tab, and then click Down Right.

  4. Move your cursor over the animation end-point until it changes to a double arrow with a line through it, and then click and drag to the lower-right corner of the slide.

    Drag the corner of the animation path to resize it
  5. Finally, click Effect Options > Reverse Path Direction.

    Control-click the path to reverse it

    The animation now moves the graphic from the least visible place on the slide (lower right) to the most visible (upper left).

Using custom paths

To draw a custom path animation, select the object you want to animate and click Animations > Path Animations, and then select an option under Custom. The drawing method is different depending on the type of path you choose.

If you selected a Curve or Freeform path: Curve or Freeform path animation buttons

  1. Click the start point, and then click each time you want to begin a change of direction.

  2. Double-click to finish.

If you selected a Line or Scribble path: Line or Scribble path animations

  • Click and hold the mouse button to trace the shape you want, and then release the button when you're done.

To change a custom path once you've drawn it:

  • Control+click or right-click the custom path and click Edit Points.

    Custom path animation in Edit Points mode

    Tip: If you've never worked with editing paths in a graphics program before, you may find it easier to delete the effect and draw it again.

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