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Best slide transitions and animations for presentations

One of the best ways to capture the audience’s attention is by using transitions and animations in your presentations. For this reason, it’s common for presentation software to include a wide array of these effects. However, this can make it harder for you to decide which ones to incorporate into your show. Let’s look at some of the best ways to choose which effects you incorporate into the show and how you can apply them to the presentation.

What’s the difference between animations and transitions?

Let’s start by looking at some of the differences between the two most commonly used types of effects, animations, and transitions. While many people assume that animations and transitions are the same things, this isn’t the case. Transitions are used when you are moving from one slide to the other. For this reason, they will be applied to the whole slide. Because of the entire slide is used, you will only be able to use one transition effect per slide.
In comparison, animations can be applied to every element of the slide. For example, you might want to have an animation for the text and a different animation for a picture. Because of this, you will be able to use multiple different types of animation for each of the elements on the slide. The way that you apply these effects will often depend on the kind of software that you are using to create the presentation. For example, different platforms might offer different types of effects. To help you with this, let’s look at some of the most common types of presentation platforms and how you apply effects on them.

Applying transitions

Let’s start by looking at how you can add a slide transition in the show. These will make it easier to distinguish between different slides. It can also be a great way of keeping your audience engaged.

Applying transitions in PowerPoint

Let’s start by looking at how you can find and implement the best PowerPoint transitions. First, you will need to move to the Transitions tab. This tab will give a long list of potential options. You will then be able to find the one that will work best with your presentation.

Transitions in PowerPoint

The transitions are placed into three separate categories to make this choice easier. These are subtle, exciting, and dynamic. Also, when you click on an effect, you will see a preview of how it will look when applied to the show. This preview can give you an idea of whether it will work with your presentation.

Applying transitions in Keynote

Transitions in Keynote

Another popular type of slideshow creation technology is Keynote. Using Keynote can be a little trickier for you to find and apply transitions. First, you will need to go to the navigation panel. Then, you will need to click on the Animatebutton in the top-right hand corner of the screen.

Applying Transitions in Keynote MAC

This choice will bring up a list of transition options from which you can choose. Once done, you will need to decide how for how long you want the effect to last. You will also need to determine when you want the transition effect to start. After this, select the build order button.

Adding transitions in Google Slides

To add transitions to Google Slides, you will need to enter the Transitions tab at the top of the screen. This tab will cause the Transitions pane to appear. In this section, you will have several options from which you can choose. Having choices will ensure that you can find and apply the right one for your presentation.

Adding Transitions in Google Slides

Adding animations

Another powerful effect tool that you can use is animations. These can give you more control over the presentation, letting you choose when each element is introduced. It will also allow you to bring the audience’s attention to critical areas. Let’s look at some of the ways you can apply these. 

Adding PowerPoint animations

To add an animation to a PowerPoint presentation, you will need to use the Animations tab.

Adding PowerPoint animations

There, you will see the various effects offered by the platform. These are often categorized to make it easier for you to select the best one. For more complicated options, you might want to use the More Effects buttons at the bottom of the window.

Adding PowerPoint animations panel

Adding Animations Keynote

As we mentioned earlier, to add animation, click on the element to which you want to apply the effect. Then, select the Animate option.

Adding animations Keynote

This choice will bring up a list of options. There are divided into three sub-categories: build-in, build-out, and action. Then you can go through the steps to create the one that works best for you.

Adding animations in Google Slides

In Google Slides, you will need to right-click on the object that you want to animate. Then, select the Animate option.

Adding animations in Google Slides

This selection will present a list of animation options for you to consider. Select the right element by clicking on it. You will then be able to customize it further, deciding at what time it plays and how long it will run. When doing this, you should know that Google Slides might limit the number of animations you can include to 13.

Animations panel in Google Slides

Benefits of animations and transitions

As we’ve seen, there are multiple ways to access these effects when you are creating a presentation. There are several reasons why you might want to consider using them during your slide show. First, it helps improve your presentation’s appearance.

For this reason, your audience will often appreciate a few effects to break up the show. Besides, you will be able to use effects to help emphasize the critical points of the presentation. For example, it will allow you to control the pace of the show, controlling when each new point is introduced. Controlling the speed of the show will let you determine how much discussion each element receives before you move on. Finally, these will allow you to grab your audience’s attention, ensuring they remain engaged with the presentation.

 Best practices when using effects

While the best animations and PowerPoint transitions can be a great tool, you will need to learn how to use them correctly. First, you should make sure not to overuse them because this can distract from the message. For example, it might be wise to stick to one or two transition effects throughout the presentation to make sure that it doesn’t feel too disjointed. You should also make sure to consider your audience. The type of audience will often influence the kind of effects that you will need to use. As an example, if you are giving a business presentation, you might want to keep the effects to a minimum, to make sure that you don’t distract them. However, if you were presenting to a group of children, you might want more effects to keep them engaged with the show.

In addition to choosing the right effects, you will need to think about the duration that you will be using. For example, you don’t want them to run for too long, to risk the audience getting bored. On the other hand, if they move too quickly, you might induce feelings of motion sickness. To solve this problem, you should try using each transition at multiple speeds. This trial and error will allow you to pick the one that works best in your presentation.

After going through the process, you should also make sure to preview each of these effects. Previewing is a great way to make sure that it is having the desired impact on the audience. It will also allow you to recognize when something is too distracting or doesn’t look visually appealing. You will then be able to tweak that element. By doing this, when you give the presentation, everything will look the way you want it to look. If, after trying multiple settings, you still can’t get an effect to work, you might want to consider removing it from the presentation entirely.

Best transitions and animations in a business presentation

As we’ve seen, there are multiple factors to consider when choosing which animation or transition you are going to use. Most importantly, you don’t want to allow them to overshadow the show. However, some types of effects will work well in most presentations. Let’s look at some of them.

Let’s start by looking at some of the most popular PowerPoint transition options. First, you might want to use a fade. Depending on your needs, you can either have it slowly fade into the next slide or fade to black. Another popular option is the ability to push. Pushing causes the new slide to move the old one off. There are multiple ways of doing this, such as shifting from the bottom of the side. Another PowerPoint transition option is to cut. Cutting causes the old slide to disappear and the new one to materialize instantly. Finally, you can either cover or uncover. This option means that the new slide will be covering the old one, or be lifted from the top of the old one. With each of these choices, there is a range of customization options, so you can find the one that works best for you.

When creating a PowerPoint presentation, you might also want to include some of the most popular animations. In this area, you will have four options from which to choose. First, you might want to add an entrance effect. This effect will allow you to determine when the element arrives, which is excellent for controlling the pace. You might also want to consider an emphasis animation. These are designed to bring attention to the parts that are already visible on the slide.

In some cases, these types of effects might not work with all the elements. If this is the case, merely choose a different kind of emphasis animation. The third type of animation in PowerPoint is exit effects. This effect will cause an element to leave the presentation. Finally, you may want to add motion to the display. Though this category can be a little more complicated, learning to use this technology effectively will allow you to have a significant impact on your audience.

Adding sound effects to the presentation

In some cases, you might want to add a sound effect to help highlight an important point. However, if you overuse this, you risk irritating the audience. For this reason, you should only use a sound effect when necessary. To create a sound effect, you will first need to click on the element that you want to apply to the sound effect. You will then need to move to the Custom Animation pane. Then, you will need to select the Effect Options to display more information.

Once done, you will be able to choose the Sound option. There you will be presented with multiple options.

In some cases, you might even want to use a custom sound. After choosing the sound, you will need to select when it gets played. For example, do you want to play it after a click, or as soon as the transition begins? After deciding this factor, you will need to think about how long the sound will play. In most cases, this should only be for a few seconds. If it’s too long, you might risk overshadowing the presentation. Finally, you might want to control the volume, to make sure that it’s comfortable for the audience. You will also be able to do this on a Mac, following the same procedures. However, because of the different operating systems, it might look a little different to some of the example images provided.


Animations and transitions can be a great way of capturing your audience’s attention and highlighting important points. Hopefully, you will now have a better understanding of the most popular animations available and how to apply them to your presentation. We also discussed some of the ways to make sure that you use these elements wisely to avoid overwhelming your audience. So, the next time you are creating a presentation, you can use transitions and animations more confidently.

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