Jazzing up your PowerPoint presentations with Transitions

People have a love/hate relationship with PowerPoint presentations… too many words, death by bullet point, having the speaker read the slides to them… a bad presentation can be a soul-sucking experience.

However, you can add a bit of motion and action to your slides when you go from one to another, and it can help keep your audience a bit more engaged (as in… “what’s gonna happen next time s/he changes the slide?”). You do that with Transitions.

Here we have a short presentation where I have the option to start using Transitions by selecting the Transitions tab and the slide that I want to have the transition applied to:


As I click on each of the transition options (like Morph or Fade), I’ll see a quick example of what that looks like. Try out the different options to see what each one does.

Towards the right side of the icons, there’s one for Effect Options. That is how the effect will be used, and it’s different for each type of transition. In this example, I have the Push transition selected, and the Effect Option gives me the choice of whether the new slide should be pushed in from the bottom, left, right, or top:


The next grouping of options allows me to select a sound to go along with the transition, the amount of time the transition takes to happen, and whether I want the same transition to apply to every slide:


PLEASE NOTE: While it’s tempting to have longer transitions with sounds so people can ooh and ahh, just don’t. It’ll be OK the first time, but by the third time, your audience will not like you. I recommend short transition times and NO sound (unless it’s VERY applicable to the subject matter – like a cash register sound going to a slide showing increased sales).

Finally, the last set of options allow you to select when the transition will occur. You can either have it happen when you click to go to the next slide (very common), or you can have it timed in case you want to live dangerously and let your transitions keep you on pace to finish your presentation in a set amount of time:


EXTRA SPECIAL PLEASE NOTE: While this looks like a lot of fun (just like using various fonts, sizes, and colors in a Word document to make it “stand out”), resist the urge to overuse this feature. In fact, less is definitely more here. A simple fade out/fade in taking less than a second is great to apply to a whole presentation. Using a different transition on every slide, each one taking five seconds with a different sound… just don’t do it.


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