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How to Create an Animated Scale in PowerPoint

Animated tipping scales are an excellent way to spice up your presentations, since they’re so versatile and can illustrate many concepts in an engaging way.

Examples include showing metaphors, like “scales of justice,” weighing the pros and cons of something, and trying to balance two opposite ideas, such as work and play (though if you work in PowerPoint for a living, you’re combining the two!).

[Watch] Create an Animate scale

[Transcript] Create an Animated Scale


Hello everyone again. Today we’re going to learn how to make an animated scale in PowerPoint.

Here’s how to get this effect. First, make your scale, then animate your scale, and finally, add objects to it to make it tilt back and forth.

Okay. Let’s start with making our scale.

There are two ways to do this. The first is a simple scale you could make yourself using basic shapes which I’ll show you in this video, or you can use a pre-made vector image from the Microsoft Office clip art site, which I’ll describe how to do in the video description. It’s not too complicated either so don’t worry.

Alright, I will now show you how to create your basic scale with shapes. Let’s start by making a triangle base here.

Next, make a horizontal bar across the top. This probably has some kind of technical name, but I’m not sure exactly what it is. If you know, feel free to share. Let’s color it orange for contrast.

After that, add a circle and make it orange as well.

Next, let’s make the scales themselves. We’re going to draw two lines in the triangle form. So, make one line then make it thicker three points, color orange to match.

Then copy and Flip Horizontally. And now make the bottom of the scale with a thin rectangle there.

Now group the three pieces, and let’s stretch the group down a bit.

Copy and hang the copy on the other side as well. Now group the center bar and circle, and let’s add a little rectangle base to the bottom. It just looks a little bit better.

And finally, bring the orange bar to the front so that it’s in front of both scales. And that’s it.

Now let’s get to the fun part of animating this scale.

For this step, we will need to take the bar to the side like this and have the scales go up or down with it. First, we see where the position of the bar will be, at ten degrees clockwise, so go to Format Shape and rotate it ten degrees clockwise. This way we can create motion paths for the scales to be in the same place.

Let’s start by adding an upward motion path to the left scale, and we have to line it up at the bar.

So, it’s best to zoom in as much as we can while we do this. And you can see in PowerPoint 2013, I get a nice preview of where the scale will go. Okay, done. Let’s do the other side and add a downward motion path this time. And line it up in the same way.

Now make both animations start With Previous.

Make them 1.00 in duration and remove the smooth start and smooth end, which I found under the Effect Options.

Now that we’ve lined up the scales, let’s put the bar back to zero degrees under Format Shape.

Now we can tip it with the spin animation instead. So, let’s add that. And wow, that’s way too much for us. Let’s go to Effect Options and change the rotation to ten degrees clockwise. Let’s make it one second in duration to match the scales and make it start With Previous.

Okay. And now let’s test it out. Very cool and again nice. Great. Now if you just needed to tip one away like this, skip to Step 3 right now. Otherwise, if you want to come back to its original position, keep watching.

To have it come back, we first have to duplicate or make a copy of our slide. And now we’re going to work from the copied slide, Slide 2, not the original. So, we first add the ten degrees Rotation in Format Shape.

This is a little tricky but we copy each scale, and we carry the copied scale over to the other side. This is to save us time recreating the motion paths because they’re already attached. Use the original scales as guides for you, and when you’re done, delete them.

Now we simply reverse the spin direction of the bar to be counter-clockwise, and that’s what you get. And let’s just also bring that bar to the front so that it will be in front of the scales. Now it seems like we’re done here but just like with any advanced animation, you have to make sure that the end state of the first slide is exactly the same at the beginning state of the second slide, but there are no jumps or breaks.

Let’s test this out, starting with the first slide. Now pay attention to the areas in yellow as we go on to the second slide. Oh, there was a jump. Watch it again.

Looks like on the second slide we need to move the top scale up and left and the bottom scale down and right. Let’s do that really quickly, up and left and down and right. And see how it goes.

Much better and that is good enough for me.

So now we finally have the scale which is fantastic because it is a little bit of a pain to build as you saw. But once you have it done, the good news is that you can repurpose it for many future projects.

Okay. Let’s move to the final piece, which is adding objects to the scale.

Let’s just use a simple red ball as our object. First, we can add a bounce entrance fact to make it more fun, then we go to Add Animation and add a downward motion path to it.

It works best for this part if we do a maximum zoom. Now we try to make the motion path exactly the same as the scale. So, play around with that. That should be good.

Now let’s re-order the animations to make the bounce be first and start With Previous. And then the next one after that start After Previous. Make the motion path we just added start With Previous too.

Change the duration to one second to match everything else and take out the smooth start and smooth end.

Also, let’s just move it down a tiny bit so it’s resting better on the scale and here is what you get.

By the way, if you have PowerPoint 2010 and above, an easier way to make the motion path is to use the animation painter. Just select the scale, hit the Painter button and select the ball.

Now you just Add Animation and put in the Bounce effect. And of course, reorder the animations as I showed you previously.

Now we’re ready for the last step which is to add the ball to Slide 2 as well. So, we go to Slide 2 and paste our ball there. Take out the original motion path and Add Animation and an upward motion path.

Take out smooth start and end, adjust the motion path. Oh, and remove the bounce effect. I forgot to do that.

Make it start With Previous. Make it one second long, and there is what it looks.

Now it’s the same deal. We go back to Slide 1 and play the two slides together to make sure there is no jump in between. Now keep your eye on the ball here. You can see that it jumped left which means we have to move it a bit to the right to make it look good. And I just did that off-screen – and here is the final result.

Perfect. Great job. You’ve stuck with me to the end, and now you have a very interesting new technique to add to your toolkit.

Thanks for watching, and see you soon.

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