In this tutorial, I'll teach you the core mechanics to building your own Jeopardy game in PowerPoint.
This is one of the top questions I get asked about, it's a great way to engage your audience and have some fun during your next project update or all-hands meeting.
While you can get quite advanced games with VBA coding, you can also create your own customized games using simply PowerPoint animations, triggers, and hyperlinks (all discussed below.
Jeopardy PowerPoint Template Example
Below is an example of a Jeopardy game template I created using all of the PowerPoint techniques you will learn below.
To jump start your own PowerPoint games and creative projects using the template pictured above, click the button below (it's free).
PowerPoint Games & Animations
Every game like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, etc. has some sort of reveal or surprise element – whether its revealing letters or the full answer.
So how do you create this effect in PowerPoint?
My favorite way is to use a card flip trick – a very versatile technique.
The card trick uses two separate cards – with the top one having an exit animation (“collapse”) and the bottom one an entrance animation (“stretch”). Set the “stretch” effect to play AFTER PREVIOUS to get the illusion of the flip.
Another variation of this is the double swivel trick – though it’s a bit trickier because you have to line up the timings in a very specific way.
See the video tutorial below for a step-by-step on creating this flip card effect.
Once you have the reveal or surprise effect completed, you can then move to use triggers to make them interactive.
PowerPoint Games & Triggers
Building in triggers lets you be able to flip the cards by clicking on them.
This is really the secret sauce to making PowerPoint games, as it allows you to go in the direction the audience chooses – whether it’s picking categories (“Things that start with A for $400”) or revealing answers.
Triggers allow you to flip the cards to reveal something, as well as flip the cards back, if you need to (good for flash cards and memory games, for instance) – here is a sample below, with flashcards of PowerPoint shortcuts.
To create a trigger, you simply click on the animation you want to “trigger” (in this case, the card flip, or exit animation of the top card) – then go to the Effect Options menu, click on “triggers,” and select the card that will serve as the trigger (in this case, the same card you are flipping).
You can then make the bottom card a trigger for itself as well (either move the top card temporarily out of the way or use the Selection Pane to make it invisible).
Note: A quick tip is to test the triggers option on your device before using – Macs do not currently allow you to create new triggers, for example, but do allow you to click on triggers you receive from others.
By adding triggers to both cards (or “sides”), you can make the card flip from the question mark to the smiley face and back (notice the cursor here that clicks).
At this point, you can select both cards and copy/paste or duplicate across the slide so you have as many as you need (CTRL + D on a PC) .
You don’t need to redo the process for every new card (which I learned from a viewer after doing just that in my flashcards tutorial!).
From just the animations and components, you can make simple games like flashcards, memory games, hangman, and Wheel of Fortune style word games that involve revealing something on the screen.
As another example, take a look at this one-slide Jeopardy-style game I made using only animations and triggers.
For additional help, see my detailed step-by-step instructions on how to create a flash card memory game in PowerPoint (like Jeopardy).
For more complex games involving multiple slides, as well as scoreboards, you can use hyperlinks to take your games to the next level.
PowerPoint Games & Hyperlinks
Hyperlinks in PowerPoint are fast and easy way to create interactivity in your games, by linking slides within your PowerPoint presentation together.
In regards to making a Jeopardy game, hyperlinks allow you to jump between full-screen questions and answers, as well as link to and from a scoreboard so you don’t have to do it offline on a whiteboard or flipchart (stay tuned for how to make one!).
To learn all about how hyperlinks work (and how to create zoom slides), see How to hyperlink in PowerPoint.
When you have a shape with text in it (like the card we made), there are two types of hyperlinks you can make.
Hyperlink type #1: Object hyperlink
This is linking the hyperlink to the shape itself – so if you click anywhere on the rectangle below, it will go to the slide of your choosing.
To set up an object hyperlink, right click on the object and select Hyperlink from the menu (you can also use the Ctrl + K shortcut on a PC).
Then choose “Place in this Document” and then the slide you want to link to within the presentation.
When you view the object in presentation mode, clicking anywhere on the object will take you to that slide.
Hyperlink type #2: Text hyperlink
This is an even better type of hyperlink, since you can actually make the hyperlink text change color or disappear after you come back to the slide – perfect for showing categories you’ve already clicked on.
To set up a text hyperlink, select the text that you want to hyperlink (similar to if you were doing it in Word) and follow the same process – right click, select Hyperlink (or Link), then link to the proper slide.
Now the fun part is that you can play around with the hyperlink colors – both the original and clicked versions.
While it may seem like the hyperlink color might be under the Hyperlink or Font menu, it’s actually under the Design tab. Go to Design > (Theme) Variants > Colors > Customize Colors.
Pro Tip: You can also make the underline of the hyperlink invisible by going to the Font menu and making the underline color match the background or object. I do this every time, as I think the underlines look quite tacky.
Go here to learn more hyperlink best practices.
What’s great about underlines is that when you go to another slide and come back to the board, the hyperlinks that have been followed are a different color so you don’t click on them again.
Take a look at the Jeopardy example below.
Here is what a game with hyperlinks can look like in slide sorter mode.
As you see, you can make each question its own slide. You can then make the answer an animation on the question slide OR make it its own slide that comes right after.
Make sure that you link back to the board after every question / answer.
Bonus: Make custom, editable scoreboards
Finally, as a bonus, I wanted to mention my favorite way of making score boards – which are much more interesting than keeping score on a flipchart or whiteboard.
A good starting point is to put together three podiums on the stage and then if possible, use your participants’ real pictures to create teams.
For expediency, you could even have them stand in groups, then take a picture on your phone and stick them in. Otherwise, you can use cropped headshots like the example here.
Once you have your fields set up, you can now put invisible text boxes using ActiveX controls into your slide where the scores will be showing. This way, you can actually change the scores real time after each question (see below).
The full explanation for how to do it quite detailed, so check out my video tutorial here (starts at 13:04).
Note: This only works on a PC and in regular presentation view (not “Presenter view” with the notes) – but totally worth it!
So now you are fully equipped to make your own PowerPoint games WITH really cool scoreboards. Enjoy – and I’m sure your audience will too! Game on.