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How to Make Objects Appear and Disappear with PowerPoint Trigger Animations

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If you’ve ever seen a presenter in PowerPoint click to reveal an object on screen (and then clicked to make that object disappear) and wondered how they pulled it off…

The answer is combining the Appear and Disappear animations with trigger animations in PowerPoint and setting them to ‘on click’.

This is an easy animation trick to pull off and works in all versions of PowerPoint 2007 and later.

It's also the same trick we used in mouseover pop up text effect trick that you can read about here. Everyone asked how we did it, so here it is.

NOTE: EPS files and graphics are no longer supported in PowerPoint. So if you have an old EPS graphic, see how to import it into PowerPoint here.

When is this animation trick useful?

This is a great trick (combining PowerPoint animations and triggers) that you can use when you a map, a picture, text or some other object in PowerPoint that you want to have appear on screen during your presentation you click an object (to help you prove a point)…WITHOUT moving on to a next slide!

That means that you can use this animation trick to make objects appear and then disappear (to help you prove a point) without advancing to a new slide…which is why it is such a clever PowerPoint trick.

For example: Below is a map of the United States with this animation applied to it. When you click the Western Region, the western region turns blue. When you click the Easter Region, the eastern region turns red.

 and you want to show some of the states as one color (when you click an object) and the other states as another color (when you click another object), etc.

Example of using appear and disappear animations with triggers to make the pieces of a vector map of the USA appear and disappear when a rectangle is clicked.

To create the effect, we used rectangles as the triggers (set to ‘on-click’) for the Appear and Disappear animations to fill in the map of the U.S.

This is a great example of what thinking outside of the box can do for you when working in PowerPoint.

[Watch] PowerPoint Click to Reveal Tutorial

Part #1: Set up your objects

In the below tutorial I will set up the vector map of the United States (as demoed in the video above).

That said, you can use these steps to set up any appear and disappear trigger animations to make anything appear or disappear on screen (pictures, objects, text, anything).

Step #1. Set up the vector map

Starting with your vector map, on your keyboard, hit CTRL + SHIFT + D to duplicate your slide, so that you have two versions of the exact same slide.

​​​To learn more about the Duplicate Slide shortcut, read more about it here.

The reason you want to duplicate your slide is because you want to overlay a filled version of your graphic over the original one.

Duplicate your slide so you have two versions of the same slide

Step #2. Un-group the vector graphic

On your duplicated slide, select your vector map (or graphic) and hit CTRL+SHIFT+G on your keyboard to ungroup the vector graphic.

This then allows you to work with and manipulate all of the individual pieces (that’s the beauty of using vector graphics in PowerPoint).

Hit Control plus shift plus g to ungroup your vector graphic. In this case all of the US states ungroup into individual pieces we can format.

Ungrouping Shortcuts Explained

Besides CTRL + SHIFT + G ungrouping objects, you can also ungroup SmartArt graphics, as well as tables and charts if you first paste them as metafiles.

To paste a table or chart as a metafile, follow these steps:

  1. CTRL + C to copy your table or Chart
  2. ALT + SHIFT + V to paste special, and select one of the metafile formats
  3. CTRL + SHIFT + G the Metafile twice

To learn more about what you CAN and CANNOT group and ungroup in PowerPoint, check out our blog post here.

Step #3. Group the pieces together

With the vector map now un-grouped, you want to group together the specific regions that you want to animate.

In this case, based on the data for my example, I’ll group the Western regions through Texas, and all the other states as the Eastern region.

Group the different pieces of the vector graphic that you want to appear together.

Why are we grouping the objects together?

Besides making it easier to pull off our PowerPoint animation, this is the trick to overlaying our vector map over our original vector map without having to re-align anything (no need to waste our time).

Step #4. Fill the grouped regions with their respective colors

Select your different grouped objects and fill them with their respective colors.

In this example, I will fill the Western regions blue, and the Eastern regions salmon pink as denoted on the rectangles at the top of the slide.

Format the pieces of your vector graphic the way you want them to appear. I've colored the western region blue and the eastern region pink

Step #5. Copy and paste your regions back on top of the original vector graphic

With your regions grouped and colored, select them all, copy them, and then paste them back on top of the original (non-colored) vector map on the first slide.

Note: Because we grouped the objects together, they overlay exactly onto of the original vector map. Had we not grouped the objects together, they would not fit exactly over the top of the original map.

Don’t believe me? Try it…this is a killer bonus PowerPoint trick!

Copy and paste your colored and grouped regions back on top of your original vector graphic

Step #6. Open the Selections Pane

Back on your original PowerPoint slide, open the selections pane one of two ways:

Option 1: Using your mouse – navigate to the home tab, navigate to the Arrange tool and at the bottom of the dropdown select the selection pane.

Open the PowerPoint selection pane, at the bottom of Arrange drop down command on the Home tab

Option 2: Using your keyboard – hit the ALT + F10 keyboard shortcut and the selection pane pops open on the right-side of your screen.

Picture of the selection pane open with all of the objects on our slide listed there

Step #7. Name the trigger objects

Within the Selection Pane, scroll through your objects and find the shapes you want to use as triggers for the PowerPoint animation. In this case, I want to use the two rectangles at the top, so I need to scroll way down.

As the blue rectangle is Rectangle 1, so I will double-click the rectangle in the Selection Pane and label it as something that’s easier to remember like ‘Western Region’.

In the selection pane, rename the first object you want to use as button to make the different pieces on your slide appear and disappear. In this case, rectangle 1 becomes the Western Region

Next, we’ll do the same for the second trigger object. In this case the salmon pink rectangle is Rectangle 2, so I will double-click the rectangle and rename it ‘Eastern Region’.

In the selection pane, rename the first object you want to use as button to make the different pieces on your slide appear and disappear. In this case, rectangle 2 becomes the Eastern Region

Note: Renaming the PowerPoint objects like this is not necessary to pull off the appear and disappear animation trick, but it makes it A LOT easier, so I highly recommend this extra step.

With the trigger objects now named correctly, you can close the Selection Pane, either by clicking the X in the upper right-hand corner or by hitting ALT + F10 on your keyboard.

Part #2: Set up your animations

Now we need to hook up the appear and disappear animations and set them to trigger ‘on click’.

Step #1. Hooking up the animations

Select the first group of states (I’ll start with the Western region in blue) and from the Animations Tab select the Appear animation. You should see a 1 appear next to the group.

Select your first group that you want to appear, and from the Animations tab add the Appear animation.

Step #2. Starting the animation on click (click to reveal)

With the animation applied and the group still selected, from the Animations Tab, select Trigger, On Click of and select your named shape (Western region in this case).

After applying the animation, open up the Trigger drop down, select On Click of and in this case select the Western Region rectangle.

Step #3. Setting the second animation

With the Appear animation set, you now want to add a second animation – Disappear – to that same group.

So with the group selected, from the Add Animation drop down, scroll down and find the Disappear animation.

From the animations tab, select the Add animation drop down and add a Disappear animation to the same Western Region group you have selected

Step #4. Setting the disappear animation's trigger (click to disappear)

With the second animation added, you again want to navigate to the Trigger drop down and select On Click Of and select your trigger shape, again the Western Region in this case.

So your first group should have both an Appear and Disappear animation set to it, based on the trigger event of clicking the blue rectangle.

From the animations tab, open the Trigger drop down, select On Click of and again select the Western Region

Step #5. Repeat the same sequence for your other grouped shapes

  1. Add the Appear animation
  2. Set the Appear animation to On Click of your other shape, the Easter region in this case
  3. Use the Add Animation drop down to add the Disappear animation
  4. Set the Disappear animation to On Click of your other shape, again the Easter region in this case

The result is that each of the rectangles on your PowerPoint slide should now have two animations both set to trigger with a click: an Appear animation and a Disappear animation.

This is how you get that click to reveal and click to disappear effect using trigger animations.

Picture of each of the two groups of objects on the slide having both an appear and disappear animation applied to them.

Part #3: Test your trigger animations

Step #1. Open the Animations Pane to double check your work

If you open the PowerPoint Animations Task Pane, it should look like the below image. The green star is the Appear animation and the red star is the Disappear animation.

Make sure that the object appears (the green star) before it disappears (the red star), otherwise this Animation trick will not work.

Open the animations pane from the Animations tab and double check your work.

Step #2. Test your trigger animations to make sure they work

With the animations set, hit SHIFT + F5 on your keyboard to launch Slideshow View (see shortcut demo below for help with this), and the slide starts out as the non-filled vector map (just like we wanted).

If I click the blue trigger rectangle (the Western Region), the western side of the map fills blue (perfect!).

Run your presentation and double check that clicking the western region rectangle makes the western region appear on your slide

If I click the red trigger rectangle (the Eastern Region), the eastern side of the map fills red.

Run your presentation and double check that clicking the Eastern region rectangle makes the eastern region appear on your slide

So you can see that clicking the rectangles, makes the PowerPoint animation appear then disappear, revealing our objects…which is exactly what we want!

What's next?

Updated on May 14, 2019

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