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Make Objects Appear and Disappear with PowerPoint Animations


If you’ve ever seen a presenter make things appear and disappear on click during a presentation and wondered how they pulled it off….the answer is hooking up appear and disappear animations to trigger objects, and setting them to trigger ‘on click’.

This  works in PowerPoint 2007, 2010 and 2013 and this is the exact same trick we used in our ​Mouseover Pop-Up Text Effect article… everyone asked how we did it, so here it is!

In a nutshell

Here's how to create a simultaneous appear and disappear animation in PowerPoint:

  1. Add an Appear animation to an object
  2. Set the Appear animation to On Click of a second object
  3. Use the Add Animation dropdown menu to add a Disappear animation to the first object
  4. Set the Disappear animation to On Click of the second object

When is this useful?

This is a great animation trick when you have a map, a picture or some other object in PowerPoint that you want to have appear on screen during your presentation when you click an object…WITHOUT moving to a new slide!

That’s right, this animation trick allows you to toggle it on and off without advancing to a new slide…which is why it is such a clever PowerPoint trick.

For example: You have a vector map of the United States 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.

Nuts & Bolts PowerPoint Animations - Trigger Appear and Disappear Animations

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.

Video tutorial

Step by step

Part 1: Set up your objects

The first thing to do is to get the vector map ready by grouping it into sections that will be easier to manage.

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 this shortcut, see our comprehensive guide on PowerPoint Shortcuts.

The reason we’re duplicating the slide is because we’re going to overlay a filled version of our graphics over the original ones.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #1 - Duplicate the Slide

Step #2: Un-group the vector graphic

On your duplicate PowerPoint slide, select your vector map (or graphic) and hit CTRL+SHIFT+G on your keyboard to ungroup the vector, so that you can work with and manipulate all of the individual pieces (that’s the beauty of using vector graphics in PowerPoint).

You can learn more about ungrouping here.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #2 - Ungroup Your Vector Graphic

Ungrouping other PowerPoint objects

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 other time-saving shortcuts, check out our cheat sheet with 120+ PPT Shortcuts and keep them by your desk for quick reference.

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.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #3 - Group Your Graphic

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.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #4 - Color Your Groups

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!

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #5 - Paste back onto your 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.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #6A - Open the Selections Pane

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

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #6B - Open the Selections Pane V2

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’.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #7A - Rename Your Trigger Objects

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’.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #7B - Rename Your Trigger Objects

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: Setting up the 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.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #8 - Hooking up the Appear Animation

Step #2: Starting the animation on click

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).

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #9 - Setting the Appear Animation Trigger

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.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #10 - Add the Disappear Animation

Step #4: Setting the disappear animation's trigger

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.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #11 - Set the Disappear Animation Trigger

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.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #12 - Repeat The Animation Setup

Step #6: 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.

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #13 - Double Check Your Animations

Step #7: Test your animations

With the animations set, you can hit SHIFT + F5 on your keyboard to launch Slideshow View, 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!).

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #14A - The Western Region

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

PowerPoint Trigger Objects Step #14B - The Eastern Region

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 9, 2018

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