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How To Make Objects Appear and Disappear with PowerPoint Trigger Animations


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 our Mouseover Pop-Up Text Effect article. Everyone asked how we did it, so here it is.

The overall click to reveal effect can be broken down into 4 parts.

  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 drop down 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 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.

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.

PowerPoint Click to Reveal Video Demo

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 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.

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).

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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’.

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’.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!).

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

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 February 22, 2019

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