Thursday, February 25, 2010

Don’t put animation on the Slide Master in PowerPoint

The Slide Master is where you should set your colors, fonts, branding and any other graphics that give your slides a consistent look. The one thing you should not do on the Slide Master is add an animation effect. If you do, that animation applies to every slide in the file. This causes a problem that was highlighted for me this week.

Earlier this week I was helping a presenter get ready for an upcoming web presentation. The Slide Master had been given to him and he wasn’t that familiar with PowerPoint. I showed him how to use pictures and visuals instead of bullet point text, and he created some good slides. The problem came when he started to run through the slides in practicing for his session.

The content placeholder on the Slide Master had an animation effect added. This meant that the first element he had placed on the slide was animated, but the rest of the elements were not. On one slide, the first picture he inserted was animated after the rest of the pictures, which were not animated because they had been added later. On a number of slides the text he wanted to appear when the slide was first displayed, did not appear because it was automatically animated to come on with builds. The slides appeared to be randomly animated when viewed in Slide Show mode.

In reality, the Slide Master animation was causing the problem. So I helped him fix his slides by moving the animation effects from the Slide Master to each of the individual problem slides. Then we could delete the animation effects he didn’t need. In the future, I suggested he take the animation effect off the Slide Master as it was bound to cause these sorts of problems again.

The lesson for all presenters is to start by ensuring that the Slide Master has no animation effects added. If it does, remove them before you start creating slides, so that you don’t have a lot of cleanup work like this presenter did.


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