How do I use the Animation Pane in PowerPoint?

Jun 6, 2024 | PowerPoint Hints and Tips

Animation gives movement to a PowerPoint presentation and the animation pane helps control this particularly if the animation becomes a little more complicated.

This blog came about from a training course I recently ran where one of the delegates had struggled to amend the animations they had already created and change the order in which they ran.  Using the animation pane they gained clarity and finally could see how they could quickly and simply amend the animation they had already created.

Turning on the Animation Pane

The animation pane shows all the animations that have been created on a specific slide.

  1. Select the Animations tab.
  2. Click on the Animation Pane icon.
Animation pane icon image

Understanding the Animation Pane

To be able to make changes from the animation pane it is important to understand how to read what is being shown in the pane first. Below is an example of the animation pane.

Animation pane image


The colours shown in the shapes to the left of the animation and the bars to the right indicate the type of animation.  The length of the bar denotes how long the animation takes to run.

  • Green – Entrance effect.  This determines how the object enters the slide.
  • Yellow – Emphasis effect.  This determines what animation the object does while it is on the slide.
  • Red – Exit effect.  This determines how the object leaves the slide.
  • White symbol and Blue bar – Motion path.  This determines the paths that the object will follow while on the slide.

NOTE: An object can have more than 1 animation if required.


The number shows when you will need to click to run the animation.  Animations without numbers are either run with previous (at the same time as the previous animation) or after previous (a set time after the previous animation).

Clicking on an animation in the Animation Pane

When an animation in the Animation Pane is clicked the Animations tab shows what that animation is doing.

Animation tab image

The animation being performed shows in the animation group and can be changed to something different.

The Timing section shows whether the animation is running On Click (when the mouse is clicked), With Previous or After Previous.  The Duration shows how quickly the animation runs and the Delay shows how long it will be before the next animation automatically runs when After Previous is used.

Reordering Animations

An animation can be moved up or down in the order by using the up and down arrows in the Animation Pane or the Move Earlier or Move Later icons on the Animations tab.

Play From icon

The Play From icon runs through the animation steps from the step selected.

NOTE: What you see is not always 100% accurate to what will actually happen (although it is close) so a final check by running the presentation through properly is always a good idea.  It is particularly problematic for animations that happen almost instantaneously as it may look like a set of animations are all happening at the same time when in fact they would come in independently.


The Seconds box at the bottom visually shows how long each animation takes to run.

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading about how to use the Animation Pane in PowerPoint, there are some other blogs below that you might find useful:

Want to learn more about Microsoft PowerPoint? Then email to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Microsoft PowerPoint Courses I run.