Dim Text to Keep Audience Focus in PowerPoint Presentations

Make slides easier to read for viewers

The Dim Text feature is an effect you can add to bullet points in your PowerPoint presentations. This causes the text of your previous point to effectively fade into the background, while still being visible. The current point you want to speak about remains front and center.

To dim text, follow these steps:

  1. PowerPoint 2007 – Click on the Animations tab of the ribbon, then click the Custom Animations button.
    PowerPoint 2003 – Choose Slide Show > Custom Animation from the main menu.
    The task pane opens on the right of your screen.
  2. Click on the border of the text box containing the bullet points on your slide.
  3. Click the drop down arrow beside the Add Effect button in the Custom Animation task pane.
  4. Select one of the animation effects. A good choice is Dissolve In from the Entrance group.
  5. Optional – You may also wish to change the speed of the animation.
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Dim Text Effect Options in PowerPoint

Effect options for custom animations in PowerPoint
Effect options for custom animations in PowerPoint. screen shot © Wendy Russell

Effect Options for Dimming Text

  1. Make sure the border of the bulleted text box is still selected.
  2. In the Custom Animation task pane, click on the drop down arrow beside the text selection.
  3. Choose Effect Options.
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Choose a Color for the Dimmed Text

Choose a color for the dimmed text in PowerPoint custom animation
Choose a color for the dimmed text in custom animation. © Wendy Russell

Dim Text Color Choice

  1. In the dialog box (the title of the dialog box will differ depending on the choice you made for the animation effect), select the Effect tab if it is not already selected.
  2. Click the drop down arrow in the After animation: section.
  3. Select a color for the dimmed text. It is a good idea to choose a color that is close to the color of the slide background, so that it is still visible after dimming, but is not distracting when you are discussing a new point.
  4. Color Options
  • Choose a color that is currently visible in the list.
  • Or choose a color from More Colors.
  • Click OK when you have made your selection.
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Test the Dim Text Feature by Viewing Your PowerPoint Show

Choose a color similar to slide background for dimmed text in PowerPoint presentations
Choose a color similar to slide background for dimmed text. screen shot © Wendy Russell

View the PowerPoint Show

Test the dim text feature by viewing your PowerPoint presentation as a slide show. Choose one of the following methods to view the slide show.

  1. Press the F5 key on the keyboard to start the complete slide show. Or:
  2. PowerPoint 2007 - Click on the Animations tab of the ribbon and select one of the slide show options from the buttons shown on the left side of the ribbon. Or:
  3. PowerPoint 2003 - Choose Slide Show > View Show from the main menu.
  4. In the Custom Animation task pane, click on the Play button to see the current slide in the working window.

Your text for each bullet point should dim with each click of the mouse.