Change Order of Animations for PowerPoint Slides

Vary the sequence with simple click-and-drag reordering

PowerPoint screen showing one slide.

Microsoft PowerPoint has supported slide-level animations for more than 20 years, but the method of managing those transitions has evolved over the application's lifecycle. What used to require painstaking re-animation steps can now be effected through a simple click-and-drag interface, in effect beginning with PowerPoint 2013.

Note: Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2010, PowerPoint for Mac, and PowerPoint 365/Online.

Reorder Animations

After you select a slide with animations on it, click Animation Pane in the Animations tab. Within the pane, you'll see every animation on the slide appearing in the order the animations will execute. 

Drag an animation from its current position to a new position (you'll see the insert point represented as a red line in the animation list). Reordering takes effect immediately.

Animation Transition Best Practices

PowerPoint presentations aren't exactly the most exciting tool to support a meeting. Resist the urge to confuse your audience by throwing in so many animations that they're spending most of their time watching the movement instead of concentrating on your core message.

Recommended best practices include:

  1. Limiting slides to three or fewer animation effects.

  2. Using the same effect for the same intended activity.

  3. Applying short-duration effects (less than 2 seconds).

  4. Avoiding animations that paint over large swaths of the screen (e. g., bounce-ins).

Animations pair well with presentations that include recorded audio – for example, narration. It's more difficult to get the timings right for slides that include embedded video as well as animation pieces.

When you've got your animations ordered properly, play the entire presentation from the beginning for a final quality check. Don't forget to save your work.