PowerPoint Tip: Using Exit animation to reveal a graphic

The last step in my five-step KWICK method from my book The Visual Slide Revolution is to Keep the Focus of the audience.  The best way to do this is to build your points or slide elements one by one on the slide.  This works if you have created the visual, but it isn’t so easy if you are using a graphic that was supplied to you.  This article is about using a technique to reveal a graphic piece by piece.

Revealing a graphic is like what our teachers used to do with overhead transparencies.  They would place a piece of paper over the transparency, covering up what they didn’t want us to see yet.  They would slide the paper down to reveal each point as they spoke.  This gives the same benefit to the audience as building elements on the slide, so we can use this technique with graphics that have been supplied to us for our presentation.

The first step is to position the supplied graphic on the slide.  Make it as big as you need to, depending on what else you are placing on the slide.  If the graphic is in a PDF document such as a brochure or report, use the technique for copying graphics from PDF documents that I discussed in the newsletter last November (click here to read that issue in the archives).

Now, just like our teacher, we need to cover up the graphic.  You can use the regular drawing tools in PowerPoint to create shapes that will cover up each piece of the graphic.  Usually, you will draw a series of rectangles that will cover up two to four sections of the graphic.  Make the fill and outline color of the shapes the same as the background color of the graphic so it looks like you are building the graphic piece by piece.

The last step is to make these shapes slide off the graphic like the teacher did with the piece of paper, revealing what is underneath.  To do this, select the shape and apply an Exit animation effect.  I suggest the Wipe effect in the direction that makes sense.  For example, if you are revealing pieces of a graphic from left to right, have the shapes wipe to the right, just like it would look like if we had a piece of paper on a transparency.

Now, when you present, you can speak about each part of the graphic individually, without the entire graphic being displayed from the start and distracting the audience.  You can see an example of this in my slide makeover video here.  This is one of the many advanced techniques I’ll be covering in my webinar with Rhonda Scharf tomorrow.  If you’d like to attend, click here to get all the details and sign up.