PowerPoint 2013: Visualizations Part 4: Infographics in Motion with Animations, Transitions, Interactivity and Screen Zoom

Editor’s note: The following post was written by PowerPoint MVP Glenna Shaw

PowerPoint 2013: Visualizations

Part 4: Infographics in Motion with Animations, Transitions, Interactivity and Screen Zoom

In the first three parts of this series we covered the creation of infographics. This part shows you how to use PowerPoint 2013 features to add motion and movement to your infographics. This article assumes you are familiar with adding and modifying animations and transitions in PowerPoint as well as PowerPoint’s linking and action setting features. This article also assumes you’ve read all previous parts of this series and know how to do the techniques covered there.

Our long ago ancestors had to worry about many things, chief among them not getting eaten. Consequently, we are hard-wired to pay attention to motion. Magicians depend on this trait by using motion to redirect their audience’s attention where they want it to be instead of watching the hand performing the trick. Presenters can do the same through the use of motion, directing the audience’s attention exactly where they want it to be. Motion can enhance and add context to an infographic and, like a magic trick, add interest for your audience.

PowerPoint 2013 offers four methods for adding motion to infographics:

1. Add animations to your infographics. For this scenario, we’ll use the Sales per Quarter per Million chart we created in part 2 of this series. We’ll animate the car to drive along the top of the hill of money.

a. Delete all but the first car graphic. All animations are added in sequence to the remaining car graphic.

b. Add a fly in from left animation with a .5 second duration and start on click.

c. Add a spin animation set to 15° clockwise, .5 second duration, start after previous.

d. Add a motion path from the top of the first column going to the second column, 2 second duration, start after previous, leave smooth start and stop settings at the default.

e. Add a spin animation set to 15° counterclockwise, .5 second duration, start after previous.

f. Repeat steps c – e for the remaining columns, making adjustments to the spin and motion path animations as appropriate.



The car will now drive along the top of the columns, effectively acting as a pointer for each quarter. You can view and/or download a copy of this slide from my skydrive.

Note, the context of this infographic has changed with the addition of motion. The static version encourages the viewer to observe the infographic as a whole which immediately draws the conclusion of sales being lower in spring and summer and higher in fall and winter. The animated version causes the viewer to pay attention to the details of each quarter. They’ll come to the same conclusion but it takes longer and isn’t as immediately recognizable. Before animating your infographics consider carefully how it can change the context and make sure to use the method that best meets the needs of the speaker.

Also note, animating charts in PowerPoint can be difficult. You can make some adjustments for animating objects individually within the chart, but the chart elements always remain sequencial with each other. If I had wanted to animate the columns of money to appear one by one as the car reached them, it isn’t possible by animating the chart. If you want to make theses type of complex chart animations, you may find it easier to draw your elements and place them on a blank chart background as discussed in part 2 of this series.

2. Add transitions to infographics. PowerPoint 2013 has enhanced the 3-D and dynamic transitions introduced in PowerPoint 2010. When used in moderation these transitions can provide a big impact. For example, Shady Sam is very excited about the new financing options for hybrid cars and he wants to reveal them in a big way to his sales team. We can accommodate this by:

a. Insert a blank slide before our financing options slide.

b. Insert an image of curtains and resize it to cover the entire slide.

c. Set transition to curtains and check the box for Advance Slide After 00:00:00



When we click to advance the slideshow the curtains will draw back revealing the new financing options to the sales team. Dynamic content transitions are applied only to the content of the slide rather than the entire slide allowing you to achieve some pretty amazing motion effects. If you have 4 – 6 data infographics in a row, you could set them all to use the same background, place them all in the same location on the slide and use the rotate transition. This will make the infographics appear to rotate as if they’re on the sides of a cube. You can learn more about how to use dynamic content transitions here. And a big nod to the PowerPoint team for adding the page turn transition and removing the bounce from the pan transition in PowerPoint 2013!

3. Add interactivity to infographics. Infographics are frequently used as elements of a dashboard. And a desirable feature of a dashboard is the ability to drill down for details. In this example, we’ll set up the Sales by Quarter by Millions chart to drill down to Sales by Color by Thousands for each quarter.

a. Add a slide with a bar chart with these values





1st Qtr




b. Use Select Data to reorder your series so that yellow is first and blue is last.

c. Change the fills for each of the bar series to blue car image, red car image and yellow car image (covered in part 2).

d. Reverse the horizontal axis.

e. Delete the horizontal axis.

f. Add data labels.

g. Move the slide to the end of the slideshow.

h. Hide the slide.

i. Create a Custom Show called 1st Qtr Sales by Color

j. Add the slide you just created to the Custom Show.

k. Change the cars on the Sales per Quarter by Millions slide to a gradient fill using Blue, Red, Yellow.

l. Click to the select the body shape inside the first car group (you can’t apply a link to a group).

m. Hyperlink the body shape to the custom show and check the box for show and return.



We now have an infographic that allows us to drill down for details. When we click on the car for the first quarter the infographic for Sales by Color is displayed. When we click again we return to the original infographic. This is the advantage of using a custom show for your hyperlinks and hiding the slide ensures it only appears when you click to show the custom show. On a dashboard we would repeat this process for all four quarters. To learn more about creating interactive dashboards in PowerPoint, see this article.

4. Zoom in to infographics. New in PowerPoint 2013 is the ability to zoom into a section of a slide. This is a terrific feature to use when you’re wanting to highlight a particular part of an infographic. You can also toggle back and forth between presenter view without being connected to a projector. For my example I’ll use a map of the Top Ten States for Hybrid Car Sales. Since Shady Sam’s is located in Charlotte, NC he would like to show that North Carolina is one of the top ten states. You can practice with any slide.

a. Click Slideshow tab, check box for Use Presenter View.

b. Click Start Slide Show, From Current Slide.

c. Right click, select Show Presenter View.

d. Click on the Magnifying glass under the main slide.

e. Move the pointer and click where you’d like to zoom to.

f. Right click to zoom back out.

g. Right click, select Hide Presenter View.

h. Hover your mouse in the lower left corner of the slide.

i. Click on the Magnifying glass under the main slide.

j. Move the pointer and click where you’d like to zoom to.

k. Right click to zoom back out.




With PowerPoint 2013’s new zoom feature the presenter has total control for showcasing any infograph elements in a slick and effective way.

A Word of Caution: Too much of a good thing is never truer than when talking about adding motion to a presentation whether you’re using infographics or not. Just as we’re hard-wired to pay attention to motion, we’re also hard-wired to ignore repetitive motion since it typically means there’s no danger. If you use too much motion you’ll lose all the benefits of using motion in the first place. A good rule of thumb is to only add motion when you want to draw attention to something or to periodically recapture the audience’s attention.

This concludes part 4 of the series on Visualizations: Infographics in Motion with Animations, Transitions, Interactivity and Screen Zoom. We’ll conclude the series in part 5 by combining infographics to create a flyer.

About the author

Glenna Shaw is a Most Valued Professional (MVP) for PowerPoint and the owner of the PPT Magic Web site and the Visualology blog. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP)
and holds certificates in Knowledge Management, Accessible Information Technology, Graphic Design, Cloud Computing and Professional Technical Writing.  Follow her on Twitter.

About MVP Monday

The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.

Comments (3)

  1. PowerPoint is much more than a tool for slideshows….

    Great Article

  2. Chris says:

    Not sure if this can be addressed, but just got Office 2013 and inserting SWF files into a ppt presentation.  The zoom function works great, but the animation stops as soon as you zoom, just get basically a screen shot.  

    Any way to continue the animation while zoomed in?

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