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Animations can take an ordinary presentation and turn it into a dynamic one. So, as you add more animations to a slide, it’s important to sequence them correctly. Here’s how to reorder animations in Microsoft PowerPoint.

By default, PowerPoint arranges animations in the order you add them. This means if you decide to animate an image in the middle of a slide, after the surrounding animations have been set up, that animation will appear last. This isn’t always the desired outcome, so to help you arrange your animations correctly, we’ll explain a few ways to reorder them.

About the Animation Sequences in PowerPoint

Here are a few points to keep in mind before we start reordering animations in PowerPoint.

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Each animation you add receives a number. This number does not correlate to the item that’s animated, but to the animation itself. So, if you add five animations to a slide, you’ll see them numbered one through five.

Numbered animations in PowerPoint

The animation sequences in a presentation are per slide. For example, if you add four animations to a slide and five animations to the next slide, the numbers start at one on each slide.

Numbered animations on slides

You can add more than one animation to a single item. For instance, you may animate a line to fly in from the bottom and then have it spin. In this case, you might see a stack of numbers next to the animation if you have the Animation Pane open.

Multiple animations

When you close the pane, you’ll see all numbers that apply.

Multiple animations displayed

One more thing to remember is that you won’t see the animation numbers on the slides until you select the Animations tab.

Now that you have the basics on how the animation sequences works in PowerPoint, let’s look at reordering the animations.

Reorder Animations Using the Animations Tab

If you have a small number of animations that you want to rearrange, the quickest way is using the Animations tab.

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Open the tab and select the animation you want to change. You can do this by clicking the animation number, not the item.

On the right side of the ribbon, click “Move Earlier” or “Move Later” below Reorder Animations. If one or the other is grayed out, then that animation is already at the earliest or latest point.

Move Earlier or Later in the ribbon

You can click the option you pick more than once. For example, if you want to move animation 3 to the first position as in the screenshot above, you would click “Move Earlier” twice. This then changes its number from 3 to 1.

Animation reordered

Reorder Animations Using the Animation Pane

If you have many animations on a slide, it’s easier to use the Animation Pane. This allows you to view all animations on the slide in one spot as well as reorder them.

On the Animations tab, click “Animation Pane” in the Advanced Animation section of the ribbon. By default, the pane opens on the right side, ready for you to work with.

Open the animation pane

The animations appear in the pane in the order they’re numbered on the slide. You then have two ways to reorder them using the pane.

Use the Up and Down Arrows

Select an animation in the list within the pane. Then use the up or down arrow at the top of the pane to move the animation where you want it. Like the buttons on the Animations tab, you can click more than once to move up or down more than one spot.

Up and Down arrows to reorder animations

Drag and Drop the Animations

Another way to rearrange the animations is to drag and drop them where you want them in the list. To move one, select, hold, and drag it up or down to its new position, then release. You’ll see a red line as you drag, allowing you to drop the animation exactly where you want it.

Drag and drop to reorder animations

As mentioned, PowerPoint sequences animations in the order that you add them. And because the order in which those animations appear makes a big difference, it’s not always acceptable to let them remain in that order. But now you know three easy ways to sequence them as you wish!

RELATED: How to Change the Speed of an Animation in PowerPoint

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With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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