Microsoft PowerPoint logo

Microsoft PowerPoint offers many types of animations. You can add effects to text, images, and shapes. But if you want to create your own, you can select a motion path animation to move your object wherever you like.

With motion path animations in PowerPoint, you can make your object zigzag, loop, spiral, or swoosh. Once you select the motion path you want to use, you can customize the points to create the exact path you want your object to take.

Add a Motion Path Animation

Open your PowerPoint presentation and select the slide where you want to create the animation. Either insert the object you want to animate or select it if you’ve already added it to the slide.

RELATED: How to Hide an Object Before Animation in PowerPoint

Go to the Animations tab and click the arrow at the bottom of the Animation selection box. This opens the full collection.

Animation options in PowerPoint

Scroll toward the bottom and you’ll see a few options in the Motion Paths section. If you want to use one of these, simply select it to apply it to your object. Notice you can choose Custom Path which allows you to draw the path yourself.

Motion Path options in PowerPoint

For additional options, click “More Motion Paths” at the bottom of the window.

More Motion Paths in the options

In the Change Motion Path box, you’ll see Basic, Lines and Curves, and Special paths. To see a preview before you apply it, check the box for Preview Effect at the bottom. Then, choose one to see it in action.

Preview option for motion paths

When you find the path you want to use, select it and click “OK.”

Selected a motion path animation

If you want to combine motion paths so that your object ends in a certain spot, check out our how-to.

RELATED: How to Combine Motion Paths in Microsoft PowerPoint

Customize the Motion Path

After you apply the motion path, you may have options to change the direction. Select the animated object and go to the Animations tab. Click the Effect Options drop-down arrow to view your choices. Note that not all paths offer extra effects, but most let you reverse the path direction.

Directions in the Effect Options drop-down box

Along with changing the direction of your motion path, you can edit the points. Click the Effect Options drop-down arrow and pick “Edit Points.”

Edit Points in the Effect Options drop-down box

You’ll then see the motion path with the points as squares. Select and drag a point to move it.

Drag a point to move it

You can also right-click a point for options like making it a smooth, straight, or corner point. Additionally, you can add more points or remove one.

More motion path options

If you want to change the start action or duration, or add a delay, select the animation and use the tools on the Animations tab.

Animations tab in PowerPoint

Remember, you can preview your animation as you make edits to it using the Preview button on the left side of the ribbon on the Animations tab. This helps to see if you need more adjustments or want to reorder the animations.

Animations can spruce up your slideshow. So if a motion path animation is what you need, you have plenty of options in PowerPoint.

RELATED: 8 Tips to Make the Best PowerPoint Presentations

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
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.
Read Full Bio »