A Brainshark Customer’s Tale: Animating for Success in PowerPoint

February 19, 2015 | Guest Contributor
A Brainshark Customer’s Tale: Animating for Success in PowerPoint

This article was submitted by Stephanie VanGilder, Senior Business Operations Specialist at Mercy Hospital, St. Louis.

Stephanie has over thirteen years of training experience, and has been a Brainshark customer and user for four years. At Mercy, she develops, manages, supports, and generates reports for e-Learning modules.

We’ve all experienced it: viewing an overly-animated PowerPoint to the point that you either cover your eyes or run out of the room to prevent the imminent nausea that is sure to ensue. Don’t get me wrong—I am a fan of the animation features in PowerPoint, and use them often; but moderation is key to make points resonate better with my audience.

One way to avoid the viewer experience described above is to take advantage of the Custom Timing Feature within PowerPoint‘s Custom Animation Pane. This feature enables you to precisely time your animations and allow for overlap between them. Everything can be set up and timed as one continuous animation file, so it translates nicely into Brainshark and keeps those custom timings. This is a huge time-saver when it comes to setting up your presentation to run in Brainshark, and it gives you precise control over the animation timing… down to tenths of a second.

The result? A Brainshark that flows seamlessly instead of simultaneous animation overload or, the exact opposite, all animations occurring in succession of one another.

To access the Custom Animation Pane in PowerPoint, click the Animation Ribbon, then click Animation Pane. Once you set up your desired text and pictures to be animated**, you will notice blocks or bars next to each animation in the Animation Pane. These allow you to set duration of each animation.

The timing increments are at the bottom of the screen in seconds. To extend the animation’s duration, click the end of the bar, hold, and drag it out to make it longer. If you would like to move the time that the animation begins, simply click the center of the block, hold, and drag to the new time.

**Note: I set mine up as with previous so that they are all part of the same animation sequence and don’t require additional clicks to start the next animation.

The “Play From” button will run through all the animations quickly so you can see how they interact together and, if necessary, make adjustments to particular timings or animations.

This technique ties perfectly into one of the ways I use Brainshark—to create short commercials to communicate with my co-workers. As I create these commercials, I think about video and movement and how I can leverage the tools I have in PowerPoint to help my colleagues understand my message. Remember: we live in a world where everything is moving faster than we can keep up with, so finding that balance between an eye-catching message and an overwhelming amount of animation is critical to captivate your audience.

Here is an example of a commercial I created for our “40 hours of Training” initiative. The first slide exemplifies how you can set different animation types (checkerboard, zoom, and fade) with different durations (the quote animates faster than the blue image) to effectively communicate your message (without overwhelming your viewers).


I challenge you to look for ways to incorporate animation into your presentations to create content that is not only eye-catching, but will resonate with your audience and leave a lasting impression.

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