How to Use Slide Transitions in Microsoft PowerPoint

Instead of jumping from slide to slide, you can make your presentation more pleasing. Here’s how to use slide transitions in PowerPoint.

If you’re trying to impress your audience with an exciting PowerPoint presentation, you’ll need to pull out all of the stops. Attractive imagery and a captivating color scheme are one thing, but you may need to take things a step further by applying PowerPoint transitions to your slides.

These are the visual effects you’ll see when you move from one slide to the next. Using the proper slide transitions can help to create a professional and more enjoyable slideshow overall.

Microsoft PowerPoint offers a healthy selection of slide transitions. From simple and subtle to fun and whimsical, you can pick the exact type of transition that best fits your presentation’s tone and message. If you want to use slide transitions in PowerPoint, here’s what you’ll need to do.

How to Add and Remove Slide Transitions in PowerPoint

Because slide transitions are visual effects, you’ll want to use a PowerPoint view mode that gives you the best overview of your presentation. Go to the View tab and choose either Normal, Outline, or Slide Sorter to do this.

PowerPoint Normal, Outline, and Slide Sorter view

Next, you’ll head to the tab dedicated to these effects. Select a slide that you want to add a transition to, then go to the Transitions tab.

The largest section of the ribbon is labeled Transition to This Slide—this is where you’ll select the effect you want to use. Use the smaller arrows on the right of the transition group to view them row-by-row, or click the bottom arrow to see them all at once.

Slide transitions in PowerPoint

You’ll see a huge collection of Subtle, Exciting, and Dynamic transitions. Click one and you’ll see it applied immediately to your selected slide. To choose a different one, simply select another transition to replace it.

Slide transitions in PowerPoint

You can use as many slide transitions in your slideshow as you like. For example, you could decide to use subtle transitions for the first few slides, then jump into dynamic transitions when a stimulating part of the show arrives.

Alternatively, you could use the same transition for every slide in your show, which we’ll discuss below.

PowerPoint Shape slide transition

An example of a shape slide transition in PowerPoint

Remove a Transition

If you decide later that you don’t want to use a transition you applied, removing it is easy. Simply select None in the transition collection.

Select None to remove transitions in PowerPoint

Selecting None will remove slide transition effects from that slide.

How to Customize PowerPoint Transitions

When you choose a slide transition in PowerPoint, you can customize it to suit your presentation. This includes adding sound to a transition, selecting a duration for the transition effect to last for, and picking different variation effects.

Add a Sound

On the Transitions tab, head to the Timing section of the ribbon bar to select a sound. Use the Sound drop-down list to pick a sound that fits the transition effect and your presentation.

You’ll see many options listed, including applause, drum rolls, and a typewriter effect.

Add a sound

While sounds aren’t required for transitions and may be distracting if you’re talking through your slideshow, they do have their benefits. For example, if you have a self-playing presentation about a new product announcement, adding applause could motivate your audience.

One thing to keep in mind if you choose to use sounds in your presentation is that it will only apply to your selected transition. This allows you to customize your sound effects for each transition you use.

Select a Duration

The next customization you may want to make to your transition is the duration. This is the length of time that the transition effect appears for before your new slide appears.

You’ll see the default time (in seconds) listed next to Duration in the Timing section of the ribbon. You can use the arrows to increase or decrease the seconds or enter a time of your own in the same box.

Change the duration

The duration adjustment gives you a good way to shorten a transition that appears lengthy or stretch one out that feels too short.

Pick a Variation Effect

You can customize how your transition appears by picking a variation effect. On the Transitions tab, you’ll see Effect Options to the right of the transition selection. The options in this list depend on the transition you select.

For example, if you choose the Random Bars transition, you can pick from vertical or horizontal bars. If you select the Push transition, you can have the slides push from the top, bottom, left, or right.

To make this change, click the Effect Options drop-down arrow and choose the variation you like best.

Choose an Effect Option

Advancing Your Slides With Transitions

If you’re setting up a slide transition in PowerPoint, you’ll need to set up how your slide will advance to the next one (displaying your transition effect in the process).

If you want to control when you move to the next slide in your presentation, make sure that the On Mouse Click checkbox is enabled in the Timing section.

To automatically advance your slides, make sure that the After checkbox is enabled. Use the arrows or enter a suitable number (in seconds) to set the time frame for slides to wait before they move on.

Pick how to advance slides

You can also check both boxes if you like. This is handy if you want to limit your speaking between slides by setting up automatic timing (by enabling After) but want the ability to move to the next slide sooner if needed (by enabling On Mouse Click).

Preview Transitions and Apply to All Slides

Although you’ll see the transition on your slide when you first select it, you can review it any time. On the Transitions tab, click the Preview button on the far left of the ribbon. This will display the transition and play any transition sounds (if applied).

Preview transitions in PowerPoint

As mentioned, you can use different transitions throughout your presentation. However, if you want to use a single transition with the same customizations, you can apply this with a simple mouse click.

On the Transitions tab, click Apply To All in the Timing section of the ribbon. Any customizations, including sound, duration, and slide advancement, will apply to all of the other slides in your presentation.

Apply a transition to all slides

Create Pleasing Transitions in Your PowerPoint Presentation

Whether you want subtle transitions that keep your audience focused on the content or exciting ones that pop off the screen, PowerPoint has a slide transition to fit your show.

For additional help with PowerPoint, take a look at how to change the fonts on all of your slides or how to align objects for a more structured appearance.

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