Match the end of a motion path animation to the beginning of another

To show movement or a process, you may want to animate an object using a motion path. I describe motion path animation in “Combine animation techniques to create stunning PowerPoint slides” and in several other tips. (Go to my PowerPoint tips menu and enter “motion path” in the Search box at the top.)

Sometimes, you can’t fit the entire animation on one slide because it has several steps. In this case, you can break it up onto multiple slides. The problem is that it’s hard to match on the second slide the exact location where the object will end up on the first slide. This makes the object appear to jump.

Here you can see that I wanted the bee to move to the flower on the first flower, then to another flower on the second slide.

make the bee move from flower to flower

make the bee move from flower to flower

I found this tip on Luc’s PowerPoint Blog. Luc specializes in figuring out how to do anything difficult in PowerPoint. This specific technique is Reverse path on an animation – part 1. Then click the Next link at the bottom to continue through Part 4.

Follow these steps:

    1. Place the object that you want to animate in its final position on the first slide. This means that it’ll be at the end of the motion path.
    2. Choose Slide Show> Custom Animation to open the Custom Animation task pane. (In 2007, choose Animations tab>Custom Animation.)
    3. Select the object that you’re animating. For accuracy, you’re going to need to find the center of the object. To do so, Choose View> Grids and Guides. (In 2007, click the Format tab that appeared when you selected the object, then go to the Arrange group, click the Align drop-down arrow, and choose Grid Settings.) In the resulting dialog box, check the Display Drawing Guides on Screen check box, and click OK.
    4. Drag the vertical and horizontal gridlines so that they match the center handles of the object. (I learned this technique from Julie Terberg of Terberg Design, at PowerPoint Live, the annual PowerPoint conference.)
drag the vertical and horizontal gridlines

drag the vertical and horizontal gridlines

  1. Choose Add Effect>Motion Paths. From there you can choose one of the default paths, or choose Draw Custom Path and then the type of path.
  2. Draw the motion path from its end to its beginning, starting at the center of the object. The center is at the intersection of the guides.
  3. Right-click the motion path itself and choose Reverse Path Direction. You’ve now reversed the animation.
  4. In the Custom Animation task pane, click the Path drop-down list, and choose Locked. By locking the path, you can move the object without moving the path.
  5. Select the animated object. Place the cursor at the intersection of the guides, and drag it to the desired start point, which is the green arrow at the start of the motion path. If you don’t get this right, the object may jump during the animation.
  6. Now go to slide 2, where the object is already in its correct starting position. You can now create a new animation from that position.

Click the Play button below to see the animation.

6 comments to Match the end of a motion path animation to the beginning of another

  • Liliana

    Great post, thanks!

  • Kalyan Kumar

    Thank god!!! Believe me I used spend hours in trying to match the final position of a motion path by drawing it keep looking at the slide show. Thank you so much. You cant imagine how releived i am now!!! Thank you so very much

  • Mimi

    Thanks a lot. It works!!

  • dave paris

    I’m trying to use icons on a page to animate (trigger) a picture to move. I can do this but the problem is i want the picture to change direction of movement from the point at which i hit the next icon to change direction, not from a predetermined point. i’m trying to create the effect of looking through a camera that is controlled by the user. I’m using ppt 2010. thanks

  • Emma Wye-Williams

    This is Great. I used this technique but without reversing the motion path. I copied the item and put it in the position I wanted it to go to. Then used the drawing guides to direct the motion path there and deleted the object – worked like a treat

  • Moe Sweet

    What if you want to carry it around 3 slides. The middle slide will need both exact start and end points.

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