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Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 : Assigning Transitions to Slides

11/23/2012 5:41:29 PM
Transitions determine how you get from slide A to slide B. Back in the old slide projector days, there was only one transition: the old slide was pushed out, and the new slide dropped into place. However, with a computerized presentation, you can choose from all kinds of fun transitions, including wipes, blinds, fly-ins, and much more. These transitions are almost exactly like the animations, except that they apply to the whole slide (or at least the background — the base part of the slide — if the slide's objects are separately animated).


The transition effect for a slide refers to how the slide enters, and not how it exits. As a result, if you want to assign a particular transition while moving from slide 1 to slide 2, you would assign the transition effect to slide 2.

The individual transitions are hard to describe in words; it is best if you just view them onscreen to understand what each one does. You should try out several transitions before making your final selection.

1. Setting Transition Effects and Timings

The default transition effect is None. One slide replaces another with no special effect. If you want something flashier than that, you must choose it from the Transitions tab.

As you are setting up the transition effect, you have a choice of allowing it to occur manually (that is, On Click) or automatically. Generally speaking, if there is a live person controlling and presenting the show, transitions should be manual. With manual transitions, the presenter must click the mouse to move to the next slide, just like clicking the advance button on a 35mm slide projector. This might sound distracting, but it helps the speaker to maintain control of the show. If someone in the audience asks a question or wants to make a comment, the show does not continue on blindly, but pauses to accommodate the delay.

However, if you are preparing a self-running presentation, such as for a kiosk, automatic transitions are a virtual necessity. In the following section you will learn how to set the timing between slides. Timings also are in effect when you record narration.

To assign a transition effect and control its timing, follow these steps:

  1. View or select the slide in Normal or Slide Sorter view. If you use Slide Sorter view, you can more easily select multiple slides to which you can apply the transition.

  2. (Optional) On the Transitions tab, in the Transition to This Slide group, click the transition you want to use. Open the gallery to see additional transitions if needed. See Figure 1. The effect is previewed on the slide.

    If you do not want a transition effect, do not choose a transition; instead leave the default transition (None) selected.

    Figure 1. Select a transition.
  3. Click Effect Options and select any options for the chosen effect transition as desired. The effects listed will be different depending on the transition you chose.

  4. In the Timing group, mark or clear the check boxes for:

    • On Mouse Click: Transitions when you click the mouse.

    • Automatically: Transitions after a specified amount of time has passed. (Enter the time, in seconds, in the associated text box.)


      It is perfectly okay to leave the On Mouse Click check box selected, even if you choose automatic transitions — in fact, this is a good idea. There may be times when you want to manually advance to the next slide before the automatic transition time has elapsed, and leaving this option selected allows you to do so.


      You will probably want to assign automatic transitions to either all or none of the slides in the presentation, but not a mixture of the two. This is because mixed transition times can cause confusion, when some of the slides automatically advance and others do not. However, there may be situations where you need to assign different timings and effects to the various slides' transitions.

  5. (Optional) Adjust the Duration setting to specify how quickly the transition effect will occur.

    This is not the timing between slides, but rather the timing from the beginning to the end of the transition effect itself. For example, for a Fade transition, it determines how fast the fade occurs.

  6. (Optional) If you want a sound associated with the transition, select it from the Sound drop-down list. See the next section for details.

  7. (Optional) If you want these same transition settings to apply to all slides in the presentation, click Apply to All.

Any automatically advancing transitions that you have set appear with the timings beneath each slide in Slide Sorter view, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. You can view slide timings in Slide Sorter view.

2. More about Transition Sounds

In the Transition Sound menu, shown in Figure 3, you can choose from among PowerPoint's default sound collection, or you can choose any of the following:

  • No Sound: Does not assign a sound to the transition.

  • Stop Previous Sound: Stops any sound that is already playing. This usually applies where the previous sound was very long and was not finished when you moved on to the next slide, or in cases where you used the Loop Until Next Sound transition (see below).

    Figure 3. Select a transition sound.
  • Other Sound: Opens a dialog box from which you can select another WAV sound file stored on your system.

  • Loop Until Next Sound: An on/off toggle that sets whatever sound you select to loop continuously either until another sound is triggered or until a slide appears that has Stop Previous Sound set for its transition.


Sounds associated with transitions can get annoying to your audience very quickly. Don't use them gratuitously.

3. Rehearsing and Recording Transition Timings

The trouble with setting the same automatic timings for all slides is that not all slides deserve or need equal time onscreen. For example, some slides may have more text than others, or more complex concepts to grasp. To allow for the differences, you can manually set the timings for each slide, as described in the preceding section. However, another way is to use the Rehearse Timings feature to run through your presentation in real time, and then to allow PowerPoint to set the timings for you, based on that rehearsal.


When you set timings with the Rehearse Timings feature, PowerPoint ignores any hidden slides. If you later unhide these slides, they are set to advance automatically. You need to individually assign them an Automatically After transition time.

To set transition timings with the Rehearse Timings feature, follow these steps:

  1. On the Slide Show tab, click Rehearse Timings. The slide show starts with the Recording toolbar in the upper-left corner, as shown in Figure 4.

    Figure 4. Use the Recording toolbar to set timings for automatic transitions.


    If you want to record voiceover narration as you rehearse and record the timings, click Record Slide Show in step 1 instead of Rehearse Timings.

  2. Click through the presentation, displaying each slide for as long as you want it to appear in the actual show. To move to the next slide, you can click the slide, click the Next button in the Recording toolbar (right-pointing arrow), or press Page Down.

    When setting timings, it may help to read the text on the slide, slowly and out loud, to simulate how an audience member who reads slowly would proceed. When you have read all of the text on the slide, pause for one or two more seconds and then advance. If you need to pause the rehearsal at any time, click the Pause button. When you are ready to resume, click the Pause button again.

    If you make a mistake on the timing for a slide, click the Repeat button to begin timing this slide again from 00:00.

    If you want a slide to display for a fairly long time, such as 30 seconds or more, you might find it faster to enter the desired time in the Current Slide Timing text box on the Recording toolbar, rather than waiting the full amount of time before advancing. To do this, click in the text box, type the desired time, and press Tab. You must press the Tab key after entering the time — do not click the Next button — or PowerPoint will not apply your change.

  3. When you reach the final slide, a dialog box appears, asking whether you want to keep the new slide timings. Click Yes.

If you want to temporarily discard the rehearsed timings, deselect the Use Timings check box on the Slide Show tab. This turns off all automatic timings and allows the show to advance through mouse-clicks only. To clear timings altogether, choose Slide Show => Record Slide Show => Clear => Clear Timings on All Slides.

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