Making clean proofs of slides with complex animations
February 20, 2018

There’s a workaround for that.

Note to reader: There’s ALWAYS a workaround.

If you’re like me, you love to enhance your story with appropriate animation within PowerPoint. Both simple and complex animations can bring the information presented to life and understandable in a way that static content can’t always do. But there’s the perpetual problem of disseminating that presentation afterwards without causing yourself the extra work of either showing and hiding slides when you create pdfs, or rebuilding them altogether.

There’s a pretty simple trick to having all of that overlapping animated content on the slide AND making that same slide clean and readable for pdf output or printing. And it means you add 2 more animations and even more overlapping content to your slide. Let’s go through this step by step.

Let’s start with your animated slide.

Under the hood, it really looks like this:

In reality, you want the pdf and print outs to look like the slide when the animation ended:

So how do we make that happen?

There are a few steps to take here.

  1. Duplicate your animated slide.
  2. On this second slide, move all objects to their final resting place after the animation is done.
  3. Save this slide as a PNG
  4. Delete the second slide
  5. Insert the PNG you just made onto the original animation slide

At this point, you really want to make use of your selection pane. Make sure all of the objects on your slide have names that make sense. For the PNG I just pasted onto this slide, I’ve renamed it “for print only.”

Fantastic! It looks like you want it to for print! But now it’s in the way of the animation. Oh man. Well, there’s an easy fix for it.

With the PNG selected, do the following:

  1. Add animation: appear with previous
  2. Add animation: disappear with previous
  3. Bump those two animations to occur first.

Voila! Now you have a slide that animates exactly how you want it to in presentation mode AND prints cleanly for proofs or handouts!