Spinning most objects in Microsoft PowerPoint is easy, but circles need a bit of extra work to see the movement. Learn how to add objects that spin with the circle to your next presentation.
The spin animation in Microsoft PowerPoint makes shapes appear to turn, and it works great unless you’re working with a circle. You can’t see a circle spin—it spins, you just can’t see it because there’s nothing to anchor your eyes on. Adding other shapes to the circle is an easy way to expose the spin animation. In this article, we’ll add some stars to a circle so you can see the circle spin. Then, we’ll add a second layer of stars, just for fun.
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I’m using Microsoft 365 on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use earlier versions. For your convenience, you can download the demonstration .pptx and .ppt files. This article assumes you have basic PowerPoint skills, such as inserting shapes and setting properties. However, you should be able to follow the instructions to success.
You can spin most anything. All you have to do is add the Spin animation (Emphasis). Let’s try that now with a rectangular shape. First, insert the rectangle into a blank slide. (Click the Insert tab, click Shapes in the Illustrations group, choose a rectangle from the Rectangles section, and then click and drag to size and position the rectangle.) Then, with the rectangle selected, do the following:
The small 1 in the rectangle’s top-left corner indicates that there’s an animation applied to this object. Click F5 to run the show. When PowerPoint displays the slide, click it to trigger the animation. Although I can’t capture the entire rotation, Figure B shows that the rectangle does indeed rotate.
You can change this behavior a bit as follows:
Using these settings, you can determine when the spinning begins and how quickly the object spins. Have you tried this with a circle?
If you’ve added a spin animation to a circle, you might have been disappointed. Let’s try that now and see what happens:
Press F5 and click twice to bypass the spinning rectangle. Even though you applied the Spin emphasis to the circle, it doesn’t appear to move. It’s spinning, you just don’t see it.
Applying the Spin animation appears to have no effect on a plain circle. A spinning circle isn’t visible unless something changes. The circle is spinning, you just can’t see it because there’s nothing to distinguish the movement.
You must add something that moves; we’ll add stars around the perimeter, as follows:
We’ll add the spin animation later. First, group all the stars and the circle, so they all spin together. Press Ctrl + A to select everything in the slide (Figure D). Then, from the Arrange dropdown (in the Drawing group) choose Group.
Now that the circle and stars are one grouped layer, you can spin everything as one shape. To do so:
It’s a simple effect, but you can add more spinning stars if you really want to jazz it up a bit.
Right now, there’s one grouped layer: a circle and eight stars. They spin together as one shape. Let’s add a second layer of stars and see what happens. To do so, insert another star, resize it about the same size and make it red. Copy it seven times and use Figure E as a guide to position them. For our purposes don’t spend much time trying to space them perfectly—just eyeball it.
Next, group the red stars in a second layer. Hold down the Shift key while you click each red star. Then, choose Group from the Arrange dropdown (in the Drawing group). Figure E shows the new group’s boundary.
Click the Animation tab and add the Spin emphasis as you did in the last circle. Now you have two spin animations: the white stars and circles and the red stars. From the Start option (in the Timing group), choose With Previous so that white and red stars spin at the same time. Next, from the Effect Options dropdown (in the Animation group), select Counterclockwise.
You might notice that both animations display the number 1 instead of 1 and 2. That’s because the animations belong to two different grouped layers and each group has one animation. When adding other animations, you’ll want to keep the grouping behavior in mind. In addition, you can change the timing options to spin the stars separately. For instance, if you change the red star group’s Start option to On Click, the red stars will spin after the white stars instead of at the same time.
Run the show and click through all the previous slides. When you get to this last slide, click. The white stars will spin clockwise, and the red stars will spin counterclockwise. You can add as many grouped layers of stars as you like, but I recommend that you not make any animation too noisy, or busy. The effect can be counterproductive for your audience.