PowerPoint: Applying Transitions

Lesson 8: Applying Transitions



If you've ever seen a PowerPoint presentation that had special effects between each slide, you've seen slide transitions. A transition can be as simple as fading to the next slide or as flashy as an eye-catching effect. PowerPoint makes it easy to apply transitions to some or all of your slides, giving your presentation a polished, professional look.

Optional: Download our practice presentation.

Watch the video below to learn more about applying transitions in PowerPoint.

About transitions

There are three categories of unique transitions to choose from, all of which can be found on the Transitions tab.

  • Subtle: These are the most basic types of transitions. They use simple animations to move between slides.
    Subtle transitions
  • Exciting: These use more complex animations to transition between slides. While they're more visually interesting than Subtle transitions, adding too many can make your presentation look less professional. However, when used in moderation they can add a nice touch between important slides.
    Exciting transitions
  • Dynamic Content: If you're transitioning between two slides that use similar slide layouts, dynamic transitions will move only the placeholders, not the slides themselves. When used correctly, dynamic transitions can help unify your slides and add a further level of polish to your presentation.
    Dynamic transitions

Transitions are best used in moderation. Adding too many transitions can make your presentation look a little silly and can even be distracting to your audience. Consider using mostly subtle transitions, or not using transitions at all.

To apply a transition:

  1. Select the desired slide from the Slide Navigation pane. This is the slide that will appear after the transition.
    Selecting a slide
  2. Click the Transitions tab, then locate the Transition to This Slide group. By default, None is applied to each slide.
  3. Click the More drop-down arrow to display all transitions.
    Clicking the More drop-down arrow
  4. Click a transition to apply it to the selected slide. This will automatically preview the transition.
    Selecting a transition

You can use the Apply To All command in the Timing group to apply the same transition to all slides in your presentation. Keep in mind that this will modify any other transitions you've applied.

Applying the same transition to all slides

Try applying a few types of transitions to various slides in your presentation. You may find that some transitions work better than others, depending on the content of your slides.

To preview a transition:

You can preview the transition for a selected slide at any time using one of these two methods:

  • Click the Preview command on the Transitions tab.
    Clicking the Preview command
  • Click the Play Animations command in the Slide Navigation pane.
    Clicking the Play Animations command in the Slide Navigation pane

Modifying transitions

To modify the transition effect:

You can quickly customize the look of a transition by changing its direction.

  1. Select the slide with the transition you want to modify.
  2. Click the Effect Options command and choose the desired option. These options will vary depending on the selected transition.
    Modifying a transition effect
  3. The transition will be modified, and a preview of the transition will appear.

Some transitions do not allow you to modify the direction.

To modify the transition duration:

  1. Select the slide with the transition you want to modify.
  2. In the Duration field in the Timing group, enter the desired time for the transition. In this example, we'll decrease the time to half a second—or 00.50—to make the transition faster.
    Modifying the transition duration

To add sound:

  1. Select the slide with the transition you want to modify.
  2. Click the Sound drop-down menu in the Timing group.
  3. Click a sound to apply it to the selected slide, then preview the transition to hear the sound.
    Adding a sound to a transition

Sounds are best used in moderation. Applying a sound between every slide could become overwhelming or even annoying to an audience when presenting your slide show.

To remove a transition:

  1. Select the slide with the transition you want to remove.
  2. Choose None from the Transition to This Slide group. The transition will be removed.
    Removing a transition from a slide

To remove transitions from all slides, apply the None transition to a slide, then click the Apply to All command.

Advancing slides

Normally, in Slide Show view you would advance to the next slide by clicking your mouse or by pressing the spacebar or arrow keys on your keyboard. The Advance Slides setting in the Timing group allows the presentation to advance on its own and display each slide for a specific amount of time. This feature is especially useful for unattended presentations, such as those at a trade show booth.

To advance slides automatically:

  1. Select the slide you want to modify.
  2. Locate the Timing group on the Transitions tab. Under Advance Slide, uncheck the box next to On Mouse Click.
  3. In the After field, enter the amount of time you want to display the slide. In this example, we will advance the slide automatically after 1 minute and 15 seconds, or 01:15:00.
    Setting an automatic slide duration
  4. Select another slide and repeat the process until all slides have the desired timing. You can also click the Apply to All command to apply the same timing to all slides.

If you need to advance to the next slide before an automatic transition, you can always click the mouse or press the spacebar to advance the slides as normal.


  1. Open our practice presentation.
  2. With the first slide selected, apply a Push transition from the Subtle category.
  3. Change the Effect Options to push From Right.
  4. Change the Duration to 2.00.
  5. Set the slides to Automatically Advance after 3 seconds, or 00:03.00.
  6. Use the Apply to All command to apply your changes to every slide.
  7. Using the Slide Show button at the bottom of your window, play your slideshow. Each slide should advance automatically like in the image below:

    the presentation after completing the Challenge