Animate a Table in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010

In PowerPoint, when you’re working with SmartArt or Charts, you have the ability to animate different parts of the graphic. For example, you can bring in a chart’s series one at a time. Tables are another story. A table comes in all at once. But there are things you can do if you want to “fill” your table a bit at a time. There are a few ways of accomplishing this, some being a lot of work. I’m going to look at a pretty simple method.

What we’re going to do is duplicate a completed table, stack it, remove parts of the data, and then animate each table. When you do this type of stacking, it’s best to use a simple animation like “Appear.” The Selection and Visibility Pane is going to be very handy here, so open it. To do this, on the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the Select drop down and chose Selection Pane.

How to Animate a Table

  1. Create your table and format it the way you want (you really don’t want to have to go back and reformat it after you’ve started animating it). You may want to make a copy of this slide in case you need to start again. In the Selection pane, you’ll see the table listed as Content Placeholder #. You can always rename this. I named mine “Table1”.
  2. Use Ctrl+D to duplicate the table however many times you need for your animation steps. In my example, I want to bring in each quarter’s numbers separately, so I need a total of 5 tables. (If you make too many, just delete the extras.) As you duplicate the table, you’ll see each shape keeps the same name. Again, you can rename these. Objects in the Selection Pane are stacked; the one on the top of the list is in front of the others.
  3. Drag a marquee around all the tables to select them. (Click above and to the left of the tables and drag until all the tables are in the rectangle, then release the mouse button.) You can also Ctrl+Click in the Selection Pane to choose the tables.
  4. Stack the tables. On the Drawing Tools Format tab, in the Arrange group, click Align. Select Align Left and Align Top (you have to drop the Align menu twice). At this point, your Selection Pane might look something like this:
  5. Hide the shapes you don’t need right now (Table2-Table5) by clicking on the Eye icon for each shape.
  6. Delete the content you don’t want to display in the first animation (in my case, all the numbers).
  7. Do this for each of the tables (the top one should have all your data).
  8. Animate each table. While you could do something fairly dynamic with the first (bottom) table, you’ll probably want to stick with something less distracting for the other layers (Appear would be a good choice).
  9. When you’re done, make sure you Show All in your Selection Pane (hidden shapes will not display in your slide show).

You can experiment with different table formats (maybe even no background or boarder) and animations. It may take a little time to build, but a table animation can be very effective.

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