Use Dynamic Transitions To Connect Slides

By Ellen Finkelstein

Here’s a common scenario. You have a table of Excel data and you need to discuss it in detail at a meeting. But there’s no way it will fit on one slide. What are your options?

  1. You could print out the data so people can see it up close. I recommend doing this when necessary.
  2. You could split the data onto 2 slides and use a dynamic transition between them. Dynamic transitions are new for PowerPoint 2010.

What’s a Dynamic Transition?

A dynamic transition has two special features:

  1. The transition applies to your slide content, but not the background. This makes your content seem to move independently from the background.
  2. The transition works backward when you move to the previous slide.

You don’t need to add the transition to the first slide of a set.

I recommend using transitions very sparingly. When a presentation has a transition applied to all slides, I find it distracting. Don’t you? You want your audience to focus on the content, not the special effects!

But occasionally, a transition can actually help your audience understand what you are saying. When you need to span data over two or more slides, the Pan dynamic transition can help.

Here are two slides that provide historical data on health expenditures in the United States. In many cases, a chart (graph) would work better, but let’s say that your audience wants to analyze the specific numbers, so you need to use a table. You can see that this data wouldn’t fit on one slide, because it covers a span of 20 years.


Two points:

  • You want to be able to go back and forth between the slides during your discussion
  • The image of the wheelchair is on the slide master, so it’s part of the background. It isn’t on the slides themselves.

Here are the steps to apply the Pan transition in PowerPoint 2010 between 2 slides:

  1. Select the second slide.
  2. On the Transitions tab, click the down arrow at the right side of the gallery to expand it.
  3. In the Dynamic Content section, choose Pan.
  4. Click the Effect Options button (to the right of the gallery) and choose From Right. (If your data is long, rather than wide, choose From Bottom.)


Display your first slide and go into Slide Show view. Click and you’ll see the 2nd slide move in from the right. There will be a little bounce, which I dislike, but you can’t get rid of it. Notice that your background doesn’t move! (You won’t notice this unless you have something on your background.)

Now, press the left arrow or Backspace key on your keyboard. The first slide moves in from the left, giving the impression that the 2 slides are connected. This helps your audience understand the connection between the 2 halves of the data.

About the Author:

Ellen Finkelstein can train you or the presenters in your organization to create high-impact, engaging, professional presentations for training, sales, business, or education. For more information about her services, click here.

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