Animated Icons in PowerPoint – Vehicles


In a presentation, vehicle icons can represent transportation or travel and even manufacturing and warehousing. More abstractly, they can connote starting/departure, arrival or speed. Add your logo and you can represent product delivery. Here are some animated examples:

This post will demonstrate the construction of these vehicles and their animation. Earlier posts in this series provide general guidelines and additional examples of animated icons.

Rolling Wheels

Vehicles usually use rolling wheels. In PowerPoint, a rolling wheel animation is a combination of a Motion Path and a Spin, acting simultaneously. Here’s an example:


Here’s a video of this animation:

The white line on the circle makes the rotation evident. The rotation is not visible with a perfectly uniform circle.

For a wheel that doesn’t  slip or skid, there is a particular relationship between the distance traveled and the number of rotations. Here’s how to build a “tool” to help set up a rolling wheel:

  • Draw a circle with a diameter of 1 inch (hold Shift down while drawing/sizing an Oval to create a symmetric circle). Use the Drawing Tools/Size and Position pane to set the diameter exactly.
  • Group the circle with a small line at the bottom of the circle so that you can see the rotation.
  • Add a horizontal line starting at the base of the circle.  Using the Size and Position pane, set the length to about 3.14 inches (wink, wink).
  • Add the Motion Path to the circle group – Right to the end of the line.
  • Add a Spin – Full Spin/Clockwise With the motion path. Here’s what the layout/animation looks like:


  • Run the animation (Slide Show) to assure that the line is about the right length.
  • Now the line is the distance traveled during a single rotation of the wheel. It will be convenient to work with fractions of a rotation so now we add a “ruler” to measure quarter rotations. Draw a rectangle (any convenient size) and duplicate it three times. Position the four rectangles in a line touching each other and group them. Resize the group so that the length matches the line.  Here’s the result:


  • Group all the parts (you will lose the animation but that’s ok). You can use this object as a tool in creating the icons.


A convincing truck icon can be constructed from standard PowerPoint shapes:


The cab and window are Snip and Round Corner Rectangles. The body is a Round Single Corner Rectangle and a small Oval. The wheels consist of a circle for the tire and two half circles (Pie shapes) for the wheel cover.

There are a number of ways to create the wheel openings (the green circles) including using the PowerPoint 2011 Shape Subtract feature to “cut out” the openings. I converted the truck body and cab to Freeforms and used the Edit Points feature to add the wheel opening using the green circles as guides:


For the animation, group the truck body and cab as a unit. Similarly, group the tire and wheel cover shapes for each wheel. The truck and each wheels will be animated separately,

Next, create the motion paths. I have mentioned before that I often use target objects to help determine the end point of a motion path.  That is, I create a copy of the object, place it in the desired position and use its center point as the end point for the motion path.

In this case we also want the distance that the truck (and wheels) travel to correspond to a convenient number of wheel rotations. Use the “tool” described above to position the target versions of the truck and wheels:


Resize the tool so that the circle matches the size of the wheels. Position the tool on one of the wheels. Duplicate the wheel (three times in this case) and lay the tools end to end. Position the target version of the truck/wheels so that the corresponding (rear) wheel lines up with a convenient marker on the tool. Here, the position of the target is set at two and one half rotations.

Now set Drawing Guides to the center of the rear wheel on the target. Apply and adjust a Right motion path so that the endpoint is at the center of the target wheel, Repeat for the other wheel and the truck body/cab.  Here’s the result:


Now add Spin Clockwise 900 degrees (two and a half rotations) to each wheel With the motion paths (Vroom! Vroom!):



The forklift icon relates to manufacturing or warehousing,  It demonstrates an animation after the rolling. The forklift body and window are hand-drawn Freeforms, (See this post for an example of creating a Freeform.) The other elements are standard PowerPoint shapes:


Compared to the truck, there is an additional, separately animated object (the lifting device and its load).

Animation is similar to the truck with an added motion path (the lift) and the end. Here’s the layout and animation (the motion distance is equivalent to a single rotation):


Performance Car

The body and spoiler of the “performance car” are hand drawn Freeforms:


The wheel covers are modified versions of the standard Sun shape and a circle:


The standard shape is adjusted and then converted to a Freeform. The inner circle is removed by point editing and the result is filled and grouped with a circle to form the wheel cover.

The car skids to a stop – the wheels rotate only during the first part of the motion:


The wheels rotate one and a quarter revolutions (400 degrees) in the first 0.6 seconds of the animation.

Dump Truck

The dump truck body and bed are Freeforms; the 24 Point Star shape is used for the tires. A large circle is grouped with the truck bed to determine the center of rotation:


The animation consists of the “roll’ followed by the dumping action:


Off-road Vehicle

The off-road vehicle is constructed of Freeforms and uses the same wheels as the dump truck (note the wheel clearance):


The animation uses “bumpy” motion paths:


For these motion paths. you can draw a Custom Path or modify (point edit) a standard path.  I modified a standard path because a Custom Path is not automatically centered on the object. Note that a simple Left, Right, etc., path cannot be point edited.

There is a Zig Zag motion path but it seemed too regular for this application.

As usual, you can get a free copy of a PowerPoint file containing these objects and animations.  Use the form below to ask for the “vehicle” file.

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