Animations for “Cutting, Slashing and Trimming” – Scissors


You may use phrases like “cut your costs,” “slash your budget” or “trim your overhead” in your presentations. Using an animation will add impact and help sell your product or proposition.

This post uses scissors to build the animations.

If you check out scissor images on the net, you will find a variety of shapes, some fairly complicated. I want a simple version that can be constructed from standard PowerPoint shapes. But to be a “working” pair of scissors, it must have two blades and a common pivot point so that, when closed, the blades overlap (more or less) and the handles don’t interfere with each other. Some static clipart scissors won’t really “work.”

Here’s my version of half the scissors (a “scissor”?) with the lower handle and upper blade:


The object consists of a Donut and a Rectangle for the handle, a rotated Isosceles Triangle for the blade, and a circle for the pivot. I used the Drawing Guides as shown to help align the parts. Group these parts for the complete half.

Next I added a circle, centered on the pivot point and larger than the object. Fans of this blog will recognize this as a technique to assure that the object rotates around the desired pivot point rather than the default “center of gravity.” The circle will be made invisible (no outline color) in the final result.


I duplicated the object and inverted it to make the other half (blue outline). I also made the centering circle a little larger in the blue (lower blade) version; this makes it easier to select. The two halves are rotated 20 degrees to the “open” position:


Note: For “right-handed” scissors, the upper blade is on the right when the scissors are held in the cutting position. In the orientation shown above, this means that the upper blade (the red half) is in front of the blue half. Theoretically, if you show the scissors pointing to the left, the lower blade half should be in front.

You may have to iterate these steps a few times to get the result you want; I did.

Now add some color and make the circles invisible (set outline color to No Line). Use slightly contrasting colors for the blades and the pivot:


Note: When I create icons, etc., on this blog, I usually try to use combinations of pre-defined PowerPoint Shapes  because this requires less experience and practice than other techniques. If you want to try Freeform drawing, you can create a more elaborate pair of scissors:


For the simple scissors, the animation is pretty simple; simultaneous 20 degree Spins. Make the duration fairly short for a satisfying “snip”:

Note: The PowerPoint animations are smoother than the video conversion shown here.

To represent cutting costs, etc., I want the scissors to cut a symbol for cash; e.g., a dollar sign. Here’s the animation:

Here are the steps:

  • Create a text dollar sign, covert it to png and crop two versions to make two halves of the symbol; here’s the process:


Note: Why do I use png rather than jpg for the converted dollar sign? Here’s why:


The png format supports transparency and PowerPoint uses transparency in the Paste/Special operation.

Align the scissors and the two parts of the dollar sign. The lower half rotates when it is cut; establish the center of the rotation by grouping a circle (red) centered near the upper right corner with the lower half:


  • The scissors animation is the same as before. A Spin is added to the lower half wirh a motion path for the falling piece. The Spin overlaps the end of the cutting action and the motion path:


Here’s another application of the scissors animation. A cost is shown rising regularly with a bar graph and the scissors trim the last bar:

Some notes:

  • The last bar is in two pieces; the bottom half has a Spin and motion path added. A circle is grouped with the bottom piece to establish the center of the Spin. The blue bar/circle is a target for the animation; that is, it is positioned where I want the motion path to end. The motion path has a bounce at the end.


  • The timing is a little tricky. The bars are introduced by a Wipe/From Bottom animation. The Wipes for the last bar (halves) are overlapped since, with the circle, the bottom half is taller.


  • The Spin for the cut-off piece is overlapped with the motion path.

If you want a free copy of the PowerPoint file containing these animations, please use the form below (please make sure your email address is correct):

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