Storms and Swarms – Part 3: Word Swarms



This is the third in a series of posts about “storms and swarms.”  These are animated effects that generally affect the entire slide space, involve a fairly large number of objects and exhibit a certain “randomness.” A single visual metaphor (e.g., rain or attack) is usually the goal of the effect. The first post used a “rain” effect to suggest the growth in the use of wireless devices. The second post demonstrated a couple of “attack” effects. This post will show you a “word swarm.”

My posts on word clouds (here and here) have been pretty popular. These examples use an array of words and a figure to suggest a prospect’s worry  or concern; this post uses an animated word “swarm” with a similar intention. Here’s the animation:

The animation of the individual words is more complicated that the previous swarm examples. It involves two Zooms, a Spin and a Dissolve. Here’s a single word:

Here’s the animation pane for the single word with some notes:

swrm 7


The Entry and Exit Zooms cause the word to appear to fly out of the slide; there is a Dissolve near the end of the Exit Zoom. A 30 degree Spin is simultaneous with the other effects.

You can apply the animation to the other words by using the Animation Painter. To achieve the appearance of randomness, I adjusted the position of the words on the screen, varied the start times and overlaps (the total duration is the same for each word) and changed the spin to Clockwise for about half the words. As I have noted before in this series, I don’t know any easy way to do this. I just made the adjustments one-by-one until it looked right.

Here is the layout and (part of) the Animation Pane:

swrm 8


If you want a free copy of a PowerPoint file containing these examples, use the form below:

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