Slide Transitions: A Photo Carousel


In a previous post, I described a project where a client wanted to recreate an effect on his website in PowerPoint: a “carousel” display of photos representing the company’s global locations. My approach turned out to be fairly complicated; this post uses a much simpler technique to produce a similar result.

Here’s my new sequence:

This project uses a series of slides with slide transitions to create the effect rather than animations. In particular, “dynamic content” transitions are used. This feature was introduced in PowerPoint 2010; here’s how it works:

Slides contain two different kinds of objects (content). Some of the objects originate in the slide Layout (typically, backgrounds, bullet list placeholders, logo, slide number, etc.) and appear when a New Slide is created. These objects cannot be edited directly on the slide. Other objects (content) are created on the slide itself. In this project, the Title, Acme logo and the gold bar under the title are “layout content.” The “slide content” is the photograph and label. When a Dynamic Content transition is used, the layout objects do not move during the effect, as in the example above. So, the effect appears to apply to the photos and the slide remains fixed:


By the way, slide transitions are a lot like animations: there are a lot of loony effects available and haphazard use will distract and possibly nauseate your audience – not a good thing. Use transitions only when they add to your message (or when the client tells you to). For more on this view, see this rant.

Here are some notes on the “carousel” effect:

  • To keep the title text from moving, I created a new Layout with the desired title as a text box rather than the title placeholder. Go to View/Slide Master, select the slide layout you are using (Title Only Layout in my case), right click on it and select Duplicate layout. A new layout name will be supplied but you can edit the name as needed. On the new layout, delete the title placeholder and create a text box in its place; the text is now part of the layout and will stay put. Use this layout for your carousel slides.
  • For the smoothest result, all the photos should be the same size. An easy way to do this is to create a Rectangle of the appropriate size, and use it as a “cookie cutter” to get properly sized photos.
    • Place the Rectangle over the photo and position and/or resize the photo until the part of the photo inside the Rectangle is what you want; here’s an example with the Rectangle outlined in yellow for contrast:
  • trans1
    • Now, select the Rectangle and then the photo and apply Merge Shapes/Intersect.

A reader has informed me that Merge Shapes doesn’t work on pictures in PowerPoint 2010 and earlier. You can use Crop and resize to fix the pictures.

  • Position the photos in the same place on each slide in the series (use Drawing Guides to help).
  • A Rectangle with a semi-transparent fill is used as the photo label. This is a good way to assure legible text over a “noisy” background.
  • For each slide, except the first, apply the Dynamic Content transition Rotate (in the Transitions tab).
  • Since you probably don’t want to click through each slide, set Advance Slide/After… with an appropriate timing. You can also adjust the transition Duration to your liking. Here are the settings for this project:


Although this effect is not exactly the same as the one I did using animations, it is a bunch easier.

This project makes me wonder if I can use some of the other transition effects in a similar way. I’ll look at that in the next post.

If you want a free PowerPoint copy of this project, use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a “source” PowerPoint file:

Powerpointy blog – carousel

See this page for more on downloading files.

If you have questions, praise or complaints, please add a comment below. If you appreciate my efforts, liking or following this blog might be a good idea.


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