Wham! Bam! Boom! Explosions in PowerPoint


An explosion is a dramatic way to show destruction in your presentation – maybe you want to destroy a problem revealing a solution.

I demonstrated some similar “destructive” effects in my posts on “breakthroughs;” check them out here, here and here. You might also like the post on wrecking ball animation.

The simplest explosion animation is two simultaneous exit effects, Dissolve Out and Basic Zoom/In. Here’s an example of this effect that also hints at how this might be used:

Another relatively simple animation creates a “flash” that fills the screen, then slowly fades away revealing the result of the explosion:

The flash is a large, gradient filled Oval. The flash appears via a fast Basic Zoom/In effect. Before the Oval Fades Out, the “goal” object and the debris pile Appear and the “barrier” Disappears. Here’s the animation pane:


A real explosion is chaotic – difficult to mimic in PowerPoint. My approach here is to use several simple explosions together to create a more complex effect.

Here are some “improved” explosions and a demo with layered elements:

Some notes:

  • These animations are purposely slowed down – you will probably want to adjust the durations.
  • These “fireballs” are gradient-filled with yellow (hot) centers blending into red (cooler) at the edges. The gradient uses the Path option to create the radial features.
  • The fireballs also have Soft Edges.
  • The first fireball uses a Cloud shape and is animated with the same Appear/Zoom/Dissolve effect as before.
  • The second fireball uses a Fade effect rather than Dissolve; you may like this better.
  • The third fireball uses an Explosion 1 shape.
  • The final example uses three separate fireballs to create a more complex explosions. I rotated and re-sized the basic Cloud shape to get some variability.

You can experiment with more/different shapes and timing. You can also add animations; this example adds motion paths to lift the fireballs:

Explosions create dust/debris clouds; this example uses gradient filled Cloud shapes to add dust which fades away (and a sound effect from soundrangers.com):

You might want to add flying debris, rising smoke, “streamers,” etc., or experiment with timing, shapes and color. Search for animated or cartoon explosions for inspiration – real explosions may not be helpful.

If you want to blow stuff up (in PowerPoint), use the link below to access a free PowerPoint file that includes these animations:

Powerpointy blog – explosions

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


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