How to Create Animated Stick Figures on PowerPoint
By Filonia LeChat
If the liveliest thing about your company’s Microsoft PowerPoint slideshows is the presenter clicking the “next” or “back” buttons, it’s time to explore the software’s collection of animations. Animations are short little actions you can apply to your slides; they aren't restricted to just bulleted text. Create stick figure drawings through PowerPoint’s shapes collection, and then make them come alive through PowerPoint’s animations. Use these images to congratulate employees for getting through their new hire training or to thank customers for completing their reading on your new product details.
Launch PowerPoint and click the “Insert” tab. Click the “Shapes” button on the ribbon and choose the smiley-face shape under the Basic Shapes section. If you want a blank-faced stick figure, choose the circle shape.
Position the cursor on the slide and then click and drag the mouse to form the stick figure’s head. Take care to leave enough room for the body.
Click the “Shapes” button again and choose the first option under the Lines section. Place the cursor at the bottom of the head, press the “Shift” key to get a straight line, and drag the mouse to form the body. Release the “Shift” key and the mouse button. If the body doesn’t “attach” to the head, drag the line until the head and body meet.
Repeat the line drawing process four times, using the “Shift” key and drawing at two up angles for the arms and two down angles for the legs. Add any other decorations to the stick figure as desired.
Click the stick figure to open the orange “Drawing Tools” tab. Use the “Shape Outline” menu on the ribbon to change the stick figure’s color, which by default is blue.
Click the “Animations” tab. Click the small down arrow on the scroll bar in the Animation section of the ribbon, which opens the entire selection of animation options – only a few are shown on the ribbon.
Hover the cursor, without clicking, over an animation type, such as “Grow/Shrink.” Watch as the animation is applied to the stick figure. Drag the cursor through different animations without clicking so you can sample them one after another. To commit an animation to the stick figure, click it. You’ll note a small number on the slide and a shooting star under the slide’s number on the slide deck, indicating that an animation has been applied.
You can layer animations, giving your stick figure multiple movements, by clicking multiple animations. Note that even if you apply multiple animations, the number on the slide will remain at “1” or the number it was assigned. This means it is the first animation in the slide show, not that there is only one associated animation.
Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.