Microsoft PowerPoint MVP 2003-2007
How to animate/display long credits lists
Often, you will need to display Movie-like credits. This is a nice way to give credit and acknowledgement to large numbers of people who worked on or donated towards a project. The problem is that PowerPoint does not allow large lists to be run easily.
There is a Credits entrance animation in PowerPoint 2002, 2003 and 2007, but this does not scroll more than a couple of slide heights worth of names. Often there are many more names than will fit in a text box this size. A user has to learn a few tricks in order to scroll large lists of names.
So, let’s teach you how to set this up.
To start with, we'll need a long list names and titles. Since it has to be something in the public domain (because I can’t afford to pay royalties) lets grab the full list of members of the 108th U.S. Congress. This is not a political comment; I’m just using the list as an example. I grabbed the list from the internet and pasted it into Word. I removed all the hyperlinks and formatted it as I needed. It ended up being about 15 Word pages long of 14 and 10 point font.
Step 1 – Let’s fire up PowerPoint and get started. First, it’ll be easiest for this project if we start on a new blank presentation. In this new presentation we’ll create a shape that we will copy several times, like a custom shape template. We’ll need a new slide in PowerPoint, so click on Insert => Slide => and then change the layout to blank => Format => Slide Layout => (select) Blank.
Step 2 – Insert a textbox and size it to the full slide height.
Insert => Text box
Select the new text box
Format => Text box
(tab) Position => Top => 0 (zero)
SlideShow => Custom Animation (opens the animation pane)
Add effect => Entrance => More Effects => Credits
Change it to Start: With Previous
Step 3 – Now comes the fun part. Copy this whole slide (the blank one with the empty shape) two dozen or so times. As many times as you think you will need. If you run low on blank slides at any point, you will want to make additional blank slide copies
Step 4 – Add the complete list from Word to the blank textbox shape on the first slide. Note that often, the pasted list will change font size and may need to be slightly adjusted. Make this list look like you want the finished text look.
Step 5 – Now, we need to break the sections of the long list into smaller lists. On the first slide, select the part of the text that fits onto the slide. Cut this text using the Ctl+X or the Edit => Cut method. Go to the next open slide and paste the text into the text box. Repeat this as many times as is needed until the last of the text has been removed from the first slide. When slide 1 is empty, delete it. You should have a series of slides each with a text box with just enough text in it to fill the slide (but not hang over the bottom of the slide).
Step 6 – The next step is to add animation delay settings to all the textboxes on the slides. The default Credit animation timing is 15.0 seconds. You do not have to keep this speed, you can make it faster or slower, but 15 seconds is usually a pretty good speed to read the text (when shown in 14 to 20 point fonts). Get a piece of scrap paper and write down the number 0. On the next line write down ˝ of the speed the credit animation will use. In our example we will write down 7.5 seconds. On each line add 7.5 seconds to the line before. So our paper looks like this:
We’ll apply these delay settings to your text boxes. So on slide 1, you will need to add the delay by selecting the slide, then click on SlideShow => Custom animations, Then select the Animation for the text box (the only animation). Click on the down arrow next to the animation and select timing. Then change the delay to the next number on your list. Slide 1 should be 0 (zero) seconds. Repeat this process, crossing off each of the numbers on your list and adding the next one to the next slide’s animation until you run out of slides.
Step 7 – Combining. You are now going to cut and paste each of the filled and animated textbox shapes from the slides onto slide #1. So, go to slide #2, hit Ctl+A to select all the shapes on the slide (only the one text box) and hit Ctl+x to cut it, then select slide #1 and hit Ctl+ V to paste it. Repeat this for each of the text filled slides. After all the text filled slides are empty (except for slide #1), you can delete all but slide #1.
Step 8 – Aligning. Now on slide #1 hit Ctl + A to select all the text boxes.
Now if you are using PowerPoint 2002 or 2003, click on the lower tool bar’s Draw command and select Align or Distribute => Align Left. Then select Draw => Align or Distribute => Relative to Slide. Then Draw => Align or Distribute => Align Top.
If you are using PowerPoint 2007, then after selecting all the shapes (Ctl+A), select the Format tab on the Ribbon, then click on the Align button (small on the top right third of the ribbon). Click on Align => Align Left, then Align => Align to Slide. Then Align => Align Top.
This will make all the text box shapes line up nicely overlaying each other in an unreadable jumble of text, don’t worry, this is how it is supposed to look.
Step 9 – Try it out. Start the slide show and watch the credits roll. You can click here for the zipped sample created of the 108th U.S. Congress.
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