To Animate or Not to Animate (in Presenter)

Hi All:

I was working on an Articulate Presenter module the other day and putting an animation together where a number changes from 1 to 2 to 3.  Now, since it was fading in and out I put it all on one slide.  Then I thought maybe it would be easier to just make three slides and have the number increase on each slide.  I'm not really sure which is "easier."  It's probably more a matter of preference in how you wish to do it.  Plus, each has a distinct look as the fade seems more graceful IMO.  But, it got me thinking and wondering if there would be other more important differences, like load time and file size.

I built out the same scenario, one with three slides and different numbers on each slide, and the other all on one side fading in and out with animations.  I was kind of hoping for a radical difference in load time or file size.  Alas, there was no marked difference in either of the files.  I compared the PowerPoint files and the published Articulate files.  Below is the comparison chart.

Now, granted, this is only one small example and there might be a difference in a more complicated animation sequence.  But, I really doubt it.  Mainly because whatever extra time/space taken up by using an animation in the one scenario is offset by adding slides in the other scenario.

Nothing groundbreaking here.  Just thought I would share my little experiment.  Anyone else experimented with this or have info. to the contrary?  Would love to hear.


7 Replies
Mike Taylor

Thanks for sharing this David. I've had this same conversation with myself but never got as far as testing the size differences.

For me it seems to be a personal preference unless you will be using your slides in any other format besides as a published course. For example, if you will ever share it as a PDF or via a site like Slideshare you'll need to split them into separate slides anyway since those do not display animations. For some reason, it seems that somebody somewhere always wants a PDF copy so that's the way I've been leaning lately.

For what it's worth...if not for that I think I prefer to build them as animations on the same slide.

Bob S

Hi David,

Interesting experiment... thanks for sharing the results.

Another thing to consider is if you show a "slide count" to the learners in your course. Having multiple slides to accomplish a simple animation change might run the risk of intimidating some users.

I tend to agree with Mike, unless I need to break things up for printed purposes, I try to keep things on fewer slides.

Now once the new Presenter '12 supports PPT slide transitions too.... hmm. 


David Lindenberg

Mike & Bob:

I agree on the "keeping things on fewer slides" point.  I tend to try to do that too.  However, splitting slides up is a good thing to consider for those times when you need to print.  I hadn't thought of that aspect.  I was just curious about the animate vs. no animate comparison.

Thanks for your thoughts!


Kate Hoelscher

If we are truly building for e-learning, we want to make it user-friendly.  I have received complaints when there are 'too many slides' in the menu, even if they are truly very short slides.  Overall, I know people want it more interactive and interesting, which is often accomplished by many slides vs. fewer slides with lots of audio per page.  So--it takes extra time, but I tend to try to remove the 'extras' from the menu.  I have noticed some issues with removing some of them in the menu for bookmarking in our LMS, so do try to limit this (odd...haven't spent a lot of time looking into it though--note this is in Storyline, not Presenter that I have noticed this issue).

James Brown

I have to agree with Mike on this one. It really depends on two factors.

  • Will you be sharing the content as a PDF or Slide Show
  • The content will only be in the form of an Articulate project.

Regarding size; not sure how much animation will inflate the overall file size however there are a few things to take into consideration.

  • clip art should be GIF
  • Images should be JPEG or PNG
  • Main Images / clipart should only be found on the Layouts under the slide master

I can only imaging the size of the file if a user forgot these small but critical points.

Regarding animation; if taken in moderation, animation is a good thing. However when over used it not only is detrimental to the learning process, but it can be flat out ANNOYING!!  My advice to is to use the K.I.S.S. principal and keep it simple silly.

Mike Taylor

Yes, James! The important thing is APPROPRIATE use of animation. Ruth Clark touches on the use of animation and graphics by saying that it's "...the communication functionality of the graphic that matters.

Here's a good article of hers that I've shared with a lot of people:

"More than Eye Candy"