animate box outlines

How to animate box outlines

How to animate box outlines

Welcome back to PowerPoint training online. Today, our tutorial will cover how to animate box outlines.

When animating a shape, it will animate the whole shape. But sometimes you only want to animate the outline. A block of text may have a border on it which you use to emphasize the text. Animating the outline will allow you to make the text pop out more from the screen.

Animations can be a tricky thing to get right sometimes. Read our article on when should you use animations and transitions, it will help you decide when to use and when not too use them.

The ‘How to animate box outlines‘ video

The ‘How to animate box outlines‘ step-by-step guide

Step One – Insert your text or object

Before you can animate the outline of shape, you need to insert a shape or text box.

It is useful to know that a text box is a shape. It has all the same properties of a shape apart from the fact there is text in it.

To insert a shape onto the slide, Open the insert tab from the ribbon. Select the desired shape from the shapes drop down menu.

If you would like to insert a text box, press the insert text box button.


Step Two – Insert a second shape

The key to animating the outline of a box is that we are not actually animating the box itself. We are animating the second shape which sits over the main shape/ text box.

There are two ways of doing this. If it is a shape with no text, then you could copy and paste. Or go to the insert tab on the ribbon again and draw a new shape.

You will have to use the 2nd method if you are animating the outline for a text box. If you copy and paste a text box, the text will remain. If you delete the text the box will shrink.

second shape

Step Three – Move the second shape to the front

If you inserted the second shape after the main shape, then you can skip this step as it will already be in front of the main shape.

Like everything else in PowerPoint, there is multiple ways to do this step.

  1. Right click, scroll to ‘Bring to front’. Press this or select bring forward from the drop-down menu
  2. On the Home tab, click on arrange from the drawing section. Select bring to front
  3. Go to the Format Tab. Press the Bring forward button from the arrange section
move to front2
Move to Front – Way 1
move to front3
Move to Front – Way 2
move to front1
Move to Front – Way 3

Step Four – Remove the fill from the second shape


may have noticed that the second shape which we have just brought towards the front covers the shape that we want on display.

This is not what we want.

Now we need to set the shape fill to ‘No fill’.

Make sure the shape is selected, then go to the format tab. From the drop-down menu labelled ‘Shape Fill’, then select ‘No Fill’.

remove fill

Step Five – Format the outline

Now that we can see the shape underneath, we need to style the outline of the top shape.

This is done from the Format Tab. Make sure the shape is selected and then go to the format tab. This time you want to click on the drop-down menu labelled ‘Shape Outline’. From here you can the following options

  • Colour – changes the colour of the outline
  • Weight – changes the thickness of the outline
  • Dashes – changes the style of the outline

format outline1

Step Six – Animate the second shape

The shape has been formatted, you have it the way you want it to look. Next, we need to animate the shape. Select the animation you want. This will be done from the animation tab.

On the ribbon, go to the animation tab. Under the animations section, select the animation you want.



And there you have it, how to animate box outlines. I have found this is a useful tip when you want to place emphasis on a shape or piece of text. The thing you really want to remember when doing this is that you need to make sure you bring the second shape, the one that we are animating to outline to, to the front. Once you have done that then it is a just a case of animating the shape as normal.

We hope you enjoyed todays tutorial, please let us know what you thought in the comments below. You can also come and have a chat over on Facebook or Twitter. We are always online.

Till next time


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