The Guide to Animated Excel Graphs

There are a lot of cool new tools in the latest professional versions of Excel that allow you to add some animation to your charts and graphs. However, with a little help from PowerPoint, you can do some types of animation in almost any version! While animating chart data can seem a nifty thing, please keep in mind that the reason to do it is to more clearly communicate what the chart depicts.

Download AnimatedCharts-Transactions.xlsx and follow along.

We’ve built 4 charts here in Excel from pivot tables. (Note: You don’t have to use pivot tables.)

  • Quarterly Sales – All Regions
  • Quarterly Sales – Africa
  • Quarterly Sales – North America
  • Quarterly Sales – South America

Animated Charts Intro Image

Our goal is to allow each quarter to appear, one at a time.

Animated Charts Textbox 1


To see the finished PowerPoint presentation files, download AnimatedCharts-Presentation.pptx.

  1. Copy and paste charts onto slides.

Create a slide for each chart you’ll show. It might help to title your slides now, so you know what goes where. Then, copy the chart and paste it into the slide, choosing source formatting if you want to keep the formatting you used in Excel, or destination formatting if you want to match the PowerPoint theme you selected. Here you will also decide if you want to embed or link the chart. Pasting a picture is not an option for the type of animation we’re going to apply.

Animated Charts Step 1 Image

  1. Add entrance animation.

With your chart selected on the slide, on the Animations tab, choose the type of animation you want to apply to each series or category of your chart. In the sample we’ve provided, we’ve chosen a different type for each one, so you can see the effect. Remember, the point of animation here is to better communicate the data! So, keep it simple.

Animated Charts Textbox 2

  1. Modify the animation with effect options.

Click the down arrow on the Effect Options button, next to the Animation Gallery. Select either Series or Category. Now, reveal the Animation Pane, so we can make our final adjustment. Expand the animation steps by clicking on the double down-facing arrows and delete the first animation step. This will keep the chart background in place. Click the Play button at the top of the Animation Pane to see how it looks. Animate the elements in the order you will be explaining them.

Animated Charts Step 3 Image

  1. Repeat 1-3 for each chart.

Finishing Touches

You can stop here, if you like. Or, you can create a link back to these animations right in your Excel workbook! Save each chart slide as its own presentation. You’ll see these in the sample files as AnimatedCharts-Presentation-Chart1 through AnimatedCharts-Presentation-Chart4. On a new worksheet you will insert an Object using the Create from File option and selecting a chart. Choose a new location on the worksheet for each one.. To keep everything tied together, choose the Paste Link option. Type the instructions at the top, so the viewer knows how to open the chart in its animated version. You’ll see this in the Dashboard worksheet

Download AnimatedCharts-Presentation-Chart1.pptx

Download AnimatedCharts-Presentation-Chart2.pptx

Download AnimatedCharts-Presentation-Chart3.pptx

Download AnimatedCharts-Presentation-Chart4.pptx

Animated Charts FT Image 2

Animated Charts FT Image 1