How to create interactive maps and images in PowerPoint

Categories: April 8, 2019 eLearning

Ever wondered how to create interactive maps, images and diagrams in your PowerPoint presentations?

This tutorial takes you through the process of creating an image with interactive hot spots that can be clicked to trigger the revealing (or hiding) of additional information.

It’s a great way to make your content more engaging; fantastic for educational resources and eLearning.  It also can be used to avoid an information overload on a slide.

In the written example below, clicking each item of fruit will reveal or hide it’s name, but the concept can easily be applied to maps or other images (see video).

1 – Create the shapes that you wish to hide and show when triggered

information shape to be triggered

Before you worry about configuring the animation triggers, it’s a good idea to have all of your information shapes ready on the slide – and a background image if needed.

Create and format the information shapes that you wish to appear and disappear when a hot spots is clicked.

In this example, shapes containing the text “Apples”, “Oranges” and “Bananas” are going to appear and disappear when the corresponding fruit is clicked.

The information shapes can be as complex or simple as you like.

2 – Create hot spot shapes

The information shapes (our fruit names) will be triggered into appearing and disappearing when you click on an associated hot spot shape object.

A hot spot object is nothing special, in fact it’s just another ordinary PowerPoint shape.

To create these hot spots shapes, click Shapes from the Insert ribbon.

Choose and draw any shape that you wish to use as a hot spot (something the user will click on).

To create an unusual shape, e.g. to cover the oranges, use the Freeform shape tool.

Freeform hot spot shape

3 – Name your shapes

Depending on the number of hot spot shapes and information shapes you have, it could get a bit complicated when you need to animate them all later.

To make the process much easier, give all of your shapes sensible names, you’ll thank yourself later!

From the Home ribbon choose Select, then Selection Pane.

Selection Pane

Rename your shapes by double clicking on their generic name in the Selection Pane.

When you pick new names, make sure you can clearly identify which shapes you want to act as hot spots, and which shapes you want to be the additional information that appears.

4 – Open the Animation Pane

PPT animation pane

To keep track of all of your animations you need to work with the animations pane open.

From the Animations ribbon, click Animation Pane.

5 – Give your information shapes an entrance animation

From the Animations ribbon, give each of your information shapes an entrance style animation of your choice.

6 – Assign triggers to your animations

Triggers in PowerPoint

By default, all of your information shapes will animate when the user clicks anywhere on the slide.

We want to change this behavior, and we do this using triggers.

Clicking on one shape can become the trigger for another shape to animate.

So, we want our hot spot shapes to be the cause (trigger) for the information shapes to appear.

Click on one of your information shapes.

From the animation ribbon, choose Trigger, On Click of, then the name of the hot spot shape you wish to be the trigger.

PowerPoint triggers

Repeat this until each information shape has been assigned a trigger shape.

7 – Give your information shapes an exit animation

We need to give each information shape an exit animation.

Click on one of your information shapes.

From the animations ribbon, click Add Animation, then select an exit animation of your choice.

Note: You must use the Add Animation button to do this, any other method will replace an existing entrance animation – oops!

Repeat this until all the information shapes have an exit animation.

8 – Drag your exit animations under the correct triggers

Animation triggers in PPT

Next, you need to make sure that the exit animations fall under the correct triggers that you created earlier.

By default, they will just sit above all the triggers – they need to be moved!

In the Animation Pane, drag and drop the exit animations into place, under the right triggers (hot spots).

9 – Make your hot spot trigger shapes transparent

Note: you should test that your presentation and clickable shapes are working as expected before proceeding.

Optional step – you may want your hot spot shapes to be invisible and sit over a larger image, e.g. to divide the fruit bowl image into several clickable areas.

Paint Fill Shape Transparent

Click on one (or all) of your hot spot shapes.

From the Drawing Tools menu choose Format.

Click Shape Fill, then More Fill Colors.

Move the Transparency slider to 100%.

Make shape transparent

Finally you may also wish to remove any shape Outlines.

(Drawing Tools > Format > Shape Outline > No Outline)