I have a list of bullet points in my slide. In each row, I'd like to animate one word only, to give the word emphasis. But I see I can only animate a whole row.

Is there any way to animate a single word?

8 Answers 8


In Effect Options... (from right-clicking on an item in the Custom Animation panel), the Animate text drop-down box provides the options:

  1. All at once
  2. By word
  3. By letter

Edit: as noted in the comments, this only allows each word to appear after a fixed delay - not after clicking. Other solutions are:

  • Obscuring each word with a white (depending on the background colour) box, which disappears after clicking.
  • Using an individual text box for each word.
  • Make copies of the text box - one copy for each word. Set the text colour to white (or the background colour) for all words except one in each text box. Then animate the text boxes to appear in order. This ensures consistent text alignment and spacing, which may be difficult with the previous method.
  • 1
    Thank you, but that will animate all the words in that row. I want the animation only on ONE of the words
    – Lea Cohen
    Aug 15, 2011 at 19:43
  • 2
    Do you mean by clicking, rather than after a fixed delay? I don't think that's possible without messing around with multiple text boxes, or white (assuming the background is white) boxes that disappear on clicks.
    – sblair
    Aug 15, 2011 at 19:49
  • I'd prefer by clicking, but if it's easier to do it with a fixed delay, then I would be happy to hear about it.
    – Lea Cohen
    Aug 15, 2011 at 19:54
  • @Lea If the entrance effect is set to Appear, then there should be a configurable seconds delay between words in Effect Options.
    – sblair
    Aug 15, 2011 at 19:59

I used to get around this by duplicating the word as its own text box and animating that. Not fun.


As far as I know, Powerpoint only lets you animate entire text objects, not individual words inside them. Like Chris Nava, you can work around this limitation by creating a separate text box for the word you wish to animate.

I've set up a macro that takes each word in a text box, creates separate shapes for them, lines them up and groups them.

Here's the code: http://snipplr.com/view/57858/powerpoint--split-text/ I'll try to improve it when I can.

To use it:

  1. Select the text shape that contains the word you want to animate.
  2. Run the macro.

Before: enter image description here

After: enter image description here

After Ungrouping (Ctrl+Shift+G): enter image description here

Once they're ungrouped, you can select a word and apply custom animations to it.

  • Wow, good for you! It looks great, just a little overkill for my needs, but really appreciate the effort!
    – Lea Cohen
    Aug 16, 2011 at 19:49
  • 1
    I work with ppt slides a lot. I figured I'd run into a request like this from my boss someday. :D
    – Ellesa
    Aug 16, 2011 at 20:16

I've just found a way to do this:

  1. Type the words so that they are in different paragraphs - if you only want to animate the one word then you'll need three paragraphs with the one word isolated from the rest
  2. Line up the words, using spaces, as if they were on a single line

    eg Line up the words,

                      using spaces,
                                    as if they were on a single line 
  3. Apply the animation (eg FONT COLOR) to the word(s) you want to animate

  4. Finally, select all the paragraphs and set the paragraph SPACING as EXACTLY 0pt
  • very clever and exactly to the point...... still a workaround, but a pretty quick one. Just have to undo and redo the paragraph spacing to change the text at all. For me I think that's more convenient than multiple text boxes, but I haven't tested that a ton :)
    – Mike M
    Aug 15, 2017 at 8:30
  • I dont think this workaround addresses the question, as it's still the entire paragraph that gets animated, including the empty spaces inserted, so with an underline animation, it still looks like the entire row is underlined
    – z8080
    Sep 30, 2021 at 14:16

I used to duplicate whole slides, e.g. the first slide with the missing word (I usually put spaces or a line there), while the second slide already included the word. You end up having a whole bunch of slides but it's pretty fast. I'm pretty sure there are better methods tho.


Depending upon the emphasis desired, you can accomplish certain effects by inserting shapes. For example, if you wish to underline a word for emphasis, insert a line shape underneath the word and then set an animation for the line. Then, when you click or otherwise cue the line, it will appear and underline the word for emphasis. You can adjust line color, weight, and have more control of how it appears (such as swiped in, simply appearing, fading in, etc.). Still not as great as a single-word emphasis feature would be, but it's probably better than duplicating so many slides or text boxes. Hope this helps!


Here is a solution that is relatively easy to achieve the animation of changing the text colour of a single word or words in a sentence while leaving the rest of the text as it was. Copy the entire text block and paste it back onto the page. Change the colours of the text in the new copy of the text block Make sure it's on the top layer Position it so that it covers the bottom layer of text perfectly. Now apply an animation to the new text layer, Appear or fade in, Now when you open the slide the standard text eg black appears. Click on the mouse and the new layer with the individual words that have the different colours will appear and cover the other black text up. If you want a number of colours to appear on different words in the same sentence at different times, you will need to use more than two layers and click them all in until you have the desired text effect/animation

  • Welcome to Super User.  This seems to be just a repeat of ideas that have already been presented in other answers.  In fact, this seems to repeat ideas that were presented in just about every other answer.  Please strive to make answers contribute substantive new aspects not found in any existing answers, including some explanation and context.  Please don’t post an answer unless you actually have something new to contribute. Jun 18, 2015 at 1:52
  • 1
    That's a bit harsh on a new user, with their first answer, don't you think? :-) I see, over a year later, that it was also his last answer. As they say on That Other Place, Please do not bite the newcomers.
    – tkp
    Nov 19, 2016 at 16:07

If you're fine with basic animation, just make multiple copies of the slide. In each second one, bold/highlight/underline/ect the word you want to emphasize. The effect is the same. One click and the word will emphasize.

  • This appears to be just a repeat of previous answers, virtually identical to Sjuzi's answer. Each answer should contribute something substantive new.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 21, 2015 at 19:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .