To Click or Not to Click?

Written by Gabe Anderson — Posted in Articulate Presenter

on-click_animation_shad.jpg When you are designing your PowerPoint presentation to be published with Articulate Presenter, you will likely want to spice up your content with some animations. With each animation you will come to an important crossroads: To click or not to click? That is the question.

To be clear: We’re talking animations here, not slide navigation. So you’re dealing with a single slide.

Each time you insert or manage an animation, you’ll have the following three options:

  1. On Click

  2. With Previous
  3. After Previous

This refers to the behavior of the animation at hand and when it should execute. We recommend setting most animations to be On Click, unless you have a sequence of animations wherein each subsequent event should directly follow the previous.

The reason for this recommendation is to allow you more precise control over animation timings. When you record narration, Articulate Presenter will give you the ability simply to click when you want that next animation to appear. And remember, if you click too soon or too late during your recording, don’t worry; you can always go back and fine-tune the synchronization of your animation/audio timings (Articulate -> Edit Animation Timings). So why rush your script during recording to catch up with those pesky runaway “With Previous” automated animations? Narrate at your own pace.

Wouldn’t you prefer to be the boss of your animations and tell them when to execute? With so many animations from which to choose, you’ll want to keep a close eye on those little rascals.

68 responses to “To Click or Not to Click?”


When I publish presentations with animations, it seems to slow them down a great deal if I choose “with previous” or “after previous”. When I choose “on click”, where in the template builder do I enable it to occur?

Jeevans // Posted at 8:12 am on August 9th, 2007

Hi Jeevans- You can synchronize your on-click animations when you record your audio, or you can use Articulate -> Sync Animation Timings to synchronize with imported audio (or refine timings with existing audio).

gabe // Posted at 8:48 am on August 10th, 2007

this is not answering my question. is there anyone I can talk to?

angela boudreau // Posted at 10:57 am on August 22nd, 2007

Angela- You’re welcome to submit a support case if you need specific help.

gabe // Posted at 10:59 am on August 22nd, 2007

I am still not able to get my problem answered. When I open up my powerpoint presentatin in articulate, and then record it, it does not give me the “next animation option”. In fact, it only gives Record and Stop Record option. My text never comes in.
I’ve been trying to figure it out for several days, and even took the tutorial, and it is not working.


angela boudreau // Posted at 12:12 pm on August 23rd, 2007

Angela- Did you submit a support case? If you set your animations to be on-click, then you should see the “next animation” option.

gabe // Posted at 11:44 am on August 27th, 2007

Does articulate not convert any “emphasis” animations at all?

Julia Davis // Posted at 1:34 pm on June 6th, 2008

Hi Julia- We do support some of them. You can review the specifics here.

gabe // Posted at 2:44 pm on June 6th, 2008

I noticed that the “peek in” effect says it’s supported, but it really performs the “fly in” animation… Is this really the case or just a fluke with my system?

J Rogers // Posted at 9:45 am on June 9th, 2008

After developing a course using articulate im encountering a issue with a slide which has a center image and 8 text boxes with animations.. After publishing the course, the content in all the text boxes are getting overlaped into one text box. Could anybody suggest a solution to this problem.


Ramesh R Y // Posted at 6:23 am on July 16th, 2008

After developing a course using articulate I have an issue with a slide which has many text boxes with animations.. After publishing the course, the content in all the text boxes are getting overlaped into one text box. Could anybody suggest a solution to this problem.

Holli // Posted at 3:23 pm on September 5th, 2008

Hi Holli- I just submitted a case on your behalf.

gabe // Posted at 5:16 pm on September 5th, 2008


Can anyone tell me how to show all the animations first in a slide and then play the audio?

Eunbae // Posted at 6:28 pm on September 16th, 2008


I am having the problem with Version 9, where i sync animations and they are all on click then when I go to preview or publish the whole show is static except one slide. what is going on here? I have already submitted several cases to support and they reffed me here, hopefully you can help.

Alex // Posted at 10:26 am on October 14th, 2008

Hi Alex- If you’re sure they’re all set to on-click, the animations should work as expected in the playback.

I’d recommend uploading your PowerPoint file to us for review (copy and paste the full subject from your last case email from us in the upload form).

gabe // Posted at 12:47 pm on October 15th, 2008

Gabe, I have uploaded the project to support and am waiting to hear what they have to say. Thanks for the advice.


Alex // Posted at 12:57 pm on October 15th, 2008

I too am having problems since I upgraded to v9 last night. Some of my animations appear to be VERY slow. The scroll bar even appears to be moving slower. Anyone else having this problem?


Kim Stockwell // Posted at 3:52 pm on October 27th, 2008

I’m evaluating trial version of Articulate presenter 9 with microsoft 2007. I have a problem in sync audio : when I click on next animation it gives me “stop animation” so I can’t continue the synchronization.
someone can tell me what the problem is ?

Thanks !

Bouchra // Posted at 4:08 pm on November 13th, 2008

Hi there,
I am using 09 and am having a devil of a time figuring out how it all works… There should be some more information on this because seriously the frustration level really detracts from what is otherwise a fabulous product.. where can i find more training on this.. I don’t even know what I should or shouldn’t be seeing and in many cases there is confusion between what is in V5 and what is V ’09…

Nikki Ward // Posted at 11:38 pm on January 11th, 2009

I’m having a problem with on-click animation when trying to use them without any audio narration. The presentation doesn’t seem to recognize a mouse click. It continues on as if all animation was using “after previous”. Do the animations have to go hand in hand with an audio narration or can it include only animation. I’m only having an issue with the on-click effect starts.

Melissa Pelchar // Posted at 4:01 pm on March 2nd, 2009

Hi Melissa- Although the animations need to be on-click, after you publish with Articulate Presenter, the animations will play in sync with your narration, as you defined in Sync Animations (or in the Audio Editor).

It is not possible to have user-controlled animations with clicks within a slide, but you can do tricks like duplicating slides and create a hyperlink to another hidden slide to replicate the effect of clicking to initiate an animation on the next identical slide, so the end result is seamless to your users.

gabe // Posted at 11:14 am on March 3rd, 2009

I´m having a crazy problem with sync animations in many slides. When I sync the animations, the syncing is lost when I play to review. Normally only one of the animations appear in some wrong place in the slide and all the others go to the end (togheter) I’ve tried Audio Editor, but most of the time syncing is lost in the same way. It worked normally before the last update. Should I downgrade to update 3? I’m using only those animations not forbidden (few).

Eli P. Alves // Posted at 9:22 pm on March 27th, 2009

Hi Eli- I’d suggest submitting a case so that we can help you in more detail.

gabe // Posted at 8:22 am on March 30th, 2009

Thanks Gabe! The problem was solved. I’ve tried to copy/paste some slides repeated in a branching. The slides were already prepared in Articulate. The operation has seemed to work, but the sync problem appear some slides later and was related to this “copy/paste” operation. So I deleted the ppta file, and started the Articulate work from the begining, and everything became OK.

Eli P. Alves // Posted at 4:20 pm on April 1st, 2009

Glad to hear it, Eli! Thanks for letting us know.

gabe // Posted at 7:45 am on April 2nd, 2009

Hi, I am currently putting together an Articulate course in 09 and I am having trouble syncing my text box animations to an FLV that I have in my slide. I have synced the animations using the audio editor to put them at the correct point, and they work fine when I preview the slide(s), but after I publish all the animations run very slow and out of sync.

I have also tried placing my animations in the “advanced timeline” in the custom animations window as well as the “sync animations” option in under the Articulate tab, but still get the same result.

This does not happen with straight audio files I have in other slides. I have looked around for solutions to this problem, but have come up empty. Any help would be much appreciated.


Patrick // Posted at 6:14 pm on April 7th, 2009

Hi Patrick- Have you seen this blog entry? Does that help at all? Also, have you changed your FPS setting?

If you continue to have difficulty, I’d suggest submitting a case so that we can help you more closely.

gabe // Posted at 7:55 am on April 8th, 2009

Hi, I’m having the same problem than Eli P. Alves:

“when I sync the animations, the syncing is lost when I play to review. Normally only one of the animations appear in some wrong place in the slide and all the others go to the end (togheter)”

It happens only in some slides and I want to know if there is a way to prevent it…

I’m using the articulate 09 V6 1.903.321 Pro


Virginia Arenas // Posted at 2:43 pm on July 17th, 2009

Hi Virginia- Sorry for the difficulty. I’d suggest submitting a case so that we can help you in more detail.

gabe // Posted at 5:41 pm on July 17th, 2009

I’m have trouble with my animations. I have them all set to Click on, but the text boxes all over lap with each animation. It’s so frustrating! Please advise!!!

Jennifer // Posted at 3:41 pm on September 21st, 2009

Hi Jennifer- could you please submit a case so that we can help you in more detail?

gabe // Posted at 6:36 pm on September 21st, 2009

I’ve tried building on click animations (i.e. on the same slide, clicking a specific object, and having something text on the same slide pop up) in powerpoint and publishing them on presenter. My on click animations worked in my powerpoint, but when previewing or publishing them in presenter it doesn’t work.

I’m unsure as to why this doesn’t work when you specifically say in your blog that on-click animations do work. In addition, on your comment on the 6th of June 2008, you posted a link to the Powerpoint supported animations in Presenter, and it specifically says there on the bottom of the page that Animations using a trigger “Start effect on click of…” does not work.

Could you clarify this inconsistency please?

Jun // Posted at 12:04 am on November 13th, 2009

Hi Jun- on-click animations and triggers are different. Also, Presenter ’09 supports animation triggers as part of a sequence, as outlined here.

You’ll want to make sure your animations are on-click. If that’s not working for you, please submit details to our support team for review.

gabe // Posted at 9:21 am on November 13th, 2009

Help! I have a presentation due to a client tomorrow at 8:00 AM and when I click on next animation it gives me “ stop animation” even though there are several more animations to be synched… The presentation doesn’t seem to recognize a mouse click in ppt. I’ve done many Articulate/PPT presentations, and this has never happened before. Can anyone help?!

Monica // Posted at 9:02 pm on January 21st, 2010

Hi Monica- are your animations on-click animations? Also, if you’re still having difficulty, please submit details as a support case (for future reference, we offer 24×7 email support, so that’s always the fastest way to get help).

gabe // Posted at 10:08 am on January 22nd, 2010

OK. So I have to thank Gabe because you just created a ROCK STAR day for me. I have been struggling with creating an animation that learners deploy….a “Click here to see locations”…but thank you …thank you.. for the trick of duplicating slides and creating a hyperlink to another hidden slide. Simple…right in front of my eyes….and you showed me the way! HAPPY FRIDAY!!

Carrie Hunsley // Posted at 11:10 am on March 5th, 2010

That’s great, Carrie! Glad to hear it. :)

gabe // Posted at 11:14 am on March 5th, 2010

I have read through this entire forum, and it has been extremely helpful. However, I am not finding something specific that I am looking for…or apparently, having a problem with.

I understand that you cannot create “On-Click” triggers in Presenter09. And I understand that creating a hidden slide giving the effect of staying on the same slide. I am doing this, but when I publish, it skips to the next Unhidden slide. It works fine when in PP. But once published or previewed, it does not work. Am I doing something wrong here? Does it have to be done in Engage only? Thanks for you prompt follow up.

Steve Fab // Posted at 9:36 am on March 25th, 2010


I had the same problem. The below post has additional information…(I copied the section regarding hidden slides below). Unhide your slide and it should work. Take the slide out of the TOC if you don’t want the learner to get to the slide unless they clik on the trigger.

Slides you have hidden in PowerPoint will not display in your published output. Any hyperlinks you create that go to a hidden slide, therefore, will not work.

Good luck!

Carrie Hunsley // Posted at 10:01 am on March 26th, 2010

I have have been working in the Audio editor and all of my builds (animations) are set to the on click property, however when I go into the audio editor and try to move the animations some of them disappear when I click on them. Why are they disappearing? I need to move them, but they disappear.

John Bailey // Posted at 4:56 pm on June 15th, 2010

Hi John,

I apologize for the issues that you’re having.

Would you mind submitting a support case to us so that we can take a closer look at the issue?

Brian Batt // Posted at 3:17 pm on June 18th, 2010

I did submit a support case and was refered to this blog.

John Bailey // Posted at 12:08 pm on June 23rd, 2010


I had a PPT with audios imported and synchronized using Articulate 5.0. This creates an ae.ini file (audio synchronization details ) in the narration folder. On opening the same PPT with Articulate 9.0, the imported audios vanish !!! The synchronization gone !!!

Any solution is greatly appreciated.


Hemaraj // Posted at 3:54 am on July 9th, 2010


If you are working in Presenter ‘09 and notice your audio disappears, please review the following article which outlines possible solutions for you:

If the steps outlined do not resolve your issue, please create an Articulate Presenter package, then upload the zip file to our server. You can review how to do this here:

Upload the resulting zip file from your computer to our server using this upload form:

Once we receive the file, we’ll review it and see if we can correct the issue.

Brian Batt // Posted at 3:50 pm on July 12th, 2010


I am having the same problems with animations/sync issues. They are correct in PowerPoint, they are correct when I preview them when syncing. However, when they publish, they call all crazy. I’m using the “hands” with motion paths to “push” information onto the page. The timing and even the motion paths themselves are not publishing correctly. I see so many posts about this issue, but no resolution. The only thing that is said is to submit a case. I have also had audio disappear as well. I will look to the article that is reference above regarding solutions. I can certainly zip the file and upload it to your server for you to take a look and provide suggestions to correc the issue. Is the upload all part of the process when submitting a case? Thank you.

Kelly // Posted at 3:28 pm on January 12th, 2011

Hi Kelly,

I would suggest you submit a case by following the steps below.

Please create an Articulate Presenter package, then upload the zip file to our server. You can review how to do this here:

Upload the resulting zip file from your computer to our server using this upload form:

Please be sure to include your version of PowerPoint, version of Windows and version of Presenter ’09 which you can find in Help and Support -> About Articulate Presenter.

Brian Batt // Posted at 5:29 pm on January 12th, 2011

All of the comments about this situation appear to be happening to far too many people for this product and I am very disappointed. If I am able to correct the non-functioning animation or get an answer from these people instead of just referring me to more bla bla bla forums, I’ll come back to post here with the solution; my situation is the click to start an animation is NOT functioning regardless of settings; the animations do NOT occur when you click the mouse.

Terry Cabak // Posted at 11:23 am on April 1st, 2011

Hi Terry- Articulate Presenter is not designed to work with click-to-start animations. The point of this blog entry is that you must use on-click animations in order for Articulate Presenter to recognize them for synchronization with audio. You cannot click in the published output to initiate an animation – you use an on-click animation to synchronize with your voice.

You can use some of the techniques in this tutorial on branching to simulate initiating an animation by clicking a hyperlink to a new slide. Basically, you want to duplicate and hyperlink your slides, as described in this screencast.

gabe // Posted at 12:05 pm on April 1st, 2011

Ok thanks for the replies.

1. “Onclick animation” appears to be a mis-nomer: it is not “a click; all you’re doing in the Sync function is setting time when the animation will occur; it is a TIMING; so all that Sync is doing to creating a timing which is just like what PowerPoint does already.

2. Articulate does not replicate the clicks for animations to start, in a final output.

With this in mind, what will have to happen is one must create a hyperlink to an Articulate module outside PowerPoint, meaning one must still use PowerPoint presented by a speaker in front of a class in order to get click-activated features to show up on demand by the teacher.

3. What this means is that the feature of embedding Articulate items inside the same PowerPoint file and outputting to a web interface format is no longer attractive because one must still present the PPT file in front of the class to get click-activated animations.

4. I do believe however, that Adobe Captivate does maintain these on-demand-clicks in its final output to Flash/swf files though I don’t actually remember if that’s true.

Terry Cabak // Posted at 1:41 pm on April 1st, 2011

Hi Terry- thanks for the feedback. It might be confusing because on-click animations are a PowerPoint concept. As noted in one of our tutorials:

For Presenter to recognize the animations during the syncing process, your animations need to be set to start “On Click.” This doesn’t mean that your users will need to click something in order for the animations to start. “On Click” is just a setting in PowerPoint that enables Presenter to recognize your animations when you use the syncing tool.

Here’s a blog entry that may help, too.

gabe // Posted at 5:17 pm on April 1st, 2011

I am in a different situation to most others, as I have a huge number of slides, with timed animation already available on each slide. For me this works best, as it’s precise and needs minimum effort when it comes to publishing. Trouble is, to start the animation off each slide is set to “on click”. This means that the first bullet point on each slide takes 7 seconds to kick into action, and there isn’t a way to change this default timing other than syncing animations.

If others are having the same problem, I have found that selecting the “After Previous” option, with a delay of my choosing works best.

Ben Hutchinson // Posted at 11:37 am on April 5th, 2011

Hi Ben,

If your first animation is set to on-click, you can change the default amount of time that passes before the on mouse click animation starts. This can be done by going into Presentation Options, selecting the Publish tab and changing the following setting:

“On mouse click animations without set timings display after X seconds”

You can change the number to 0 if needed.

Brian Batt // Posted at 12:11 pm on April 5th, 2011

I am working on a presentation. I have one slide with 48 on-click animations. When I go into Audio Editor, only 43 of the clicks show up for syncing with the audio. I’ve tried to re-do it three times – have deleted and re-imported the audio, and even changed around the animations. In the custom animation box it shows 48 clicks, but only 43 are ‘available’ in audio editor.

Is there a maximum number of clicks per slide, and have I gone past it? I had another slide with 44 on-clicks and it worked fine.

Anyone know?

Laura Davies // Posted at 11:01 am on April 18th, 2011

Hi Laura,

It’s possible that there is something corrupt in that slide that is causing the issue. Would you mind submitting a support case to us so that we can take a closer look into the issue?

Brian Batt // Posted at 5:22 pm on April 18th, 2011

Hi – I’m using ’09 and I created a slide with about 8 on-click animations. Everything works fine in Powerpoint. I did the Sync animations (although I don’t have any audio). But, when I publish the animations become insanely slow. Is there some setting I’m missing?

Bill McNamara // Posted at 8:26 pm on April 20th, 2011

Hi Bill,

First, you’ll want to make sure that your frames per second is set to 30:

If you still have issues, please submit a support case to us by using the link below:

Brian Batt // Posted at 11:20 am on April 21st, 2011


I’ve set animation timings in my presentation and it works well. In PowerPoint, even when you set animation on a slide, you can fast-forward (skip through the animation) by mouse-clicking to speed up the slide show. When I publish these slides to Articulate, end users have the option of skipping on to the next slide, or clicking on the time slider to advance to a later stage on the slide, but I can’t find an option for skipping to the next animation. Is this possible, or must all timings be set by the author?

Ben Hutchinson // Posted at 11:35 am on May 19th, 2011

Hi Ben- right, it’s not possible for users to advance on-click animations within a slide in Articulate Presenter. See this comment by me from April 1, 2011 for further explanation and a link to an alternate approach to doing that.

gabe // Posted at 2:09 pm on May 19th, 2011

I am having an issue with syncing animations. While my animations work perfectly under Syn Animation, they become either too slow or too fast when in preview or publish mode. I am a seasoned Articulate Suite ’09 user. I have done this routine a thousand times. I have tried everything. I have never had this issue. The only variable I can think of is Windows 7. I just moved from XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional when I got a new laptop. Does anyone have any idea what’s going on? I hope it is not an OS issue since my team will be moving to Windows 7 in the near future.

Ladd Skelly // Posted at 3:21 pm on October 20th, 2011

Hi Ladd,

I apologize for the issues that you’re having. Can you replicate the issue with a completely new presentation? If not, then the issue that you’re experiencing could be presentation-specific. Thus, you can try the solution in the link below:

If you continue to have problems, please submit a support case to us by using the link below:

Brian Batt // Posted at 9:10 am on October 21st, 2011

I am having problems with my animations as well, and it does not happen all the time — it seems to be random. I have animations that I set up with a mouse click in PowerPoint. I go to sync the animations with my audio and everything works great. Once I publish the animations no longer work. Typically, it occurs when I have a box with text in it. I set up each of the bullets to come in on a mouse click. Again they work fine when previewing in the sync animations, but once published the textbox comes in with all of the text together as if there was only one mouse click. Again, this is random…some work…and sometimes they don’t. Can anybody help with this.

Linda // Posted at 5:30 pm on October 31st, 2011

Is there a tutorial for this?

“It is not possible to have user-controlled animations with clicks within a slide, but you can do tricks like duplicating slides and create a hyperlink to another hidden slide to replicate the effect of clicking to initiate an animation on the next identical slide, so the end result is seamless to your users.”

I too have been referred here because of an issue with animation timings going out of sync (which seems to be a persitant problem for a lot of people) and your answer of sync it to your audio is too simple. What if you’re not using audio on the slide?

James // Posted at 9:03 pm on December 28th, 2011

Has anyone else noticed that if your annimations are out of sync when previewed/published and you change them around, the next time you preview or publish it is different annimations that are out of sync and not necessarily the same annimation type?

James // Posted at 9:06 pm on December 28th, 2011

Hi James,

Here’s the tutorial:

Also, your animations shouldn’t be out of sync like that. If you’re still experiencing issues, please submit a support case to us here:

Brian Batt // Posted at 10:08 am on January 12th, 2012

The only problem I can see with the workaround to simulate on-click functionality by duplicating the same slide and Hyperlnking to different states of the build is, suddenly in your Outline view you get lots of slides with the same name thereby compromising the user navigation experience. Is there any way to hide the multiple copy slide titles in the list?

Jeremy Miles // Posted at 9:47 am on March 1st, 2012

@Jeremy: Yes, in Articulate -> Slide Properties, you can right-click on any slide and select the option to hide in navigation. Check out the tutorial on the topic here.

gabe // Posted at 10:29 am on March 1st, 2012

Thanks for the help everyone. I sent a copy to support and they were able to identify the issue. When the text box/shape has a reflection effect, than the animations do not work once they are published. I removed the effect and everything worked fine.

Linda // Posted at 11:31 am on March 1st, 2012

I have a PPT file where I use clicks to display and uncover images containing text. When I tested the presentation in Articulate Presenter, none of the my click options worked, everything displayed immediately.

Please advise

I am tempted to see if it works in Storyline at home.

Thank you

Scott A Muth // Posted at 4:09 pm on November 7th, 2013

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