Insert a Timer on a PowerPoint Slide

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated September 13, 2020

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can insert a countdown timer in PowerPoint in several ways. In this article, we’ll review the steps to create 3 types of timers in PowerPoint using shapes and animations.

In order to create timers in PowerPoint, insert one or more objects and apply animation to the objects using the Animations tab in the Ribbon. Although you can create countdown timers using images, it’s more common to draw shapes (such as rectangles and circles) and use them in timers. You can also create text boxes to use in timers.

Note: Buttons and Ribbon tabs may display in a different way (with or without text) depending on your version of PowerPoint, the size of your screen and your Control Panel settings. For PowerPoint 365 users, Ribbon tabs may appear with different names. For example, the Picture Tools Format tab may appear as Picture Format and the Drawing Tools Format tab may appear as Drawing Format or Shape Format.

To create timers, you’ll need to use the Animations tab in the Ribbon to apply animation, change durations and change start settings. You can also use the Animation Pane to modify animation settings for objects on a slide.

Recommended article: How to Add Animation to Images, Text and Other Objects in PowerPoint

The Animations tab appears as follows when an object is selected:

Animations tab in the Ribbon in PowerPoint.

The expanded Animations Gallery appears when you click the More down arrow:

Animations Gallery in PowerPoint with entrance and exit animations to use with countdown timers.

Displaying the Animation Pane

After you have applied an animation setting to an object, it will appear in the Animation Pane. You can select animated items in the Animation Pane and change effects.

To display the Animation Pane:

  1. Click the Animations tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Animation Pane in the Advanced Animations group.

Below is the Animation Pane:

Animation Pane in PowerPoint.

Creating a wheel countdown timer

One of the simplest timers to create is a wheel timer using a doughnut shape. You can then assign an animation that starts on click, after previous or on click of the object.

To create a wheel timer on a PowerPoint slide that starts on click:

  1. In Normal View, display the slide on which you want to insert a timer.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Shapes in the Illustrations group. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click the donut shape.
  5. Position the pointer on the slide, hold down Shift and drag to create a circular donut.
  6. Release the mouse and then release Shift (holding down Shift creates a perfect circular donut).
  7. Select the shape.
  8. Click the Drawing Tools Format tab or Shape Tools Format tab in the Ribbon.
  9. Select the desired Shape Fill color and Shape Outline color in the Shape Styles group.
  10. With the shape selected, click the Animations tab.
  11. Click the More down arrow on the bottom right of the Animations gallery. A drop-down menu appears.
  12. Click Wheel in the Exit group.
  13. On the Animations tab, change the Duration in the Timing group. For example, if you want the timer to run for 30 seconds, change it to 30:00.
  14. On the Animations tab, change the start setting if required. By default, the animation will start on click.
  15. Run the slide show by clicking Slide Show on the bottom right of the screen.
  16. If the animation is set to start on click, click on the screen and the timer will run.
  17. Press ESC to exit the slide show.

You can also use a circle for a wheel timer and change its weight or line settings to display a dashed or dotted circle.

Creating a bar countdown timer (or progress bar)

Another easy timer to create is a bar timer. Simply create a rectangle and assign a wipe animation that starts on click.

To create a bar timer on a PowerPoint slide that starts on click:

  1. In Normal View, display the slide on which you want to insert a timer.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Shapes in the Illustrations group. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click the rectangle or rounded rectangle shape.
  5. Position the pointer on the slide and drag to create a rectangle.
  6. Release the mouse.
  7. Select the shape.
  8. Click the Drawing Tools Format tab or Shape Tools Format tab in the Ribbon.
  9. Select the desired Shape Fill color and Shape Outline color in the Shape Styles group.
  10. With the shape selected, click the Animations tab.
  11. Click the More down arrow on the bottom right of the Animations gallery. A drop-down menu appears.
  12. Click Wipe in the Exit group.
  13. On the Animations tab, click Effect Options and then select From Left from the drop-down menu.
  14. On the Animations tab, change the Duration in the Timing group. For example, if you want the timer to run for 30 seconds, change it to 30:00.
  15. On the Animations tab, change the start setting if required. By default, the animation will start on click.
  16. Run the slide show by clicking Slide Show on the bottom right of the screen.
  17. If the animation is set to start on click, click on the screen and the timer will run.
  18. Press ESC to exit the slide show.

Creating a number countdown timer

If you want to create a number countdown timer, you will can create several shapes with numbers and then set them to disappear after a specific duration (for example, after 1 second). The shapes may be a rectangle, circle, triangle, diamond or even a callout.

To create a number countdown timer (in this case for 10 seconds with a countdown by second):

  1. In Normal View, display the slide on which you want to insert a timer.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Shapes in the Illustrations group. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click a shape. In this case, select the rectangle.
  5. Position the pointer on the slide, hold down Shift and drag to create a rectangle.
  6. Release the mouse and then release Shift (holding down Shift creates a perfect square).
  7. Select the shape.
  8. Click the Drawing Tools Format tab or Shape Tools Format tab.
  9. Select the desired Shape Fill color and Shape Outline color in the Shape Styles group.
  10. With the shape selected, type a number (in this case, type 0). PowerPoint will attach the number fo the shape in a text box.
  11. With the shape selected, click the Home tab and select the desired font size in the Size drop-down menu. Apply other formatting as required.
  12. With the shape selected, press Ctrl + D to duplicate it.
  13. With the duplicate shape selected, drag over the 0 and type 1 to replace it..
  14. With the duplicate shape selected, click the Animations tab.
  15. Click the More down arrow on the bottom right of the Animations gallery. A drop-down menu appears.
  16. Click Disappear in the Exit group.
  17. On the Animations tab, change the Duration in the Timing group. To make the number disappear after 1 second, change it to 01:00.
  18. Select the shape and press Ctrl + D to duplicate it.
  19. Select the copy, highlight the number and change it to another number (in this case, type 2).
  20. Repeat the above process 8 times. You should end up with 11 squares with sequential numbers from from 0 to 10). The shapes are stacked with the shape containing 0 at the bottom of the stack of objects and each copy (except the bottom shape) has an animation setting.
  21. Click the Animations tab and click Animation Pane in the Advanced Animations group. The Animation Pane appears and each animated object will appear in the Animation Pane.
  22. Select all of the objects on the slide by Shift-clicking (except the top object containing 10 and the bottom object containing 0). You can also select the objects in the Animation Pane.
  23. On the Animations tab, select After Previous from the Start drop-down menu.
  24. Select all of the objects by Shift-clicking or dragging around them on the slide.
  25. Click the Drawing Tools Format tab or Shapes Tools Format tab.
  26. Click Align in the Arrange group. A drop-down menu appears.
  27. Select Align Center and then Align Middle. All objects should be stacked on top of each other. In this case, the bottom object contains 0 and the top object contains 10.
  28. Run the slide show by clicking Slide Show on the bottom right of the screen.
  29. Since the animation for the first object is set to start on click, click on the screen and the timer will run.
  30. Press ESC to exit the slide show.

The final result should be a timer that starts on click with each number disappearing after 1 second. The final number (0) should not disappear.

Setting longer timer durations

You can set longer durations if you set durations using the Animation Pane instead of the Ribbon.

To set longer durations using the Animation Pane:

  1. Right-click an animated item in the Animation Pane. A drop-down menu appears.
  2. Select Timing. A dialog box appears.
  3. Change the Duration (up to 10 minutes).
  4. Click OK.

The following durations can be used for longer timers:

  • 1 minute = 60 seconds
  • 2 minutes = 120 seconds
  • 5 minutes = 300 seconds
  • 10 minutes = 600 seconds

There are many other ways to create number countdown timers. For example, with a 10 minute timer, you could create 9 shapes that each disappear after 1 minute, then several other shapes that disappear after 10 seconds (such as 10 seconds in the final minute) and then the final shapes could disappear after 1 second.

It’s also common to combine timers. For example, you could create a wheel timer and a number timer inside the wheel.

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Summary
How to Insert a Countdown Timer in PowerPoint
Article Name
How to Insert a Countdown Timer in PowerPoint
Description
You can insert a countdown timer in PowerPoint in several ways. In this article, we’ll review the steps to create 3 types of timers in PowerPoint using shapes and animations.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning

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