How to Add a Blinking Star to a PowerPoint Slide

To add a little fun to a Microsoft PowerPoint slide, combine some star animations to create a blinking star.

Image: monticello/Shutterstock

You’ve probably seen the chewing gum commercial in which the teeth are so shiny they make stars flash when the person smiles. It’s a fun effect, and you create it in Microsoft PowerPoint using some timed animations with a star shape. Once you’ve added a star, you may want to add more, although one is certainly enough. More stars only add to the fun. In this article, I’ll show you how to add a star that hangs around for a second or two and then disappears. In a future article, I’ll show you how to add multiple flashing stars.

SEE: Office 365: A guide for technology and business leaders (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

I am using Microsoft 365 on a Windows 10 64 bit system. I recommend that you hold off on upgrading to Windows 11 until all issues are resolved. For your convenience, you can download the .pptx and .ppt demo files. This article is not appropriate for the web.

Gather the pieces

To avoid copyright infringement, we’ll use an illustration of the Microsoft 365 Image option. Next, we’ll insert a four-pointed star. That’s all you’ll need. Using Figure A for reference, download this toothy unicorn in a blank slide:

  1. Click the Insert tab, click Images in the Images group, and choose Stock Images from the drop-down list.
  2. In the resulting dialog box, click Stickers in the menu, then enter the search term, smile.
  3. Click the unicorn (Figure B), then click Insert to insert the sticker into the blank slide.
  4. The background is dark blue so you can see the star animations more easily. You don’t need to take these, but if you want, right-click on the slide background and choose Format Background. In the Format Background pane, choose a dark contrasting color from the Color drop-down list.

Figure A

Insert the unicorn illustration and a star shape.
Insert the unicorn illustration and a star shape.

Figure B

Gee unicorn, you have really big teeth!
Gee unicorn, you have really big teeth!

Next, insert the four-pointed star as follows:

  1. On the Insert tab, click Shapes in the Illustrations group.
  2. In the Stars and Banners section, click on the four-pointed star.
  3. Click inside the slide and drag to resize. Drag to position the star partially over the teeth (Figure A). Use the rotation handle to turn the star a bit left or right to give it some character.
  4. With the star selected, click the Format Shape contextual tab.
  5. From the Shape Fill drop-down list (in the Shape Styles group), choose White.
  6. From the Shape Outline drop-down list, choose a bright orange that looks a bit like gold.
  7. With a dark background, you don’t need the outline – you can try both ways and see which one you prefer. From the Shape Outline drop-down list, choose Weight, then 2 ¼ pt (Figure C).

Figure C

Format the star.
Format the star.

Once you have both pieces in order, you can add the animations. We will add three timed animations to the star.

How to animate the star in your PowerPoint slide

We want the star to appear, appear to grow and change color a bit, and then disappear with a bit of a glow. This can be supplemented with three timed animations, all at the star. Animation timings control when and how the three animations appear and disappear.

To add the first animation, the one that displays the star, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Animations tab and choose Appear in Animation Gallery from the Animation group. You may need to click on the More button and choose it from the Input section.
  2. In the Timing group, choose With Previous from the Start drop-down list. Enter .50 as the Duration parameter. Enter 00 as a Delay parameter.

These settings set a one second delay from when you show the slide before the star appears. Also, PowerPoint takes almost a full second to display the full star. This part of the animation is flexible as you can change the timing to suit your dialogue. You can increase the delay or change With Previous to On Click to start the animation immediately.

The second animation shows a slight pulse and changes the color of the star. Let’s add this next:

  1. With the star still selected, click the Add Animation dropdown menu in Advanced Animation and choose Color Pulse from the Emphasis group.
  2. From the Effect Options drop-down list (in the Animation group), choose orange, again, the one that looks like gold. Now the star will vibrate a little between white and “gold”.
  3. In the Timing group, choose After Previous from the Start drop-down menu.
  4. Enter 50 as the Duration parameter.
  5. Enter 00 as a Delay parameter (if required).

This animation will start once the entrance effect (above) is finished. For nearly two seconds, the star will pulsate and change color between white and orange.

We have one last animation to add, the one that removes the star:

  1. With the star still selected, click the Add Animation option and choose Shrink and Rotate in the Exit section.
  2. In the Timing group, choose After Previous from the Start drop-down menu.
  3. Enter .50 as parameter Duration and 00 as a Delay parameter, if necessary.

Although you cannot see the full effect of the three animations in a fixed figure, Figure D shows some stills so you can get an idea of ​​what you should see when you hit F5 to see the show.

Figure D

It takes three animations at the right time for the star to appear, shine a little and then disappear.
It takes three animations at the right time for the star to appear, shine a little and then disappear.

Most of the time the settings are slow, which I did on purpose so you can easily see all the transitions. When you apply this to your own slide, you can speed things up or slow them down, or you can even use a different star.

Stay tuned

This fun animation is simple and flexible. In a future article, I’ll show you how to add multiple randomly blinking stars.