How to Make an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation: An Expert Guide (Free Downloadable Playbook)

Zhun Yee Chew

Zhun Yee Chew

How to Make an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation: An Expert Guide (Free Downloadable Playbook)

Are your PowerPoint presentations lacking impact and failing to engage your audience? You’re not alone. I experienced that before. I used to spend hours carefully crafting the perfect PowerPoint presentations only to be met with disinterested faces.

In a world where attention spans are getting shorter, traditional PowerPoint presentations often struggle to hold the interest of the audience. So here’s the hard truth: unless you adapt and embrace interactivity in your PowerPoint presentations, your valuable hard work and content run the risk of getting lost in presentations.

Fret not, as in this comprehensive guide, we will share with you expert tips on how to make an interactive PowerPoint presentation through interactive animations, transitions, hyperlinks, quizzes, games, and many more.

And perhaps the sweetest part of the deal is that you will also have access to a downloadable playbook of 60+ pages with a wealth of tutorials, templates, cheat sheets, resources and tools to elevate your PowerPoint skills from average to extraordinary through interactive PowerPoint presentations.

Are you prepared to impress those who once found your presentation dull? If your answer is a resounding ‘yes,’ then let’s begin.

What is an Interactive Presentation?

What is an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation?

Interactive PowerPoint presentations are simply PowerPoint presentations that are made interactive to convey information in a more dynamic and engaging manner.

Creating an interactive PowerPoint presentation involves deciding if you want to make your slide content interactive or if you want your audience to interact with your slides. 

Interactive PowerPoint presentations can generally be divided into two main dimensions: interaction with slide content through interactive elements and fostering interaction with the audience.

Two Types of Interactive PowerPoint Presentations

Interaction with Slide Content:

In the first dimension, PowerPoint presentations are made interactive through enhancing the slides content with interactive elements, usually native to PowerPoint. 

We will cover interactive elements including:

  • Animations
  • Transitions
  • Hyperlinks
  • Interactive data visualization
  • Annotations. 

They function to enhance slide interactivity through adding movement to static objects, enabling non-linear slides navigation, as well as adding a dynamic touch to data and information presentation. 

Audience Interaction:

In the second dimension, PowerPoint presentations are made interactive through interaction between the presenter and the audience, usually with the help of PowerPoint add-in tools. We will cover: 

  • Quizzes
  • Assessments
  • Brainstorming
  • Collaborative multimedia uploading
  • Polls
  • Games

Once you have decided which strategy you would like to use, you can then follow these step-by-step guide and the following expert tips to turn your PowerPoint slides into an interactive experience!

Benefits of an Interactive Presentation

The fact that you are still reading this suggests that you don’t need further convincing on the benefits of interactive PowerPoint presentations. 

However, if you do, here are some quick statistics:

68% of individuals hold the belief that interactive presentations have a greater potential for being remembered.

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This means that a simple action of making your PowerPoint slides interactive has a profound impact on how your presentation is received by the audience. From our years of experience creating interactive PowerPoint presentations, they generally: 

  • Increases engagement, motivation and knowledge retention
  • Result in better impression and more impactful messaging being conveyed.
  • Allow presenters to better tailor their content or offerings to the audience or clients because they can gather real-time feedback.
  • Open up room for creative storytelling and showcases.

Expert Tips on How to Make an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation – Before Presenting

1. Add Animations, But Use Them Judiciously

The first and most straightforward way of making your PowerPoint presentations interactive is through adding animations to your slides. However, so many people use PowerPoint animations the wrong way. PowerPoint animations are more than just making bullet points or images appear or fly in during your presentation.

Remember, using animations excessively in your PowerPoint presentation will only reduce the appeal and professionalism of your slides. The key is to use them judiciously and purposefully. Before you hit the “Animations” tab, ask yourself, “Does this animation enhance the message I want to convey to my audience?”  

Motion Path PowerPoint animation
For more inspiration and how to, here are 8 Quick & Easy PowerPoint Animations to try, and here are different Animations you can implement to add a Timer to your PowerPoint. 

2. Add 3D PowerPoint Animations Using PowerPoint Native 3D Stock Elements

Did you know that PowerPoint has free animated 3D elements you can use? We recommend you to try them up to instantly upgrade your presentation from ordinary to extraordinary. 

PowerPoint 3D Animation

How? Simply go to Insert > 3D models > stock 3D models > animated models. And you will find a wide range of free 3D models ranging from food and animals to plants and characters, and many more. You can also select different animation scenes by heading to the Animations tab.

Pro Tip: There are a couple PowerPoint animations associated with these 3D models, which can be used to further enhance the original 3D animation effects, such as Arrive, Swing, Turntable and Jump Turn. Try them out to make your 3D models appear as if they are spinning or flipping in three dimensions! 

3. Add Animations With Triggers for Visual Excitement

You can take your PowerPoint animations up a notch by incorporating combining animations with triggers to create interactive pop-ups with extra information. These on-click pop-ups are valuable when presenting a map or when you want to explore specific aspects of an object or topic in more detail. You can also use these pop-ups as markers to alert the audience to exciting elements within different parts of the slide, as such: 

Interactive PowerPoint pop-up using triggers

❓How? To create on-click pop-ups in your PowerPoint slides, first add shapes that will become clickable buttons, one to “open” the pop-up and the other to “close” the pop-up. Then, add text boxes with extra information you want to show, as well as entrance and exit animations. Combine the animations with “triggers” to activate the animations when the open or close buttons are clicked on. 

For a more detailed tutorial on this pop-up animation, download our Interactive PowerPoint Playbook below. 👇

4. Add Non-Linear Slide Transition

A quick way to add interactivity to your PowerPoint slides is by using PowerPoint transitions. The first we want to discuss is PowerPoint Zoom. PowerPoint Zoom enables you to zoom in and out of and navigate to specific sections or slides on click, anytime during your presentation.

To access the PowerPoint Zoom feature: click on Insert in the PowerPoint ribbon > Zoom > then choose SlideSection, or Summary Zoom. Each of these PowerPoint Zoom option serves slightly different functions:

  • Slide Zoom: zooms into specific slides
  • Section zoom: zooms into specific sections
  • Summary Zoom: creates a summary slide for the different slides or sections in your PowerPoint presentation for easy navigation.
PowerPoint Slide Zoom

❓ How? To set up PowerPoint slide zoom, select the starting slide where you wish to implement the Zoom effect. Next, click Insert > Zoom > Slide Zoom. Here, you can pick the specific slide or slides you want to zoom in on. Click the Insert button, and thumbnails of the chosen slides will be added to your current slide.

To learn how to use PowerPoint Section Zoom and Summary Zoom, read this article for a complete tutorial of PowerPoint Zoom

Alternatively, for a more manual setup process, you can also set up a navigation menu at the beginning of your presentation that allows the audience to jump to different sections or slides using hyperlinks. Read more in the Hyperlinks section below. 

5. Add PowerPoint Morph

Like PowerPoint Zoom, PowerPoint Morph empowers presenters to create dynamic transitions that elevate the visual storytelling in their presentations. But PowerPoint Morph brings storytelling to a whole new level and adds a layer of intrigue to your slides by simulating object transitions or evolution across slides. It functions similarly to animations but offers a smoother and more organic visual experience, without the need for complex setup steps. 

Personally, we think the outcomes generated by PowerPoint Morph are more professional and polished-looking as compared to traditional animations. And if you are looking for a more advanced-looking presentation, try this 3D morph animation In PowerPoint.

Pro Tip: Pro tip: For more customizability and versatility, try ClassPoint’s Draggable Objects in replacement of PowerPoint morph to drag objects freely in slideshow mode. 

We’d also like to share with you the numerous applications of PowerPoint Morph contributed by our colleagues and PowerPoint professionals at ClassPoint:

Gain access to free templates for all these PowerPoint Morph applications and effects by downloading our Interactive PowerPoint Playbook. 👇

Much like PowerPoint Zoom, hyperlinks enable presenters to create interactive menus and navigation structures, allowing audiences to jump to specific slides or sections effortlessly. However, while PowerPoint Zoom primarily focuses on creating a visual and interactive overview of content within a single presentation, hyperlinks extend this capability to connect with external resources, web content, or even additional PowerPoint files. 

There are a few ways you could add hyperlinks to your PowerPoint presentation to transform  it into an interactive experience effortlessly: 

Ways to use PowerPoint hyperlinks

4 Ways You Can Add Hyperlinks to PowerPoint: 

  1. Slide Transition: You can navigate to specific slides in a non-linear manner by simply inserting a hyperlink into your current slide. Head over to Insert > Link > This Document and select the slide you want to link to. You can apply hyperlinks to text, shapes, or pictures. 
PowerPoint hyperlinks for slide transition
  1. Interactive Navigation Menu: Adding an interactive navigation menu at the beginning of your presentation allows clear navigation between different slides and sections in your presentation. Head over to Insert > Link > This Document and select the slides you want to link to.
PowerPoint hyperlinks for navigation menu
  1. Action Buttons: With hyperlinks, you can also create Action Buttons in your PowerPoint presentations to make your PowerPoint slides behave like interactive web pages, allowing users to navigate, explore, and engage with the content in a dynamic and user-friendly manner. Head over to Insert > Action Buttons and choose from the selection.
PowerPoint hyperlinks for action buttons
  1. Embedded Content: You can also hyperlink your PowerPoint slides to embedded content like PDFs, spreadsheets, and even web pages. Simply click Insert > Object and select the file you would like to embed in your PowerPoint slides. This way, you can remove the hassle of toggling between various files or windows during your presentation.
PowerPoint hyperlinks for embedded content
Check out this video also about how to create engaging & interactive presentations demonstrating how to create hyperlinks!

Expert Tips on How to Make an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation – When Presenting

1. Turn Your PowerPoint Slides Into Interactive Quizzes

The traditional way to add interactive quizzes to PowerPoint is through an unfavorable process of combining complex animations with triggers and hyperlinks. Let’s be honest, it takes an eternity! Even though PowerPoint offers an extensive range of presentation tools, it does not have audience interactivity built at its core. 

The good news is, audience interactivity can actually be effortlessly achieved with the various PowerPoint add-ins as listed below: 

Interactive PowerPoint Add-InQuizGamePollQ&A
ClassPoint✔️✔️✔️
Mentimeter✔️✔️✔️
Hypersay✔️✔️
Poll Everywhere✔️
Slido✔️✔️✔️
Slide Lizard✔️✔️✔️
Zeetings✔️
Aha Slides✔️✔️✔️

We will get to polls and games in a bit. For now, let’s show you how you can turn your PowerPoint slides into an interactive quiz in a just a few clicks with PowerPoint add-ins like ClassPoint, which offers a wide range of interactive quizzes from Short Answer and Word Cloud, to Multiple Choice questions.

How to Create An Interactive Quiz in PowerPoint In A Few Clicks

Once you have downloaded ClassPoint, you will have a suite of additional interactive quiz features added to your PowerPoint ribbon. 

ClassPoint toolbar

To turn your PowerPoint slide content into interactive quizzes, simply click on any of the interactive quiz features and add them to your slide. Enter PowerPoint Slideshow mode and you can start the quiz immediately. 

Read here for an in depth tutorial and 50 use cases on creating interactive quizzes in PowerPoint.

2. Run Gradable Assessments inside PowerPoint

With the versatile PowerPoint add-in, ClassPoint, you can also create assessments and collect real-time responses right inside PowerPoint. This is wonderful news for teachers! All you have to do is set up interactive Multiple Choice questions and enable Quiz Mode

Interactive Assessment in PowerPoint using ClassPoint Quiz Mode

ClassPoint’s Quiz Mode introduces an automatic grading feature to your Multiple Choice questions within PowerPoint presentations created with ClassPoint. This feature not only automates the grading process but also includes automatic star ratings, the option to select difficulty levels, and provides a quiz summary along with an exportable quiz report, making it the perfect tool for classroom formative assessments in PowerPoint!

Here is how to set up an assessment with automatic grading in PowerPoint

3. Incorporate Annotations During Slideshow

Another unique way to interact with your PowerPoint slides is through the use of annotations. With annotations, you as the presenter can interact with your slides to draw your audience’s attention to specific details, highlight key points, and tell a more coherent story. 

There are 3 ways you could use annotations in PowerPoint: 

  1. PowerPoint Draw Tab: To utilize the PowerPoint Draw Tab, click on the “Draw” tab in your PowerPoint ribbon and begin annotating anywhere on your slides using built-in features like the pen, highlighter, and Ink to Shape. However, please note that PowerPoint Draw only allows annotation in Edit mode.
PowerPoint Draw annotations
Pro Tip: You can apply the “Ink Replay” or “Wipe” animations to simulate a handwriting effect for your annotations or drawings using PowerPoint Draw. 
  1. PowerPoint Pen Tools: Another option for native PowerPoint annotation tools that permit annotation during slideshow mode can be found by clicking the pencil icon located in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen during a presentation. You can use the pen, highlighter, or laser tools to annotate any part of your slides during the presentation.
PowerPoint Pen slideshow annotations
  1. ClassPoint Toolbar: The ClassPoint toolbar serves as an enhanced, free alternative to PowerPoint’s existing pen tools. It offers a broader range of additional annotation features, including text boxes, shapes, spotlight effects, fully customizable pens and highlighters, and more. This enables you to transform your PowerPoint slides into a creative canvas that will captivate your audience throughout your presentation.
How to Make an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation - Annotation

4. Run Ice Breakers and Brainstorming Sessions in PowerPoint

The uses of interactive PowerPoint add-ins like ClassPoint are not only limited to teaching and learning. Give your PowerPoint meetings and presentations a strong start with a collaborative and dynamic brainstorming experience.

You can enhance your PowerPoint presentations and turn them into an interactive brainstorming experience by incorporating Word Cloud in PowerPoint, inviting participants to instantly contribute ideas, keywords, or concepts. This allows everyone to dynamically visualize emerging trends and interesting ideas.

Interactive PowerPoint branstorming

How? To start a brainstorming session in PowerPoint, click on the “Word Cloud”  button in your PowerPoint ribbon once you have downloaded ClassPoint to add the “Word Cloud” feature in your PowerPoint slides. Then enter PowerPoint slideshow mode to start brainstorming! 

Read the full Word Cloud tutorial and ways you can incorporate Word Cloud in your lessons here

5. Add Draggable Slide Objects (And Why It’s Better than Animations!)

Similar to animations, draggable objects allow you to interact with your slide objects freely during slideshow mode, except than you can do so with full control of where you want the slide elements to go!

This dynamic presentation feature adds an element of visual interest that captures your audience’s attention and can be a valuable tool for explaining complex ideas. Moreover, it has the potential to serve various purposes, such as revealing hidden information or acting as a movable marker to indicate your position on the slide content. You can also use it for group drag-and-drop activities, such as matching, categorizing, sorting, and more. You can either perform these actions yourself to provide a visual explanation or engage your audience by letting them instruct the movement of images and text on the slide.

How to Make an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation - Drag and Drop

How? Draggable objects is a unique tool that is possible inside PowerPoint with the use of the add-in ClassPoint. Download ClassPoint, free PowerPoint add-in, the select any shape, image, illustration, or text on your slide to become draggable by clicking on “Draggable Objects” in your PowerPoint ribbon, and toggling “Drag enabled” on the side panel.

how to enable drag and drop in powerpoint

In slideshow mode, click on the draggable objects hand from the ClassPoint toolbar at the bottom of your screen to start dragging your slide objects around!

Refer here for a detailed tutorial to enable draggable objects in your PowerPoint. 

Much like interactive quizzes, PowerPoint games add a layer of interactivity and fun to PowerPoint presentations. However, what sets PowerPoint games apart is their ability to introduce competition through gamification. 

Here are 3 ways you can instantly gamify your PowerPoint slides with gamification elements:

  1. Set Up a Point and Reward System: Define how your participants can earn stars and points, and award stars to them when they have accomplished a goal during your presentation. 
  2. Add Levels and Badges to PowerPoint: Every game benefits from having levels and badges, and your PowerPoint game is no exception. You can create a simple game within PowerPoint by incorporating questions into your slides and defining the points and scores needed to progress to higher levels. When it comes to badges, you have the creative freedom to tailor them to your audience. For example, in an educational setting, badges can be skill-focused, while in a social gathering, they can take the form of fantasy characters that participants aspire to collect
  3. Add a Leaderboard to PowerPoint: Leaderboards are essential to keep track of scores or points during a PowerPoint game. You can of course create a manual leaderboard using PowerPoint’s tables and hyperlinks, but an easier and more straightforward way of implementing a leaderboard in your PowerPoint is using add-ins like ClassPoint and Vevox.

With these fundamentals of gamification in place, you are now ready to create fun and exhilarating games in PowerPoint. 

Here is a full walk-through on how you can create a PowerPoint game in a few simple steps. 

Try these PowerPoint game teamplets for the top 3 popular American game shows: Family Feud, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune - play them with your family, friends or even co-workers during game nights! 

If you are an educator, this free trivia PowerPoint template and these 5 interactive PowerPoint game templates tailored for the classroom will be useful for you.

Expert Tips on How to Make an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation – After Presenting

1. Run Real-Time Polls in PowerPoint

Think of a memorable presentation you have attended? Did it use live polls? We bet it did! Live polling are especially helpful after a PowerPoint presentation to gather feedback for future improvement.

Traditional poll tools require presenters to switch between tabs during presentation. Thanks to PowerPoint add-ins such as ClassPointMentimeter and Poll Everywhere, this is no longer the case. And by eliminating the need to switch between different applications or tabs, the presentation experience becomes more fluid and engaging.

How to Make an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation - Polling
Here is a complete tutorial on how to run a quick poll in PowerPoint.  

2. From Static to Interactive Data Visualisation

Incorporating interactivity through data visualization after a presentation concludes is a potent strategy for enhancing audience engagement and comprehension. Once the primary content delivery is complete, you can transition into a dynamic display of data or feedback you have gathered from your audience using interactive charts, graphs, or infographics.

This approach empowers your audience to explore the information at their own pace, dig deeper into specific data points, and ensure a two-way communication between the presenter and the audience. Whether it’s zooming in on specific trends, toggling between different data sets, or going through feedback, interactive data visualization encourages active participation and a deeper connection with the presented information. 

We recommend the following 2 ways to display data into your presentation:

  1. Insert tables, charts and graphs, and add a touch of interactivity through animations.

Below is a list of 10 PowerPoint animations most suitable for different kinds of graphs and charts: 

Graph/Chart TypePowerPoint Animation
Pie chartWheel
Bar chartWipe
Line chartDraw
Area chartWipe
Gantt ChartMotion path
Funnel ChartAppear
Tree MapZoom
Waterfall ChartAppear
Bubble ChartGrow/Shrink
Scatter PlotZoom
  1. Embed a website with data you want to go over. I’m not talking about a link that leaves PowerPoint for your default browser, but an actual embedded browser that loads your websites without leaving PowerPoint! Plus you can insert the page as a picture into your slide and start annotating on it!
How to Make an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation - Data Visualisation

Recap

Now that you have a collection of strategies and tips at your disposal, you are better prepared to leave your old and dusty PowerPoint toolkit behind and embrace these refreshing ideas. Whether your ultimate aim is to create a captivating classroom experience, deliver a memorable business pitch, or simply wow your friends and peers during PowerPoint nights, don’t forget to: 

  • Add animations, but use them sparingly.
  • Make use of non-linear transitions and storytelling. 
  • Turn simple transitions into stunning visual experience with PowerPoint Morph.
  • Make creative use of polls, quizzes and games. 
  • Make your presentation human with Bitmoji.
  • Build anticipation with interactive presentation tools like annotations and drag and drop.
  • Try out these 160 fun PowerPoint ideas for your next presentation!
Read this step-by-step guide to create a quick interactive PowerPoint presentation.   

To read more about Interactive PowerPoint Presentations, you can download our Interactive PowerPoint Playbook, which includes comprehensive guides, tutorials on various interactive PowerPoint presentation methods, cheat sheets, and a wide range of resources for mastering the art of creating interactive PowerPoint presentations.

Try ClassPoint solve some of your presentation problems by adding interactive tools to your PowerPoint in just a few clicks! Happy presenting! 😁👇

Zhun Yee Chew

About Zhun Yee Chew

Zhun Yee Chew is the Content Lead at ClassPoint. She aims to empower educators to build engaging classrooms through valuable and innovative content. Zhun is a passionate advocate and leader of educational transformation, as well as an educator. Before joining ClassPoint, she spent her past 7 years spearheading efforts to revolutionize education systems across different countries. She kickstarted an educational NGO, developed innovative solutions and curricula for various programmes, and actively volunteered with various NGOs and rural communities as an educator driving change.

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