PowerPoint Timers

Timers are great tools for making sure that people recognise how time is passing when they are engaged in a task.
The idea here is that the slide explains the instructions for the task and the timer indicates how far they should ideally have progressed with the task at each point in time, and how much time they have left.

The image on the left shows an example.
There are two main ways in which this can be achieved:
  1. By using a desktop or plugin clock/timer which sits on top of the PowerPoint window/slide.
  2. By creating a timed animation within the PowerPoint slide itself.
Both can work well, but have a few disadvantages.
  • In the case of the first option, it needs to be set up and maintained manually, and can be a distraction.
  • In the case of the second option, skipping forward and backward a slide will reset the timer.
People’s preferences at present seem to be for animations, but this may be because nobody appears to have developed the ideal plugin yet.
Animations can be of several types including appearing or disappearing segments, linear movement, and rotation. In each case it is a matter of animating them to move, rotate, appear or disappear at a certain time period ‘after previous’.
The image on the right illustrates the settings for the left hand timer below.
Essentially these relate to a one-hour timer which rotates the hand 6 degrees every 60 seconds (58 seconds delay plus 2 seconds duration for the animation. As you can see in the image, the full rotation of 360 degrees is achieved by 60 successive animations on the same object (the hand).
To understand this better, click on one of the options below and take it apart to see how it works – you will need the animation pane visible in PowerPoint.
Once you understand how the animations work, clicking an example timer image above will download the PowerPoint file for that particular timer, which you can edit for your own purposes.
The left hand image is the easiest to scale – which enables it to be used in the corner of a slide of instructions. It is also the easiest to adapt:
  • By removing graduations from around the circumference
  • By changing the timing intervals
  • By adjusting the rotation angle
  • By changing the colours to suit your own slide scheme

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