How to create stepping slides in Impress

If you’ve used Microsoft Powerpoint to create “stepping” slides – slides that appear one bullet point at a time – and can’t figure out how to do it with Impress, this article is for you.

What are stepping slides?

“Stepping” slides are the only animation or transition effect I allow myself in slideshows. I don’t generally like animations or other distractions; when I give talks, I am always painfully conscious of how much the audience tends to focus on the slides. I’ve seen some research that suggests people’s brains turn off when they look at slides, so I try to minimize that by making as few slides as possible and engaging the audience.

But enough about me, what do you think about my shirt?

Seriously: stepping slides one bullet point at a time is helpful. It lets me pack a lot more onto a slide, so I can build the story around a concept gradually, increasing the mental density of whatever’s on screen. If the whole slide pops up at once, it’s a distraction. If I split it into a bunch of slides, it’s a distraction.

How do you do it with Impress?

Don’t search the Help files for “stepping” – I went that route and crashed Strangely, at the moment the search function crashed, I was writing a presentation about search and indexing algorithms!

You have to do it as an animation. One step at a time (no pun intended):

  1. First, create a slideshow and add a bulleted list: Impress Stepping Slides, Part 1
  2. Next, select the list text and choose the "Custom Animation" sub-pane in the right-hand side: Impress Stepping Slides, Part 2
  3. Click the Add... button in the Custom Animation pane and select Appear, then OK to dismiss the dialog box: Impress Stepping Slides, Part 3
  4. If your Custom Animation pane is large enough, you'll see a small preview of the bullet points at the bottom. Notice there's a mouse-click icon next to the first one, and the "Start" pull-down menu is blank (no selection). At this point, all the bullet points are going to be animated as a unit: Impress Stepping Slides, Part 4
  5. The last step is to make the animation start upon clicking, and make that apply to each bullet point. Pull down the "Start" drop-down and select "On click". You should now see a little mouse-click icon next to each bullet point: Impress Stepping Slides, Part 5

You’re done! Test your slideshow just to be sure.

I'm Baron Schwartz, the founder and CEO of VividCortex. I am the author of High Performance MySQL and lots of open-source software for performance analysis, monitoring, and system administration. I contribute to various database communities such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB. More about me.