Putting things in piles isn't just the organizational system that you've been using for as long as you can remember, it's also the way virtual objects are organised in PowerPoint presentations. Whether it's a pile of pictures, stacks of text or mounds of animation effects, PowerPoint uses layers to organise what you're working with. But when you start getting several layers deep it can be difficult to select what's on the bottom or to control where things land in the pile. PowerPoint uses a "Selection pane" and an "Animation pane" to help you find what you're looking for.
Click the "Home" tab in PowerPoint and then click the "Arrange" button. Choose "Selection Pane" from the menu. The Selection pane will appear to the right of the slide, showing you all the different objects and which layer each one is in on that slide.
Click the eye icon next to one of the objects to hide that layer. Click the icon again to show the layer. Click the "Hide All" or "Show All" button at the bottom of the Selection pane to see or hide all the layers. Click to select one of the objects from the list and then drag it to a different position in the list to reorder the layers, or use the arrow buttons at the bottom of the pane.
Click the "Animations" tab and then click the "Animation Pane" button (the "Custom Animation Pane" button in versions prior to PowerPoint 2010). This will show you all the animation layers on a slide. The top object will appear first in the animation sequence, and the bottom object last. Drag and drop objects in the list or use the arrows at the bottom of the pane to adjust the animation layers.