Collection rearrangement animation techniques are described herein, which can be employed to represent changes made by a rearrangement in a manner that reduces or eliminates visual confusion. A collection of items arranged at initial positions can be displayed. Various interaction can initiate a rearrangement of the collection of items, such as to sort the items, add or remove an item, or reposition an item. An animation of the rearrangement is depicted that omits at least a portion of the spatial travel along pathways from the initial positions to destination positions in the rearranged collection. In one approach, items can be animated to disappear from the initial positions and reappear at destination positions. This can occur by applying visual transitions that are bound to dimensional footprints of the items in the collection. Additionally or alternatively, intermediate and overlapping positions can be omitted by the animation.