PowerPoint – Working with Master Slides/Templates
Both screenshots below were taken from presentations with a .potx or template file extension. However, which one of these is a true PowerPoint template?
The correct answer is the second one (Template #2). How should you know this? Both files have the .potx file extension so surely they are both the same?
When you open a new PowerPoint what do you see? All you see is the TITLE SLIDE layout. This is a template. All blank presentations are based on a basic template…just like Word bases all new documents on a template with pre-set styles, fonts etc.
If you see anything more than this on screen…it’s not a real template!
If I had a pound for every time someone has asked me sort out their template which turned out to be a presentation with a .potx file extension I’d be a rich man. This is a very common mistake and stems from people not understanding how PowerPoint templates work, and for these to work you need to set up your MASTER SLIDES.
MASTER SLIDES are key to how your presentation looks and behaves, in terms of slide layouts, fonts, how bullet points (shudder!) work.
Let’s build a simple example…
Open a new BLANK presentation and go to the VIEW tab and click on SLIDE MASTER. You can now see the bare bones of the presentation and this is where you will do all your set up.
Note that whatever slide layout you are in, you will be taken to that slide layout in the SLIDE MASTER.
So this is where the magic takes place. The golden rule here is don’t add any content!!! Many people make the mistake of creating their presentation here in the MASTER SLIDES – DON’T! This is where you set formats, font sizes and even custom layouts.
If you look at your SLIDE MASTER layouts down the left hand side of the screen you’ll notice one layout that is bigger than the rest.
For wont of a better name, I refer to this as the MASTER MASTER slide. Anything you add here such as logos, images etc. will appear in every layout. Use the normal tools to add images, and as soon as you add something you will see it appear in every slide layout below.
If you want something to ONLY appear in a specific layout then click on the layout and add whatever you need there. Whatever you add will only appear in that layout and not in any of the other layouts.
Continue to customise each layout as necessary until all your slides have the required logos, images or designs.
At any point you can come out of the MASTER VIEW by clicking on CLOSE MASTER VIEW.
If you click on the layout button on the HOME tab you will now see the various layouts with your newly created design.
Once the design work is complete then it’s time to set up fonts and bullet styles. Go back to your MASTER SLIDE view and click in one of the layouts.
Let’s assume that I want to set styles for all slides rather than adjust each one individually. Make sure the top slide in the MASTER VIEW is selected. Click on the title box and using the options on your HOME tab, set the font, size, colour etc. Note that as you set this title, all other titles on the other layouts are automatically updated to the new font style.
If you intend using bullet points, click in the box below to set the MASTER TEXT STYLES.
In this example I have set a different font at each bullet level. I would never do this in a real presentation, nor would I recommend it, but have done it here just to show what can be done. I can now also set the appearance of my bullets.
Again, this just to demonstrate what can be done rather than what you should do. If you take a look now at any of the other layouts you will see that the fonts and bullet styles have been changed throughout the presentation.
Remember that you can set each slide layout individually to have its own style, font size, colours, bullets and background images. Bear in mind that too many style changes etc. in any presentation are distracting and can make it look messy.
Once you have set everything up, save it as a template. When you reopen the presentation you will only see the main title slide and as you start typing the content, it will appear in the pre-set format you created in the template.
You might be thinking, why go to all this trouble setting up fonts etc. in a template when I can do all this manually on the fly as I create my presentation? Well…the first thing is consistency. Every slide you create will have identical text, backgrounds etc. and you won’t have to think about the font size, colour or anything else for that matter which ultimately will save you a lot of time. All the points I have just mentioned are even more valid when applied to a business context where branding and consistency of branding are all important. Relying on users to apply the correct font, colour or images is very risky. So use a template…and make sure it is a REAL template and not a presentation masquerading as a template. Now go check out all your office “templates” and see if they are real or fake!