slide masters

Set up slide masters to save time and be consistent!

If you are learning about PowerPoint slide masters for the first time, know that a master simply acts as a style sheet. It’s useful for forcing common styles or uniform elements to be used. You might wonder how a slide master is different to a slide layout? Put simply, slide layouts are different variants of a slide master.

Why set up slide masters in PowerPoint?

Setting up template masters correctly will make creating house style presentations much simpler. You’ll get consistent looking slides, your formatting speed will increase, you’ll save time for other (more) important work. If you’ve ever wasted time trying to get slides to look more like each other, e.g. when pasting slides from other decks, then it helps to understand masters.

Also: the “Reset” button is an awesome tool. When your slides are correctly supported by slide master and layouts, you’ll be able to reformat at entire slide with just one click. It’s our best friend. Ever.

How to set up Slide Masters:

To access Slide Masters, go to the View tab and click Slide Master. The top master is the grand master, you need to scroll to the top of the list of layouts on the left to get to it.

Do as much style setting as you can on the top master as this will feed through to ALL other layouts automatically.

You can tell some layouts NOT to follow the top master, and you can also set up multiple top masters. This is great for applying different brand colours to different slides.

What do you set up on the “top” master?

What are the most common elements you use on a slide? Use these to format your top master. It might just be your logo, or simply the position of a title, but you’ll be able to think of more useful elements when you get used to creating and using masters.

You will definitely want to follow your company house style to create bullet styles for 5 levels, to assign fonts, colour palette and also the layout of footers.  Masters should be linked to the theme variants: colour and fonts in particular. You’ll want Heading and Body font to be assigned at this stage.

Click Format Background at the bottom of the Background Styles list to open the Format pane. Choose from background options, such as advanced fill settings, artistic effects, and colour and image settings.

To change the default fonts in your presentation: go to the Variants group on the Design tab in Slide Master.
Set Heading and Body fonts. This applies to all layouts.

To edit placeholders in the grand master slide, click Master Layout. To show or hide the title, text, date, slide numbers, or footer placeholders on the slide master, select or clear the check boxes to show or hide the placeholders.

Some more tips

  • Do not to delete footer, page number and date from the top master – but do format them and switch them off in other layouts if they aren’t needed.
  • Avoid using subheading styles within main bullet hierarchy:  additional text boxes on layouts is preferable.
  • Use the “Hide Background graphics” option in the ribbon to turn off the graphics from the top master in a layout.
  • Use a fixed text box for any permanent footer (e.g Private & Confidential), but use the footer placeholder for editable text (e.g. Presentation Title).
  • You can either delete or leave in any layouts you think you won’t need – at a later date they might come in handy.

Mastering slide masters is easy when you know how!