Understanding PowerPoint Slide Masters and Layouts

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

Understanding how to use the PowerPoint applications named Slide Layouts and Master Slides is very useful and time saving when organizing a presentation for work or school. Explore how to differentiate and use master slides and slide layouts, and learn to identify the benefits of using the features. Updated: 10/06/2021

Slide Master vs. Slide Layout

So, I need to create a Master Slide, modify the Slide Layout and create a Template for my company! Confused?

I have to admit, sometimes terms and definitions can be confusing in PowerPoint. But don't be discouraged! It's actually easier to understand than you think. In this lesson, we will discuss the purpose of and the differences between Slide Master and Slide Layout. And although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference. So, let's start with the Slide Layout.

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Slide Layout

Slide Layouts are slides that have placeholders on them that you can use to add content. A placeholder is a box with a dotted outline, used for the placement of your slide content. For example, there is a layout called comparison that has placeholders for a title and two text boxes side by side. Placeholders can be moved, re-sized, and re-formatted.

Okay, now that you have my official definition, let's apply it to something that we can better understand. From the Home tab, click on the pick-list to the New Slide command, and you will see several options for the layout of your slide. For example, you can choose a title slide with a spot for the title and the subtitle, or you can choose a slide that is completely blank. If you want a slide with an image on one side and a caption or description on the other, there's a layout for that, too.

Creating a new slide with an existing layout can remove some of the stress that is sometimes associated with starting your slide from scratch. Layouts give you a place to start. Simply click on New Slide, choose your layout, and click on the placeholder to add the content.

Master Slide

Now imagine being able to customize the slide layout and having it accessible any time you need it to create a new slide. This is where the Master Slide comes in! If you want to change the layout, you edit the Master Slide. But it's only available while working on that particular presentation. So, not to get off track, but if you wanted to access the Master Slide with your customized layout for any presentation you create, you save it as a template.

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