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Slide Master in PowerPoint – A Complete Beginner’s Guide!

Slide Master in PowerPoint – A Complete Beginner’s Guide!

If you want to have more advanced controls of your PowerPoint presentation, the first thing that you will need to learn about is the slide master in PowerPoint!

The slide master in PowerPoint allows you to control the fonts, graphics, design, and other elements across the complete presentation. The slide master can also be useful to create slide layouts and standardized templates that can be used across multiple presentations!

There are actually several different ways in which you can use the slide master in PowerPoint.

So, in this article, we shall take a look at what is the slide master in PowerPoint, how to access it, and what are its uses among several other things!

This article is geared towards complete beginners as well as shares nuanced tips for advanced users! So, without any further delay, let’s get started!

1. What is the Slide Master In PowerPoint and Why is it Used?

First, let’s understand the basics so that we are all on the same page! What exactly is a slide master in PowerPoint, and why is it used?

Slide Master is a Microsoft PowerPoint feature that allows you to easily edit all the slides at once or the individual slide layouts of a presentation.

1a. What is a Slide Master?

The slide master in Microsoft PowerPoint contains all the information on the slide layout as well as the theme of a presentation. This includes the fonts, color, effects, background, and the size and position of the placeholders.

The slide master is more of a backend to the normal view in PowerPoint. It controls various aspects and the elements that are visible when you start designing a presentation. Often, people who have been using PowerPoint for a long time (sometimes, even years!) don’t even realize that there is a backend view that allows you to control the way things look in the normal view!

For instance, have you ever wondered why is the default font of the text box “Arial” when you start with a new slide? Or, why do only see certain specific colors in the “Shape Fill” color option? And, what if you want to change the set of default color options available?

All of this is controlled by the “Slide Master” in PowerPoint!

1b. How Does the Slide Master Work?

When you open the slide master (we shall take a look at how to access it slightly later in the article), the master slide is the top slide whereas all the other slides underneath a master slide serve as individual slide layouts.

With that information in mind, here are some points that you need to remember when working with the “Slide Master” in PowerPoint –

  1. The changes made using the slide master shall affect the complete presentation.
  2. The changes that you make to the master slide (the first slide) affects all the slides in the slide master.
  3. If you wish to make changes to the placeholder on a specific slide, edit the individual slide layout in PowerPoint rather than the master slide.
  4. Each slide in the normal view of your presentation is represented by a specific slide layout in the slide master. To know which slide layout is used for a specific slide in normal view, simply select the said slide before accessing the slide master.
  5. A slide master can contain multiple “Master Slides” each with its own set of unique slide layouts.
  6. When using the slide layouts in the slide master, do not enter text on the slides. All the text, once entered, will become uneditable in the normal view. Instead, add placeholders in positions on the slide where you plan to add text in the normal view.

Don’t worry, this all might seem a bit confusing (and a bit scary) at first. But, we will get to all of that in a moment!

1c. Uses of Slide Master View in PowerPoint –

Since the slide master stores information about the theme and the layout of the slides in a PowerPoint presentation, you can use the “Slide Master” view to edit several elements in the presentation.

I’ve already indicated some of the uses earlier in the article, but let’s understand the key purposes a slide master is used in PowerPoint –

a. Change Slide Background

Using the “Slide Master” view, you can change the background of all the slides at once.

The background editing features are available in the “Background” section of the “Slide Master” menu. You can click on the “Colors” option to change the colors for the slides, the “Fonts” option to set a specific font for the presentation, and the “Effects” option for the background effects.

Besides, you can click on the “Hide Background Graphics” option to remove all background graphics from the entire presentation.

Clicking on the “Format Background” option under the “Background Styles” button, you can access various customizable background colors and designs for the presentation.

b. Rearrange Placeholders in Slide Layout

In Microsoft PowerPoint “Slide Master” view, you can edit both the master slide and the slide layouts. By rearranging or editing the placeholders in PowerPoint in a slide layout, you will only create changes for the slides using that specific layout instead of the entire presentation.

To rearrange the placeholders, all you have to do is click on a placeholder and drag it to your preferred position on the slide.

c. Customize Overall Text Formatting

While it is important to know how to format text in PowerPoint, you can actually use the “Slide Master” view, to easily change or customize the overall text formatting of all the slides.

You have to first click on the content placeholder in the master slide which is the top slide in the slide layout panel on the left side of the screen. Then click on the “Home” tab in PowerPoint.

In the “Font” section of the “Home” menu, you can customize the fonts. For instance, you can change the font size, text color, font style, or even highlight text in PowerPoint. Doing so will customize the text of all the slides.

d. Customize Theme Fonts

By customizing the fonts in the “Slide Master”, you can choose a set of fonts for various list levels of text in all the slides.

To do so, click on the “Fonts” option in the “Background” section under the “Slide Master” tab. Then click on your preferred set of fonts from the dropdown menu.

e. Customize Theme Colors

The theme color in a “Slide Master” contains a set of colors for various elements of the slides in a presentation like a background, heading, body text, etc.

By customizing the theme color in “Slide Master”, you can customize the colors for the entire presentation.

All you have to do is click on the “Colors” option in the “Background” section of the “Slide Master” menu and select your preferred theme colors from the dropdown menu.

f. Create Unique Slide Layouts and Templates

Using the features in the “Slide Master” menu, you can edit any element and object in the presentation. You can change the color, font, arrangement, theme, etc. of the entire presentation.

You can also create and edit individual slide layouts in PowerPoint. You can easily use the “Slide Master” view to create fully unique slide layouts and templates.

2. Difference Between Slide Master and a PowerPoint Template?

The key difference between a slide master and a template in PowerPoint is that a template contains a specially designed set of slides for a particular purpose whereas a slide master allows you to edit the template if necessary. The slide master is usually used to design an effective PowerPoint template.

In Microsoft PowerPoint, a “Slide Master” contains the information about the layout and the theme of the presentation. A PowerPoint template, on the other hand, is a design or pattern of a slide or even a whole presentation.

In short, a template is a copy of a presentation blueprint that can be edited to fit your needs, while the master slide stores the layout and theme of that template.

3. How to Access the Slide Master in PowerPoint?

In Microsoft PowerPoint, you can access the slide master in the “View” menu. You have to first click on the “View” tab in the menu ribbon located at the top of the screen.

Then click on the “Slide Master” option in the “Master Views” section of the “View” menu. This will open the “Slide Master” view where you can edit the master slide and the slide layouts.

4. How to Edit a Slide Master in PowerPoint?

Microsoft PowerPoint allows you to edit the slide master using the “Slide Master” view. You can edit the master slide itself, and also the slide layouts separately. You can even add or remove master slides and slide layouts.

4a. Using the Master Slide to Apply Changes to All Slide Layouts in PowerPoint

Since the master slide contains all the information on the theme and layouts of the entire presentation, any change in the master slide will be automatically applied to all the slide layouts under the master slide.

To apply changes to the master slide, all you have to do is click on the master slide from the slide layout panel and use the features available in all the tabs in the menu ribbon.

In the subsequent sections of the article, we shall take a look at how you can edit certain aspects of the slide master using the “Slide Master” view in PowerPoint.

4b. How to Change Slide Background in the Slide Master?

In the “Slide Master” view, click on “Background Styles” and select the “Format Background” option from the dropdown menu.

This will open a sidebar on the right side of the screen. In the “Format Background” sidebar, you can change the color, gradient, or pattern of the background. You can also add an image as the background.

4c. How to Customize Fonts and Text Formatting in the Slide Master in PowerPoint?

To customize fonts and text formatting in the “Slide Master” view, you have to follow the 2 simple steps mentioned below –

Step-1: Click on the “Customize Fonts” option

You have to first click on the master slide from the slide layout panel. Then click on the “Fonts” option from the “Background” section of the “Slide Master” menu. From the dropdown menu, click on the “Customize Fonts” option at the bottom.

Step-2: Click on the “Save” button

In the “Create New Theme Fonts” dialog box, click on the “Heading font” box to customize the heading and on the “Body font” box for the body text. Then click on the “Save” button at the bottom of the dialog box.

4d. How to Customize Theme Colors in Slide Master?

In the “Slide Master” view of Microsoft PowerPoint, you can customize the theme color by following the 2 easy steps.

Step-1: Click on “Customize Colors”

In the “Background” section of the “Slide Master” view, click on the “Colors” option. Then click on the “Customize Colors” option at the bottom of the dropdown menu.

Step-2: Click on “Save”

In the “Create New Theme Colors” dialog box, click on the box next to each option to select your preferred colors. Then all you have to do is click on the “Save” button at the bottom of the dialog box.

4e. How to Apply Effects in PowerPoint Slide Master?

To apply effects in the “Slide Master” view of PowerPoint, click on the “Effects” option in the “Background” section.

This will open a dropdown menu containing fifteen effect options to choose from. All you have to do is click on your preferred effect from the dropdown menu.

4f. How to Edit Footer in PowerPoint?

The footer in a PowerPoint presentation is a text that appears at the bottom of all slides. To edit the footer in the “Slide Master” view, all you have to do is click on the “Footer” box at the bottom of the master slide. Then type in the text you want in the footer.

I’ve actually written all the detailed steps with several helpful tips to format the footer in PowerPoint. You can learn about editing, adding, and removing footers in PowerPoint. Check out my other article by clicking on this link.

4g. How to Add Logo to All Slides Using Slide Master in PowerPoint

Adding a logo to your Microsoft PowerPoint presentation can be a smart way of branding your presentation.

I’ve covered this topic in one of my previous articles. Make sure to check out that article on how to add a logo to slides in PowerPoint.

That said, I’ve covered the key steps in this section below –

Step-1: Open the Slide Master View in PowerPoint

The first step is to open the “Slide Master” view in PowerPoint. Simply click on the “View” tab, and click on the “Slide Master” option.

Step-2: Click on the “Insert” tab

The next step is to click on the master slide from the slide layout panel on the left side of the screen in the “Slide Master” view. Then click on the “Insert” tab from the menu ribbon.

Step-3: Click on the “Pictures” button

The next step is to click on the “Pictures” button in the “Images” section of the “Insert” menu. Then click on the “This Device” option from the dropdown menu. This will open a dialog box.

Step-4: Click on the “Insert” option

In the “Insert Picture” dialog box, click on the logo you want to add to the presentation. Then click on the “Insert” button at the bottom of the dialog box to add the logo to the master slide.

This will automatically add the logo to all the slides of the presentation.

4h. Use Slide Master to Add a Watermark in PowerPoint 

A watermark is an identifying text or image that usually appears across a document and is semi-transparent.

You can learn about how to add or remove watermarks in PowerPoint in my article here. You can add a watermark to all the slides of your PowerPoint presentation.

All you have to do is follow the 4 simple steps.

Step-1: Click on the “Insert” tab

In the “Slide Master” view, click on the master slide which is the top slide in the slide layout panel. Then click on the “Insert” tab from the menu ribbon located at the top of the screen.

Step-2: Click on the “Text Box” option

In the “Insert” menu, click on the “Text Box” option from the “Text” section. Then draw the text box on the master slide. You can now type in the text you want as a “watermark” on all the slides.

Step-3: Click on the “Format Text Effects” option

The next step is to select the text in the watermark text box. You may first want to increase the size of the font and rotate the text box to give a watermark effect.

Then “Right Click” on the selected text and click on the “Format Text Effects” option. This will open the “Format Shape” sidebar on the right side of the screen.

Step-4: Increase the text transparency

In the “Format Shape” sidebar, click on the “Text Fill and Outline” option which is the first icon. In the “Text Fill” section, click on the “Solid Fill” option.

Then drag the slider next to the “Transparency” option to the right until the text reaches your preferred transparency.

5. Understanding Slide Layouts in PowerPoint Slide Master

Slide Layouts in Microsoft PowerPoint are slide designs that have pre-arranged placeholders that you can use to add your content quickly and easily.

To understand the functions of slide layouts in PowerPoint and how to use them, make sure to read my article on slide layouts in PowerPoint.

5a. How to Know Which Slides Use What Slide Layouts

Using the “Normal” view in PowerPoint, you can see which slides are using what slide layouts. All you have to do is follow the 2 simple steps.

Step-1: Click on the “Normal View” option

In the menu ribbon located at the top of the screen, click on the “View” tab. In the “View” menu, click on the “Normal” option which is the first option in the “Presentation Views” section. This will return the screen to “Normal View”.

Step-2: Click on the “Layout” option

In the slide thumbnail panel on the left side of the screen, “Right Click” on a slide.

Then click on the “Layout” option from the context menu. This will open a list of all the slide layouts available in the presentation. You will see the slide layout being used by the selected slide is highlighted in the list.

Another way to know what slide layout you are using

5b. How to Insert and Rename Slide Layouts

To insert or rename slide layouts, you have to first access the “Slide Master” menu from the “View” tab in the menu ribbon.

Inserting Slide Layouts

In the slide layout panel on the left side of the screen, you have to first click on the place where you want to insert a new slide layout. Then click on the “Insert Layout” button in the “Edit Master” section of the “Slide Master” menu.

Renaming Slide Layouts

To rename a slide layout, you have to first click on the layout from the slide layout panel. Then click on the “Rename” option next to the “Insert Layout” button in the “Slide Master” menu.

This will open the “Rename Layout” dialog box where you have to type in the new name for the slide layout. Finally, you have to click on the “Rename” button in the dialog box to rename the slide layout.

6. Understanding Placeholders in Slide Master in PowerPoint

In Microsoft PowerPoint, a placeholder is a pre-formatted box on the slide where you can easily add content with a single click. Check out my other article to learn more about “Placeholders in PowerPoint”.

Using the “Slide Master” view, you can add, remove and edit the type and position of the placeholders in each slide layout.

There are seven types of placeholders: “Text”, “Pictures”, “Chart”, “Table”, “SmartArt”, “Media”, and “Online Image”. Besides, you can also use a “Content” placeholder which allows you to add any type of mentioned content.

7. How to Insert a Slide Master in PowerPoint?

To insert a slide master in Microsoft PowerPoint, the first step is to open the “Slide Master” view from the “View” tab. In the “Slide Master” view, click on the “Insert Slide Master” button.

It is the first button in the “Edit Master” section of the “Slide Master” menu. Alternatively, you can press the “Ctrl+M” keys on your keyboard to insert a new slide master.

8. How to Delete a Slide Master in PowerPoint?

To delete a master slide in PowerPoint, you have to first “Right Click” on the master slide from the slide layout panel on the left side of the screen.

Then click on the “Delete Master” option in the right-click menu. Alternatively, you can press the “delete” key on your keyboard.

9. How to Exit the Slide Master View in PowerPoint?

In Microsoft PowerPoint, you can exit the “Slide Master” view with one click. All you have to do is click on the “Close Master View” button. It is the last button under the “Slide Master” tab and is located in the “Close” section.

Credit to karlyukav (on Freepik) for the featured image of this article (further edited).