PowerPoint advanced: Solving Slide Master mysteries

During my video training last week, I explained the basics of PowerPoint, including how to import your content quickly and easily. This week, we’re going to get a bit more sophisticated…

PowerPoint presentations are better with handouts. But, we want them to have appropriate headers and repeat certain design elements like logos on all slides. This can seem like a task that will take several long hours to make sure all changes are consistent on all slide and handout output, but it isn’t really — not if you know how to use the Slide Master.

The Slide Master is actually a hidden template that holds all the slide layouts, place holders, fonts and other elements common to your presentation. So, for example, let’s say you like everything about your presentation now, except the fonts used for the bulleted items on the Title and Text layout. You can change it in the Slide Master, and it will change every single slide that uses that layout. Now that we know what it does, let’s look at how to do it.

How to find the Slide Master:

Once you are in the Slide Master, you are looking at the master for the layout of the slide you had selected when you went into the slide master.


So, if you were on a slide that was set to that Title and Text layout, that is the master you’d be looking at. Let’s change the fonts and bullet points here. Select the text at the bullet level you want to change, right click and select Font. Let’s choose Gill Sans MT and Bold.

Now let’s right click on the same area again and select Bullets (in 97-2003, it is Bullets and Numbering). Change the bullet to a large filled in, yellow circle. To get the bullet to look larger, on the Bullets and Numbering dialog box, change the Size field to some percentage larger than 100%. In 2007, you will need to select Bullets and Numbering from the bottom of the bullet selection box.

If you scroll all the way up in the Navigation Pane to the master labeled 1, you could put a logo on this slide that you wanted to see on all slides. So, for example, we can put the Business Management Daily icon on the first one and you’ll notice that they all show it now. You can also make similar adjustments to the Handout Master and include headers and footers that give your materials a professional look.

Click Close Master View on the floating toolbar in 97-2003 to get back to your presentation. In 2007, on the Slide Master tab, in the Close group on the far right, click the red Close Master View button. The most common mistake is to start typing content in the master. Remember to get out of the master before making any changes to your presentation.

That’s it! Now you’ve taken that old, ugly PowerPoint presentation and made something of which you can be proud.