Using Powerpoint Slide Master feature

I proud myself to be an advanced Windows user (and a dummy in Mac still smile_embaressed), but time and again I found new features in Windows or Office that I never knew. This time round is a feature in PowerPoint called Slide Master. All the years, when I wanted to adjust positions of a textbox in ALL the slides, be it the header or the body, I would have done it manually, dragging the box to the desired place. It’ll be easy if I hadn’t started typing away texts into those boxes and creating many slides. But more of than not, textbox alignment are desired only after you have lots of texts, and manually adjusting the position and alignments of textboxes in ALL the slides is simply a mundane task, depending on how many slides you have.

Powerpoint 2007 Slide Master
How to access Slide Master feature in PowerPoint 2007

To access this feature in PowerPoint 2007, go to View and then click on Slide Master. A new Ribbon tab will be displayed on the left of Home tab, appropriately called Slide Master. Here you can adjust the slide master as you wish, and when you close the Master View, the adjustment you’ve made will be applied to all the slides using that Master. You can have multiple Master in one PowerPoint slide (caveat: Only PowerPoint 2002 and above). Consider that as having multiple templates in a slide. thumbs_up

Now, let me bring you can a few days back in time on how I found out this “new” feature. I needed to create a PowerPoint slide a couple of days back, and since I was using my Mac at that time, I decided to try out Apple’s latest iWork ’08. You can download their 30-days trial for free. It came with Pages (similar to Word), Numbers (you guess it, similar to Excel), and Keynote (similar to PowerPoint). The download was blazing over 600KB/sec, so it took me less than 15 minutes for that 470 MB package. After I installed them, I nose dived into Keynote to create my presentation. Now the fun begins. As I was still figuring out how to use Keynote, I had no choice but to randomly click on anything that looks like a button that I can click that has a label resembles what I am trying to do. Hey, that’s what you do when you have no idea of a new piece of software, no? smile_sarcasticThis is when I was introduced to this new concept of Masters.

Masters in Keynote

Obviously, when I am back to Windows to refine my presentation (after all, this presentation will be run using a Windows machine, so I have to make sure that it runs fine in Windows. Luckily I did, as many of the fonts I used in Mac was not available in Windows, and my presentation looks awful at best), I looked out for a button that has the word “Master” in it. It was easy to guess, it’s a view, so I headed to View tab, and there you go, big button called Slide Master. If only I had known this feature long time ago, it would have saved me countless hours refining my presentation manually, and I hope that you don’t have to suffer similar fate if you need to create some presentation in the future smile_regular

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9 Responses to Using Powerpoint Slide Master feature

  1. Olivier says:

    Hi Hendrick,

    You know what? I knew of slide master on PC and worked with it.
    Then I opened the PPT file on my mac, and after some time trying to understand, I got the answer: Powerpoint 2004 for mac does “support” multiple slide masters (I got some in my document), but you can’t do anything with them: you’re stuck with the first one and can’t choose which one to affect to your slide!! Such a pain.

    Then, by some coïncidence, I found your blog and… it just saved my life! Now I can modify my PPT document with Keynote and I’ve got multiple slide masters.
    Obviously, I also end up with a so much more elegant solution to work on the document. It’s much nicer and so much better to modify and affect a slide master.

    So, I used your “trick” the other way round, but that was very usefull… Thanks!


  2. hendrikch says:

    Hi Olivier, glad it helps 🙂

  3. Olivier says:

    HI again,

    Bad news: exporting from Keynote to PPT isn’t such a great feature: I started to work with Keynote, but wanted to have a look at the result in Powerpoint: catastrophy!
    Keynote is really a great tool and pleasant to work with… but we still need this stupid compatibility with Office tools…

    So I was back to the start.

    What I did is to download Office 2008 Beta: at last, PPT 2008 handles slide masters great. It’s a beta, it’s unstable, but at least that means the next version of Office for Mac will catch up with the Windows version… a few years late, as always 😦

    Anyway, your post helped me find the solution, so thanks again 🙂


  4. hendrikch says:

    yeah, export simply cannot make it. I haven’t tried the 2008 version, but it’s good to know that they are making grounds 🙂

  5. sean ross says:

    I have used slide masters for quite some time but in office 2007 they have no effect that I can tell. I edit them and they do not affect the document. I add page numbers and footers and they do nothing. What more do I need to do other than just edit a master to get it to actually affect the document?

  6. hendrikch says:

    @sean ross: they do have effect. you just need to make sure you know which “slide” in the slide master that is being used your content. usually it’s the 3rd or 4th one from the top.

    i moved around the box, changed the font, and some other properties, and all those styles are applied automatically to all my slides that uses that slide master.

    try creating a new presentation and see if it worked.

  7. Carrie says:

    I’m having a similar problem to sean ross, except that I know I am editing the right slide in the slide master, because I can make changes like moving around the title of the slide etc.

    However, I am trying to animate the main text box (fade by first level paragraphs) and it doesn’t change the animation for the main text box on the slides in my presentation.

    Would you have any advice?


  8. hendrikch says:

    @Carrie: Hi, I’m not sure that animation works in Slide Master, never try it before.

  9. Pingback: 2010 blogging in review « – Hendrik Christian Blog on Daily Life

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