I proud myself to be an advanced Windows user (and a dummy in Mac still ), 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.
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.
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? This is when I was introduced to this new concept of Masters.
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