How to create a reusable template with PowerPoint

You have created a wonderful presentation in PowerPoint and you would like to use it as a template for future presentations (same applies to other apps like Word for instance). You can transform this presentation into a template. However, you need first to understand the slide master concept.

One Master to rule all the Layouts

Open this PowerPoint presentation you want to save as a template, then go to the View tab and click Slide Master. You should have something that looks like the screenshot below.

This is basically the template of your presentation, its underlying structure. If you make modification to any of the slides layout, it will reflect in all your presentation slides. For instance, like changing the font, the color, or adding a graphical element.

Notice the hierarchy in the left pane. The first slide at the top is the slide master and the below slides are called layouts. Each slide of your presentation depends on a specific layout, we will come to this in a minute. Yet, the Slide Master (the first at the top) defines the common elements to all below layouts. Change the color of the title of the Slide Master, all layout title will change accordingly. There’s an exception to this: if you update the color of the title of a specific layout as individual modification on a layout always takes precedence to the Slide Master. For instance: try changing the title color of the first layout, then change the Slide Master title color, you will see the new color does apply to all layouts except the first one which keeps its own color.

You can have multiple Master Slides and layouts, which is a nice feature when you cut and paste slides from various presentations. In that case, all pasted slides comes with their layouts if you “Keep Source Formatting”. In the creation of a template, for consistency and size of the file, do not create multiple Slide Masters, add new layouts if need be and Rename them with something meaningful. A meaningful name will be useful when you apply a template to a slide of your presentation.

Layout template to slide relationship

In Normal view, right click on the slide you want to apply a layout to in the Slides tab on the left, point on Layout and chose the right layout, as chosen below.

You can work on each slide master and each layout to finalize your template. Note that you can change the Handout master and the Notes master as well if you intend to create a printable version of your presentation. Very useful to leave to your audience.

In the next episode, we will see how to save and reuse your template.

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