Slide Master in PowerPoint 2007

When you go to see a play, or watch a television show, you are aware that there must be a lot going on backstage. The lights come up and down, scenery moves on and off stage, and actors enter in costume. Any good “show” involves more than meets the eye.

The same is true with Microsoft PowerPoint. Naturally, as you are creating a PowerPoint presentation, you have recourse to formatting, transitions, animations and many other tools that will make a high-quality slide show.

What many don’t realize is that there is a “backstage” to PowerPoint. What would you do if, for example, you needed to insert the company logo into each slide in your 100-slide presentation? Would you insert the logo 100 times? Many would. Or what if you needed the second-level bullets all to be a different color and have a different bullet character? Would you go to each of the slides that had second-level bullets and re-format them all individually? Many would.

These sorts of changes and additions to the presentation can be done very easily and efficiently with the Microsoft PowerPoint Slide Master. The Slide Master is, effectively, the “backstage” of PowerPoint.

To find the Slide Master, click the View Tab:

Microsoft Powerpoint Slide Master Figure 1






There you will find the Slide Master View button:

Microsoft Powerpoint Slide Master Figure 2






Click it, and the Slide Master will appear:

Microsoft Powerpoint Slide Master Figure 3

Briefly – At the top, in the Ribbon, are all of the normal tools you would use to format and manipulate the content of a slide. In the main pane is the Slide Master itself. At the left side of the window is, at the top, a thumbnail of the slide master. It is the largest of the thumbnails. In order to work on the show as a whole, you will need to be sure that this thumbnail is selected, and that the Slide Master does indeed appear, as shown, in the main pane. See also the lower left corner of the screen, just above the start button, where it says “Slide Master.” This proves that it is the Slide Master that is showing. The other, smaller thumbnails on the left, beneath the Slide Master thumbnail, are sub-masters for slides made using the various available layouts. For example, the one directly the Slide Master thumbnail is a sub-master for title slides. If you want your title slides to look different from the others, click on this thumbnail and manipulate this master. It will only affect title slides.

We do not have space, nor may you have time, to go into detail on the very many things you can do with the Slide Master. The most important thing to remember is that, when you make a change to the Slide Master, it will affect all of the slides in the show. For example, if you were to insert (using the usual procedure) a graphic such as your company logo into the Slide Master, that logo would appear in the same spot in every slide in the show.

Here in the Slide Master, you can create background graphics, insert slide numbering and date, add footer text such as the meeting theme or company motto (those last three are at the bottom of the master – see the picture.) You can select the title placeholder and re-format the font, color, size and add effects to the title text. There would be no point in trying to change what the placeholder says. It is only there to represent all of the titles in the show. In the area where you see “Second level” and “Third level” you can affect the way that body copy in the show will appear, including the appearance of the bullet characters and formatting of each bullet level. The line that says “Click to edit Master text styles” represents the first-level bullets.

It is possible to have more than one Slide Master in any given presentation. Each will have its own set of sub-masters, and can be styled individually. When multiple masters exist, you can select slides in the presentation and instruct them to follow one master or the other.

One of the great things about the Slide Master is that once it is formatted and manipulated to your satisfaction, and the inevitable changes are requested, those changes may well be able to be done in the Slide Master, so that to effect a change in hundreds of slides may be done with just a few clicks in the Master.
There is a Slide Master in every presentation. It defaults to whatever formatting and layout choices have been made in the theme that is in effect on the presentation, and, as we have seen, can be used to alter those choices any way you like, quickly and efficiently.

Bottom line: If you find yourself going from slide to slide doing the same change or addition to each slide, stop and think; “I should be doing this in the Slide Master.”

I hope that this serves as a useful introduction to the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2007. There is much more to know. If desired, I can create further blog posts in this space to expand on the Slide Master’s specific capabilities or on other aspects of PowerPoint.

Thanks very much for your time and attention!
Jim Wearne

(PS: You may notice that throughout this entry, I have not once used the term “Slide Deck” or “Deck.” I am on a one-man crusade to eliminate the use of “Deck” to describe a slide show. I’m not sure why, but hearing “Deck” for “slide show” or “presentation” is like squeaking chalk on a blackboard to me. Please consider joining me in this crusade and stop (if you use it) using “deck” to describe a slide show.)

Interested in learning more about Microsoft PowerPoint? Visit Directions Training or call 1-855-575-8900 and register for one of their Microsoft PowerPoint courses offered all over the US.

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