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PowerPoint Master Slides Beginners Tutorial

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PowerPoint Master Slides - Why Use Them?

This PowerPoint master slides beginners tutorial is obviously for beginners. If you've not used master slides before, then this is the guide for you.

So, why would you need to use PowerPoint master slides? First, imagine that you have a rather large presentation, this presentation contains many slides. Next, your marketing department has given you colours and graphics that you need to apply to this presentation. Trouble is, that you have already created your PowerPoint presentation and you don't fancy the prospect of going through each and every slide applying colours, layouts and images that you didn't have when you started creating the presentation. Knowing how to use PowerPoint master slides will automatically apply layouts that you create.

Or say you have a presentation that you created for another organisation and that particular PowerPoint file has different colours and images and you need to change them quick. By using PowerPoint master slides you can quickly update the presentation so that it uses your organisations colours, images, logos and layout.

You really need to see how powerful PointPoint master slides are to believe how much time you can save in using them to quickly update your presentation.

This PowerPoint master slides beginners tutorial can be used with your current projects, but should you just want to follow along, then you are welcome to download exercise files for above video and the step by step guide below.

What will I learn in this PowerPoint Master Slides Beginners Tutorial?

Basically, in this PowerPoint Master slides tutorial, you will learn how to change a presentation that currently looks like this:

PowerPoint Master Slides beginners tutorial starting file

Into something that looks like this:

PowerPoint Master Slides - completed exercise file

All of this is accomplished by using the master slides feature in PowerPoint. So you won't have to update each slide individually. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can update existing presentations.

So if you want to follow along then you can download the following: PowerPoint Master Slides Exercise Files.

OK, now that you've download the exercise files let's open the powerpoint-master-slides-start.pptx file.

As you can see it looks pretty boring.

Now, the first thing to do is to change the font of all the slides. Click on the text of any slide and you will see that the font is currently Calibri.

What we will do is to use slide masters to update the font of all the slides at once.

Viewing the Slides Masters in PowerPoint - 2:18

To view slide masters in PowerPoint do the following:

  1. Click the View tab at the top.
    PowerPoint View Tab
  2. Now, click Slide Master.
    Slide Master Button - PowerPoint Tutorial
  3. Click the Slide Master on the left.

  4. Now, highlight the text "Click to edit Master title style". (7:39)
    Change Fonts using Master Slides
  5. You can now change the font to Verdana.

  6. Still on the master slide, highlight the bullet points in the content box below and change the font to Verdana.
    Using slide masters to change the font

Adding Graphics to a Layout Master

Ok! So hopefully you're now aware of what a slide master is. So I know the question that you must be asking right now and that is: "If, when in slide master view, only the top slide is the master slide what are all the other slides beneath it?".

That's a good questions and the answer is "Layouts". You see that each slide master contains a number of layout slides. When we changed the font of the slide master, all the fonts on each layout slide, within that master, also changed. Sof you click on the Title and Content Layout slide you will see that the font on that layout is also Verdana. Although we didn't directly change the font on that layout.

Title and Content layout slide

You can see from the picture above, the pink arrow is pointing to the title and content layout slide. If you select any text on the slide you will see that the font is Verdana.

Now, it's on this particular layout (title and content) that we want to add coloured rectangles, and a company logo. This is because we don't want the rectangles and logo to appear on every slide. We only want them to appear on the slides that have the bullet points on them. So let's do this:
(Video timestamp - 14:30)

  1. Ensure that you are viewing the master slides.
  2. Select the tile and content layout slide. (See above picture).
  3. Next on the Ribbon click Insert.
    Adding graphics to layout slides
  4. From the Shapes drop down menu and select the rectangle shape.
    Insert rectangle master layout powerpoint
  5. After that drag to draw a rectanlge at the top of the page.
    Drag rectangle on master layout slide
  6. Next, using resize handle at the bottom centre of the rectanble adjust the height of the rectangle shape to look like below:

  7. Our next step is to change the colour of the rectangle. Make sure that the rectangle is selected then click on the Shape Format tab on the Ribbon.
    (Video timestamp - 14:55.)
    Change shape colour in powerpoint master slides
  8. Now, click on the Shape Fill drop-down menu then select More Fill Colours.
    More fill colours in PowerPoint master slides
  9. Now you will need to select on the Custom tab at the top. (That is if Custom is not already the selected tab).
    Custom colours tab in PowerPoint
  10. Now enter the following colours into the Red, Green and Blue boxes.
    Red: 69
    Green: 117
    Blue: 25

    RGB colours for custom colours in PowerPoint
    You can see that a green colour is selected. This is how you would ensure that your colours are as accurate as can be. You might ask your marketing department what RGB colours your company uses.
  11. Click OK. (You will see that the rectangle is green. Now we need to remove any outlines).
  12. With the rectangle shape still selected Select the Shape Outline drop down menu and choose No outline.
    Remove outline from shape in Microsoft PowerPoint
    (Now that the outline has been removed from the shape we need to duplicate the rectangle.)
  13. Hold down the control key (Ctrl) on your keyboard and using the mouse drag a copy of the rectangle down to below the title.
    (See how to duplicate in the video tutorial - 16:14)
    Drag to copy a shape in PowerPoint
  14. Copy the rectangle again so that it's placed at the bottom of the slide.
    Drag to copy shortcut in Microsoft PowerPoint
    (Your layout slide should look like above).
  15. Next, click away to de-select all the shapes on the layout slide.
  16. Now, holding down the ctrl key duplicate the top rectangle so that the duplicate is placed just below. Then change the colours of that rectangle to:
    Red: 226
    Green: 118
    Blue: 0

    Colouring shapes in PowerPoint

If you have followed along your PowerPoint master slide layout should look like:

PowerPoint layout master slides with graphics

If you close (Slide Master - Close Master View) the master view and look at your presentation you will see that all the slides with the Title and Content layout applied will have updated. The green and orange rectangles should now be visible.

How to add a logo to multiple slides in PowerPoint?

The next thing we're going to do in this PowerPoint master slides beginners tutorial is to add the logo. The plan is to go back to the same title and content layout slide, and place a logo in the top right corner. So let's crack on.

This time, however, to open our slide masters we are going to use a shortcut.

  1. Hold down shift on the keyboard and click on the normal view button at the bottom right of the screen.

    (Cool little shortcut for master slides eh?).
  2. Now you can select the title and content layout slide we have been working on previously.
    Selecting title and content layout slides from master slides
  3. To insert a picture select Insert on the Ribbon.
    Insert on Ribbon in PowerPoint
  4. Next, choose Pictures - This Device.
    Insert picture from device in PowerPoint
  5. Double-click on logo.png to insert the 2 B Talking Logo picture.
    Insert picture in Master Slides in PowerPoint
  6. Drag the logo to the top right corner and resize the logo so that it fits nicely on the orange and green rectangles.

    Looking good! Now, we shall add a circle as a background shape to really set off the logo.
  7. From the Ribbon choose Insert - Shape then choose the Oval shape.
    Insert Oval PowerPoint
  8. Now, hold down shift, drag to draw a circle on the page.
    Drawing a circle in PowerPoint
  9. Select Shape Fill and change the colour to white.

  10. Now drag the circle in front of the 2BTalking logo and resize.
    (Remember to hold the shift key down).
    PowerPoint tutorial move and adjust circle
    (As you can see the circle is covering the logo, so we need to send it behind the logo.)
  11. Ensure that the white circle is selected then select on Shape Format on the Ribbon at the top.
  12. Choose the Send Backward drop-down list then choose Send Backward.
    (See how to send backward in the tutorial video - 22:35)
    Move a shape behind another shape in PowerPoint
    You should now see your logo with the white circle behind.
    White circle behind logo in PowerPoint
    (Now to change the outline of the circle to match the orange band.)
  13. To start off with, keeping the circle selected, click the Shape Outline drop down menu and notice that PowerPoint has remembered the orange colour. Click on the orange colour in recent colours.
    Shape Outline recent colours PowerPoint training
  14. Next, click on Shape Outline again and navigate to Weight then pick More lines.
    Change the thickness of a shape outline in PowerPoint
  15. In the Format Shape section on the right change the line thickness to 10pt.
    Changing the line thickness of a shape in PowerPoint
  16. After doing that, we will align the circle and the picture. If the circle is already selected hold down the shift key and select on the picture.
    (You should see them both select like below).
    Selecting multiple shapes in PowerPoint
    (See how to align shapes in the tutorial video - 24:14).
  17. Now, click Shape Format on the Ribbon and pick the Align drop down list.
    Align objects list in PowerPoint
  18. From the Align drop down list select Align Center, then select the list again and choose Align Middle.
    Align middle and center selections in PowerPoint.
    (Now your circle, with the image on top, should be perfectly aligned).
  19. Group the circle and image so that they are as one object. Click the group drop down menu and select Group.
    Group Objects in PowerPoint
    (See how to group shapes on the tutorial video - 25:18).
    (Now you have grouped the circle and image, you can resize and move them both as if they were one.)
  20. Close Slide Master View.

If you now view your presentation, you can see that by adding the logo to the title and content layout, the 2 B Talking logo has automatically been added throughout your presentation.

Adding Animations Using Slide Masters in PowerPoint

Video tutorial - 26:09.

You can add animations to a layout slide. The benefit of this is that any animation you add will, of course, update any slide based on that master layout. Let's add some animations.

  1. View your slide masters. (View - Slide Master).
  2. Now that you are in slide master view choose the title and content layout slide that we've been working on.
    Title and Layout Slide Master
  3. On the title and content slide master, click on the border of the content placeholder.
    Select border for animating one by one in PowerPoint
    (It's important that you select the border of the PowerPoint master slide so that the bullet points will animate one at a time. If you don't do this then animating the bullets separately will involve going into the animation pane and waste time.)
  4. Now, click Animations from the Ribbon and select the Fade animation.
    Fade animation on a PowerPoint master slide
  5. Next, close master slide view.
  6. Press F5 on the keyboard to run your PowerPoint slideshow presentation from the beginning. When you press your mouse each bullet-point should fade in one at a time.

The common error here is not selecting on the border when you apply your animation. In step 3 above have a look at the picture. You can see that the border has been select by the fact that the border has little round resize handles in the corners and on the edges of the shape. If you don't see these you haven't got the border selected.

Customising Bullet Points on a PowerPoint Slide Master

Let's face it! The standard bullets in PowerPoint are as boring as anything. Yes they do the job for a large report, but have no place in PowerPoint.

Next, in this comprehensive PowerPoint master slides beginners tutorial, we're going to customise the bullet points on the master slide title and content layout so that they appear as little green targets.

  1. First, View - Slide Masters.
    (Shift Click normal view button - handy shortcut - video timestamp - 31:00).
  2. Next, Select the Title and content layout from the left.
    (It's the same one we've been working on all this time.)
  3. Click anywhere in the first line of text which currently says Click to edit Master text styles.Using slide masters to customise bullet points in PowerPoint
  4. After that, from the Home tab on the Ribbon select the bullet points drop-down list and select bullets and numbering. - 32:00.
    Bullets and Number option in PowerPoint
  5. Next, in the Bullets and Numbering box, click Customize.
    Bullets and Numbering box in PowerPoint with Customize highlighting in Pink.
  6. Now, from the font drop down menu, choose Wingdings.
    Wingdings font chosen from the custom bullet point box in PowerPoint
  7. Choose the character that looks like the target.
    (Alternatively, you can type 164 into the Character code box - 33:22.)

  8. Click OK. (Now, to colour the bullet point the green we've been using).
  9. Click the Color drop down menu and choose green from recent colours.
    (Tutorial video - 34:04).
    Choosing a recent colour to colour a bullet point
  10. Click OK to view your green target bullet points.

    (We need to adjust spacing between the bullet and the text to the right of the bullet. We also need to adjust the spacing between bullets. - 34:44).
  11. First, click to left of the C in the text Click to edit master text styles.
    Using slide masters to customise bullet points in PowerPoint
  12. Next, if necessary, click View and check the Ruler checkbox to show the rulers.
    (If this box is already checked you, obviously, don't need to check it.)
    Show rulers in PowerPoint
  13. Now you can use the hanging indent to drag the text away from the bullet point.|
    See on the tutorial video - 35:20.

    (It can be a bit fiddly so have patience, you may find it useful to view the video).
  14. Next thing to do is to increase the line spacing, so that it doesn't look so bunched up. If you want to know what I mean then close the slide master view and look at how each line is spaced.
    PowerPoint slide with arrows pointing out that the standard line spacing is bunched up together.
  15. Let's sort this, so swap back to master view. (View - Slide Masters).
  16. Next, click anywhere in on the top line of text.
  17. Now click Home then from the line spacing drop-down list select line spacing options.
    Line spacing options menu in PowerPoint
  18. Change after to 10pt then click OK.
    Paragraph options box with space after at 10pt.
  19. Click OK.
  20. Close Slide Masters view.
    (Slide Masters - Close Master View).

Now you have used slide masters to update bullet points across your presentation, you can see how powerful and effective PowerPoint slide masters are. They not only save you a heap of time, but they also add consistency across your PowerPoint presentation.

So, hopefully, you can see this PowerPoint master slides beginners tutorial's usefulness in your every day working life.


Creating a Custom Layout Master Slide in PowerPoint

(Tutorial Video - 37:57)

You know, when using PowerPoint master slides, you don't have to stick to the standard layouts that you get with PowerPoint. You can create your own custom layouts. By adding placeholders you can place pictures and other content within the slide master layout and apply them to exisitng slides in your PowerPoint presentation. Doing this will allow you to easily update and control mutliple slides using just one layout slide.

Let's add a custom layout slide that will contain an image placeholder. This image placeholder will allow you to add different images on each of the slides. However, you will be able to ensure that each image has the same dimensions (height and width) so that your slide show looks really consistant.

Duplicating a PowerPoint Master Slides Layout

Let's first duplicate the title and content layout that we've been working with so far. If you want to use the video tutorial for this goto timestamp 38:45.

  1. First view master slides. (View - Slide Master).
  2. Right click on the Title and Content layout and choose duplicate layout.
    Duplicate slide master layout in PowerPoint option
  3. Right-click on your newly copied slide master layout and choose Rename.
    Rename slide master layout menu
  4. In the Rename Layout box enter: "content_picture".
    Rename Layout box renamed content_picture
  5. Then hit Rename.
  6. Reduce the width of the content placeholder to make way for the picture placeholder.
    Reducing the size of the content placeholder
  7. Next, from the Slide Master tab on the Ribbon, click Insert Placeholder and choose Picture.
    Insert Placeh
older Picture options
  8. Drag to draw a picture placeholder to the right of the content placeholder.
    Picture placeholder in PowerPoint master slides

Now you have inserted your picture placeholder, it's time to appy your new slide layout to the presentation and start adding some pictures.

Adding Images to a Picture Placeholder in PowerPoint Master Slides

When using Picture placeholders, it's important that you correctly insert the pictures. It is quite straight-forward but a little guidance in this regard will be worth it's weight in gold. Especially should you want to make sure your images have a consistant width, height and position across your presentation.

View in video tutorial - 41:49.

  1. Close Master Slides view.
  2. Select the second slide of your presentation on the left, then hold down the shift key and click the last slide in your presentation.

  3. With all the slides selected click the Layout drop down list at the top then choose the new content_picture custom slide master layout.
    Content Picture custom slide master layout selected
    (If you click through your presentation you can see that the picture placeholder has been added to all the selected slides. This is because now those slides in the presentation have the new content_picture master slide custom layout applied.)
  4. Select the 2nd slide in presentation.
  5. Click the add picture icon in the Picture Placeholder.
    Add picture to image placeholder in PowerPoint
  6. Double-click the two-people-presenting.jpeg file from the exericse files.
    Insert picture into placeholder in PowerPoint
  7. Select Crop button at top.
    Crop picture button in PowerPoint
    (Close Design Ideas if you see it. This will only appear on later versions of PowerPoint).
  8. Drag the image within the crop area so that you see only the woman on the right.
    Video timestamp - 42:38.
    Drag image in crop area in PowerPoint
  9. Click away from the image to deselect.
  10. Select Slide 3 and insert the picture of the lady speaking (speaking.jpeg) and use the crop button so that you can see her.
    Adjusting a picture to fit in the crop area in PowerPoint
  11. Select the 4th slide insert the illustrative-flower.jpeg image.
    Picture of a illustrated flower in an image placeholder in PowerPoint
  12. Insert the natural-flow.jpeg image into the image placeholder on slide 5.
    Oily water picture in an image placeholder in PowerPoint
  13. Finally, insert the questions-yellow.jpeg image into the placeholder on slide 6.Use the crop button as before to move the question mark into the middle.
    Question mark in an image placeholder in PowerPoint
  14. Finally, select slide 7 and highlight all the bullets and right-click and select convert to SmartArt.
    Convert to SmartArt menu in PowerPoint
  15. Ensure that List is selected on the left and choose Basic Block List.
    Selecting Basic Block List PowerPoint SmartArt
  16. Click OK.
  17. Ensure that you are currently on slide 7 then from the Home tab on the Ribbon click Layout and choose the Title and Content layout.
    Selecting Title and Content Layout in PowerPoint master slides
    (As we don't have a picture for the last slide we converted the boring bullet points into smart art. This should make the review slide in the presentation look a little more palatable.)
  18. Now to change the colours of the smart art graphic to match the design. Select the top left smart art rectangle then shift-click the bottom right.
    Hold shift to select multiple components in PowerPoint smartart
  19. Click Shape Fill from the top and choose the green from recent colours.
    Selecting recent colours to colour SmartArt in PowerPoint
  20. Now, select the other two rectangles and colour them orange.
    (You should find the correct colour orange in the recent colours.)
    Changing the standard colours of smartart in PowerPoint

Your PowerPoint presentation is almost complete. Also, in utilising master slides and layouts, you are able to update your presentation quickly and easily. Even if you're presentation is over 100 slides.

To finish this PowerPoint master slides beginners tutorial, we will change the title slide so that we have a background image placeholder. This will enable you, or anyone else using your masters, to add their own background image easily.

How to add an Image Placeholder as a Background

Remember, if you are finding this PowerPoint Master Slides beginners tutorial hard to follow you can alway use the video at the top of this page. Sometimes seeing how I go about doing something can make it click in your mind.

Right! Let's get a background image placeholder onto the title slide.

  1. View your slide masters. (View - Slide Master).
  2. From the layouts on the left, select the Title layout.
    Slide Master Title Layout
  3. Click the border of the subtitle style text box, and press delete on the keyboard to remove it.
    Subtitle selected with Press Delete on Keyboard text
  4. Remove the 3 boxes at the bottom that currently contain date, footer and slide number. Use the mouse to drag around them, then press delete.
    Pink rectangle around footer objects in PowerPoint slide master
  5. Adjust the width of the title placeholder so that it covers the width of the slide, then reduce the text size to 48pt.
  6. Now, align the text in the title box to the middle.
    Align text Vertically by choosing middle from Align Text
  7. From the Slide Master tab on the Ribbon Click Insert Placeholder and choose Picture.
  8. Drag across the entire slide so that the picture placeholder covers the whole slide.
  9. Click the Send Backward drop-down list and choose Send to Back.
    Send picture to back in stacking order
  10. Select the border of the Click to edit Master title style then click Shape Format - Shape Fill and select More fill colours.
    More fill colours in PowerPoint master slides
  11. Choose black as a colour and change the transparency to 60%.
    Transparency in More Colours set to 60%
  12. Click OK.
  13. Change the font colour to White.
    Text Fill White
  14. Close MastersSlides view, and select the first slide in your presentation.
  15. Click Layout and then Title Slide to update the layout.
    PowerPoint Slide Masters layout update
  16. Great! Now you are ready to add in a picture. On the first slide in the presentation, click the add image button in the middle of the placeholder.
    Insert Image in PowerPoint using a slide master layout placeholder
  17. Double-click on the two-people-presenting.jpeg image to insert it.

You done it! Well done on carrying on to the end of this PowerPoint master slides beginners tutorial. I hope you thought that it was worth it. Using Master Slides effectively in PowerPoint will save you a heap of time. You will get consistency across presentations. It also makes it easier for others to create PowerPoint presentations using your masters slides.

PowerPoint Master Slides Completed presentation

If you want to know more then Microsoft themselves offer hints and tips on Master Slides.

After going through this PowerPoint master slides beginners tutorial you may be interested in other free help tutorials we offer.

Other Tutorials




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