How to Use the PowerPoint Slide Master - Video Tutorial

How to Use the PowerPoint Slide Master - Video Tutorial

When you want to edit your slides quickly, it’s best that you use the Slide Master. In this Slide Master view, you can easily standardize fonts, colors and images (such as logos). You can make several adjustments from one place and apply it across many slides. It’s a convenient tool! To learn more about how to get to the Slide Master and maximize its functions, watch this 6-minute video:

Video Transcript

A PowerPoint presentation is as much about delivering our content as it is about representing who we are as a person or brand. The Slide Master is where all that magic happens.

Slide Master - Overview

Let's start a new presentation and make it awesome - just like the Konsus template (Ctl+N). To open the Slide Master, go to "View" tab, then "Slide Master" (alt, W, M).

The Slide Master is a collection of template slides that define the overall look & feel of your presentation. This is where you reflect the visual identity of your brand by your choice of colors and fonts. You also build the basic structure of your slides by how you layout the various elements such as titles and content.

Let's start customizing our Slide Master.

Slide Size

The first thing to do is deciding on a slide size - go to "Slide Master" tab, then "Slide Size" (Alt, M, S).
The usual options are 4:3 or 16:9, but custom sizes can be defined.

Pre-Defined Themes

Office comes with some pre-defined themes, so you can select one of those by going to "Slide Master" tab then (click on) "Themes." Decide on an existing theme and you already have a good looking, though generic, presentation.

However, if you want to make it truly yours, more fun is on the way.


Let's start with our choice of fonts. Go to "Slide Master" tab and select "Fonts", then "Customize Fonts" at the bottom. Pick a font for the titles and a font for the content. Usually, the title font is a lighter font than the content font.

See how the fonts on the layouts have already changed?

If we close the Slide Master to go back to content, you'll see that the actual presentation has also changed to reflect our choice of fonts! This works because the slides in your presentation are based on layouts in the Slide Master.


If the colors in the color picker are not suitable for your presentation, we can select another existing color theme. The colors we select here will be reflected in the Slide Master and in the presentation itself. For a truly customized feel, we can define our own color theme.

Go back to the Slide Master view.

On the "Slide Master" tab, select "Colors" and then "Customize Colors..." Now you can define 2 pairs of text colors and 6 accents colors that will be used throughout your presentation. Any element based on one of this color slots will change its color automatically... and this is where you can already begin to see the role of the Slide Master.

If you don't know the RGB code of a given color you can find it by creating a shape and filling it with the eyedropper tool, and then going to "Shape Fill," and then "More Colors."

Few brands use more than 3 colors, so it's a good idea to use complementary colors for the remaining slots. Pay attention to the luminescence and saturation of the main brand colors. Some brands are more colorful, others are more muted.

Name your color theme and save it.

Background Graphics

On the Master Layout you can also put some graphical elements that give your presentation personality. These elements will show up on all layouts in this master.

We'll add a little K for Konsus in the top-left corner. This sends the message that we are there for when our customers need us - but we are also out of the way.

Now move to the layouts in the slide master and notice how all the placeholders follow the design that was set on the Master Layout.

If we need a layout to be a little different, such as a cover slide, we can click "Hide Background Graphics."

Generally, a presentation needs the following layouts:

  • Cover slide: which is the first slide in the presentation
  • Agenda: for listing the sections of the presentation
  • Title slide: for separating main sections of the presentation
  • A slide for general content
  • Two-column content slide
  • Comparison slide
  • Picture & text slide, usually showing a chart and some comments

Other layouts may be needed, depending on the content of your presentation.


Go back to the Slide Master, click on the root slide and select "Master Layout" on the "Slide Master" tab.
You can see the placeholder items such as "Title," "Text," "Date," "Footer" and "Slide Number."
These act like fields in a form - empty areas where our content will go in when we actually fill in our presentation.

Let's go ahead and customize the font size and color of the "Title" placeholder in the Master Layout. This will change all "Title" placeholders in the slide master accordingly.

We can further customize the placeholders on the individual layouts, by adding new ones (such as for subtitles) or changing all their usual attributes: fill color & outline color, text properties, bulleting & numbering, indenting, and even shape so we can have a circle or arrow placeholder!

All these changes will be reflected in our presentation on slides that use the respective layout.

Using Layouts

Now that we have customized our layout, we can use it in our presentation. Close the Slide Master. Create a new slide, and then on the "Home" tab click "Layout" and select the desired appearance of the new slide.

We can change between layouts and the content will automatically fit.

Multiple Slide Masters

You can even define multiple slide master within a single PowerPoint document, to use different looks in different sections of your presentation.

One odd request was to define a color theme with more standard colors than PowerPoint allows - so we did two Masters with similar layouts but different colors.

PowerPoint will discard unused Slide Masters. To counter that, select the Master layout and click "Preserve."


You can save your theme by going to "Themes," (and then) "Save Current Theme..." The main advantage of themes is that the same theme can also be used in Word and Excel, providing a set of documents with a unified look and feel.

You can also save the presentation as a template (*.POTX extension) that contains color, fonts and slide layouts.

Setting up Slide Master ensures you end up with a consistent and good looking presentation - that will be easy to re-template in the future!

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