The PowerPoint slide master part 2 – individual design according to your own wishes

The first part of our small series about the PowerPoint slide master was about the handling and the possibilities that the program provides through presets. The second part is about leaving PowerPoint’s design templates behind and exploring your own design options.  

As we have seen, PowerPoint offers a wide range of design elements and design templates. Of course, the program does some work for you at this point, because it offers proven and quite appealing designs. However, the solutions are of course “off-the-shelf” and offer only limited possibilities to realize your own ideas. It actually gets exciting when you deviate from the standard grid and use your own grid. The PowerPoint slide master can be used for individual design. You will then have the opportunity to play with a new layout, try out your own ideas and add more zing to your own slide presentation. Just by changing the grid, your presentation will then be different from others.

The preparation

Before you start designing, you should make some basic decisions. You should already have a rough idea of how you want your PowerPoint presentation to look later:

– Who is your target audience, or for which audience should the slides be created?

– Should the presentation be kept rather factual, sober or do you want to impress with visual effects?

– do you want to create your presentation in portrait or landscape format?

– Which background is suitable? Should the same background be used throughout the presentation, or would it be beneficial to change the background every now and then?

– What content should be accommodated? Are keywords enough for you? Or do you want to include tables, photos or videos?

An example of PowerPoint slide master customization

As an example, I’ll show you the individual steps for inserting a table with a design grid.

  1. Start with a blank presentation. Select Start Slide Layout Blank.
  2. Now select View-Master Views-Slide Master.
  3. To insert a table as a grid base, now select Insert Table Table . Insert a table. For our example, let’s take a table of five columns and five rows. Now drag the table so large that it spans the entire slide.
  4. You can use guide lines in the PowerPoint program to help you with your design. The ALT+F9 key combination can be used to show and hide the guidance lines.
  5. Now it’s time to build the leader lines along the table columns and rows. To do this, you must first switch off the alignment grid. To do this, right-click on the background next to the slide. Now select the Grid and Guides command from the context menu. Check if there are check marks at the options Guiding lines and Smart guiding lines in the follow up menu. If this is the case, remove the check marks in each case.
  6. Now you can start building guides. However, changes to a management line cannot be reversed.
  • To add a leader, right-click on the slide background to open the context menu. Now select Grid and Guides and then Add Vertical Guide or Add Horizontal Guide.
  • To move a guide line, click it with the mouse and then drag it to the desired location while holding down the left mouse button.
  • If you want to copy a guide line, press the CTRL key and then drag the line to the desired position with the left mouse button pressed.
  • To delete a leader, drag it to a location outside the slide.
  1. Save your presentation now. Then duplicate the PowerPoint slide master by clicking on the left side of the slide overview and pressing ALT+D. Then delete the table on the first master slide. Now you can see only the guides on the slide. Thanks to the duplicated slide, however, you always have access to the table and can later offset the guides again to fit exactly.
  2. The next step is to now align the placeholders for title text, text area, image areas, etc. with the guides that form your new grid. You can now customize fonts, text alignments colors, etc. to your own liking.

The example just outlined (p.16ff) and many more practical tips on working with PowerPoint and working with the PowerPoint slide master, can be found in my book PowerPoint – Der Ratgeber für bessere Präsentationen, published by Vierfarben-Verlag.

Click here for the first part of our PowerPoint slide master series.

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Speaker and PowerPoint Trainer Matthias Garten

Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten as the expert for multimedia presentations and professional PowerPoint presentations knows about the art of professional slide design. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach (presentation training), member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the Presentation Conference, Presentation Bootcamp and Presentation Rocket Day. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 10,000 professional PowerPoint presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.