Tutorial: How To Make The Ultimate PowerPoint Template
This ultimate PowerPoint template guide is divided into 4 mini-tutorials. I’ll show you how you can change slide sizes as well as create/edit both templates and master slides. I’ve included screenshots for every step so you can easily see what I’m doing. By the end of this article, you should be a step closer to being a PowerPoint ‘expert’. This article was written in collaboration with 24Slides’ presentation designers.
PowerPoint Tutorial #1: How to Make A PowerPoint Template
In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how you can make awesome templates that make your audience go ‘WOW’ every single time!
PowerPoint templates are probably one of the best-kept secrets of some of the world’s most productive and busy individuals. You probably know a few of them… the hard-working and highly-efficient superhuman machines who churn out PowerPoint presentations in an hour or so (or maybe even less!).
And I’m not talking about those overused, boring and ugly-looking templates that were designed by someone stuck in the 1980s or 1990s! I’m talking about high quality and modern-looking PowerPoint slides.
What Exactly Are PowerPoint Templates?
PowerPoint templates are one or more slides with preset layouts, fonts, colors, and themes that you can use as a base or starting point when designing a PowerPoint presentation. Think of it as a ready-made PowerPoint file with fill-in-the-blank-spaces that’s just waiting for your content to get pasted on there.
A good PowerPoint template would have a nice set of layouts you can choose from with some eye-catching color combinations to boot. It would also have some well-placed placeholders ready for you to drop some text, images, videos, charts, or tables into. 24Slides has some eye-catching examples.
Do You Need a PowerPoint Template?
Most people would probably say yes. Until they find out that in order to get their hands on those stylish and modern-looking premium templates, they have to shell out some money. Of course, if you can afford to spare a few dollars, then I can guarantee those premium templates are absolutely worth it!
Don’t worry though, if you’re not ready to buy one right now this tutorial should give you plenty of ideas so you can create your own custom templates from scratch.
Preparing The Groundwork For Your Template
Before you start making your template you have to answer the following questions first:
- Who is going to be using/editing the template?
Is it for personal use? Are PowerPoint-savvy people going to be editing it? If non-savvy or time-strapped people are going to be using it, then you have to make your template as easy to use as possible. Think drag-and-drop easy.
- What is the template for?
Is it for presentations at school, work, church, or maybe even a PechaKucha? Is it for a sales pitch, a boardroom presentation, a project status update, a case study, etc?
Knowing what the template is going to be used for will allow you to design your template slides accordingly. A template for school is going to be designed differently from a corporate template.
- How is the template or the finished PowerPoint slides going to be presented?
Will the slides be presented on a projector? If so, what’s the resolution? Or would it be on a TV screen or on a live webinar?
It might seem like you’re overthinking but this information is actually vital because the wrong slide sizes could actually ‘destroy’ your presentation no matter how well-designed the slides may be.
If you don’t know the answer yet, then consider making different slide sizes for your template. Use the most popular ones like 16:9, 16:10, 4:3 or whatever common resolutions are used in your organization.
Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to make a template that’s designed for a specific purpose. The more specific the purpose, the better your template will be.
For example, if you plan on making a template for company presentations, i.e. the presentation will be used in company meetings or events, then you can add the company logo, add some slides with company information on it, etc. You can also use company colors instead of some random color palette for ‘branding’ purposes.
If you plan on making a template for sales pitch decks for a startup, you may wish to design a template with the following slides:
- A title slide
- A basic info slide
- Our team slide
- Portfolio slide
- Timeline slide
- Revenue slide
- SWOT slide
- Call to action slide
For school presentations you may wish to make a template with your school’s name and logo on it, your name, your professor, etc. as well as maybe add some shapes, icons or images you want to appear in your slides.
To spice up your presentation, you can maybe even add your school’s mascot in one of the layout slides!
How To Make A PowerPoint Template
Now that you already have an idea of what your template will be all about, here’s what you need to do to put your thoughts and ideas into template slides.
Option 1: Edit the Slide Master.
To do this, go to View > Slide Master.
You will then be presented with the slide master and the different slide layouts. The slide master is the first slide on the left pane and the layouts are those that come after the slide master. See image below.
First, click on Master Layout so you can choose what placeholders will appear in ALL your slides.
When you click on Master Layout, this dialog box will appear:
Depending on who your template is for and what you will be using it for, you can choose to tick or untick all of the placeholders.
When editing the slide master, you have to be aware that everything you put in the slide master will appear in all the layout slides. This means if you put a logo on the master slide, then that logo will appear on all slides.
Here’s what it looks like when I added a large company logo to the master slide.
Option 2: Edit or add slide layouts
For the layouts, you can delete all the default layout slides that PowerPoint gives you. Don’t worry though those layouts are not going to disappear forever. The next time you open a blank PowerPoint file those layouts will be back.
To delete a layout, simply right click on the layout slide you want to delete and hit the Delete Layout button.
As you can see in the image above, you have the option to insert, duplicate, delete and rename a layout. You can even insert a slide master if you want to add more themes to your slides.
PowerPoint Tutorial #2: How to Change and Edit a Template
If you’ve ever wondered how you can go about changing and editing a PowerPoint template, then you’re reading the right article. In this tutorial, I’ll show you the different ways you can edit a template. I’ll also share some tips on how you can use PowerPoint templates to save you a lot time when designing your slides.
To begin with, I’ll define the terms used in this article as I know a lot of beginners are confused by the seemingly interchangeable terms in PowerPoint.
Here are the basic terms you should know by heart:
1. Templates. These are usually a group of slides with predefined layouts, colors, fonts, and more that you use as a base or ‘starting point’ when creating your PowerPoint presentation. Working off of a template means you spend less time crafting your own designs from scratch.
Templates can be made (1) from scratch by editing the master slide and layouts, (2) from an existing PowerPoint presentation, and (3) by downloading from various sources online such as Office Templates.
2. Themes. Themes work very similarly to templates in that you can create your own custom theme by editing the master slide(s) and its layouts. You can access the built-in themes by going to Design > Themes.
Themes are useful for creating cohesive designs across different Microsoft Office programs such as PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Outlook. When a single theme is applied across related Office documents, it creates a more sophisticated and professional look.
3. Slide Master. As the name implies, this is the master slide which affects all slides in the presentation. Whatever elements you choose to add in your slide master will appear in all subsequent layout slides. For instance, if you add a logo somewhere in your master slide, then all your layout slides will have the same logo.
You can edit your slide master by going to View > Slide Master. The slide master is the first and largest slide that appears on the left side of the screen.
4. Layouts. The layouts simply refer to the slide master layouts. Each theme will have one master slide and several associated layouts. You can add as many layouts as you want. You can edit your layouts by going to View > Slide Master.
In A Rush? Templates Are Your New Best Friend
Templates are literally life-savers for those who find themselves in a tight deadline. Creating awesome looking presentations from scratch will take a lot of time but if you work off of an already well-designed template, then you’re literally saving yourself countless hours hunched in front of your computer.
There are thousands of premium templates available on places like Graphic River and Creative Market.
These templates won’t cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, for just a few cups of coffee, you can have a professional template that you can use to create your own slides.
Of course, 24Slides also offers thousands of templates for free you can get started with.
How To Edit And Change A PowerPoint Template
In the previous section, you learned what a PowerPoint template is and how it can help you save a lot of time in designing your slides. Now, when working on templates it’s best to edit these to suit our current presentation requirements especially if you are presenting to the same group of people. I don’t think you want to appear lazy to your audience!
There is an infinite number of ways you can customize a template. You can adjust the layouts, the colors, the fonts, the backgrounds, etc. to suit your presentation needs. You can edit the slide master, the layouts and the individual PowerPoint slides. In short, you have full control over your slides’ design.
Let’s go over these options:
Editing Option 1. Edit The Slide Master
I’ve written detailed instructions on how to edit the slide master in Tutorial #1 of this article. Check out the section How To Make A PowerPoint Template > Edit The Slide Master.
Editing Option 2. Edit The Layouts
To edit the layout, go to View > Slide Master and click on any of the layout slides (not the first slide). When editing layouts, you can still edit the same elements you can edit in the master slide such as Themes, Colors, Fonts, Effects and Background Styles.
In the layout slides, you can now click on the Insert Placeholder option:
You can insert 8 different types of placeholders: Content, Text, Picture, Chart, Table, SmartArt, Media and Online Image.
Placeholders make it is easy for you to easily drag and drop different elements onto your slides. You can also easily edit these placeholders just like any regular PowerPoint slide by clicking on the element you wish to edit and clicking on the FORMAT tab.
How To Hide The Title, Footers, and Background Graphics Added In Master Slide In The Layout Slides
If you chose to add Title, Footers and any shapes or images such as logos in the master slide, then all these elements will appear in the layout slides too. However, PowerPoint gives us the ability to remove these elements in the individual layouts.
Perhaps you don’t want to have a header in one of the layouts or you don’t want to include a logo in another layout. You can do this easily by ticking or unticking these boxes as shown below:
Editing Option 3. Edit The Elements At Slide Level
Now that you know how to edit a master slide as well as the different layouts, the last option would be to edit the templates at the slide level. This just means designing and formatting various elements just like any other regular PowerPoint slide.
To edit individual slides, make sure you are in Normal View so you have access to the wealth of editing options available in PowerPoint:
Saving Your PowerPoint Slides as a Template or Theme
If you would like to use your PowerPoint slides as a ‘base’ or template for future presentations, then don’t just save it as a regular PowerPoint file. Instead, you should consider the following options:
1. Save as a Template – click on ‘Save As’ then on the ‘Save as type’ dropdown, make sure you select ‘PowerPoint Template’.
2. Save as a Theme – click on ‘Save As’ then on the ‘Save as type’ dropdown, select ‘Office Theme’.
Final Thoughts About Editing Templates
PowerPoint templates are very powerful tools that anyone can use on a daily basis. If you’ve got the cash to spare, don’t hesitate to get a couple of premium templates and use these as a ‘base’ to create even more templates and themes.
The possibilities are endless and if you stock up on your PowerPoint knowledge as well as design and typography, you can go beyond presenting unique slides and maybe even look into selling your own templates online.
PowerPoint Tutorial #3: How To Edit A Master Slide
In this section of this PowerPoint tutorial, you will learn the importance of using master slides to create presentation slides that have a consistent format and design. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll be in awe of how useful and time-saving master slides can be.
Many PowerPoint users often forego the use of master slides and instead go straight to creating, formatting and editing individual slides one by one. While there’s nothing wrong with this method, it’s just too time-consuming!
In a perfect world, we all want to create beautifully designed slides in just a few minutes. This is where PowerPoint templates and themes come in. But what if you want to make some changes to your templates and themes to make it unique? What do you do then?
You have two choices:
- You can either tweak the master slides to fit your design requirements; OR
- You can edit individual slides.
If you’ve got a grand total of 5-10 slides, then the second option is probably a no-brainer for most. But if you’re working on 50-100 slides or more, then you might want to cancel all your appointments for the day because you will be stuck in PowerPoint for HOURS.
Now that you have an idea of just how powerful master slides are, it’s time to show you where you can find the settings to edit these slides.
How To Edit A Master Slide
1. Make sure you are in Normal View. You can do this by going to View > Normal or you can click on the Normal icon at the bottom of your slides (see screenshot below).
2. Once you are in Normal View, go to View > Slide Master.
3. The SLIDE MASTER menu will then appear on the ribbon.
As you can see in the image above, you can do many things with your master slides and its layouts.
You can insert a new slide master (yes, you can have more than 1 if you want), you can insert/remove a new layout, you can insert placeholders, change themes/colors/fonts/effects/background styles, change the size of your slides, and more.
4. If you look at the left hand side, you will see there is one big slide at the top followed by smaller slides. This top slide is the slide master and the ones below are the layouts slides.
5. Remember that anything you put in the slide master will appear in ALL the layout slides. Take for example, the default fonts and font sizes in the master slide below. All the layout slides use the same fonts because these are the default fonts in the slide master.
Now watch what happens when I edit the slide master and change the colors and font style from the default Calibri to something else.
I also decided I wanted to use a new background so I chose some preset colors in my theme. Look what happens when I apply a green-ish gradient for my background – all the layout backgrounds automatically got updated!
Here’s what the numbers on the image above mean:
- Make sure you are in Slide Master view.
- Click on the top slide or the slide master.
- Click on Background Styles > Format Background so this specific menu will appear.
- Format the background as you like!
All your edits happen in real time so you can play around with how you want the default formatting for your slides to look like.
Viewing the Presentation Slides After Editing the Master Slide
Now, let’s go to the main presentation slides and see how they look like. To do this, we will need to close the Master View.
As you can see in the image below, the changes we’ve made to the slide master has been applied. The font style is no longer Calibri (it’s Aclonica font) and the background color has been updated from the default white color.
Any new slide we add to our presentation will have the default properties we’ve set in the master slide.
What If You Don’t Want A Layout To Use Some Master Slide Settings?
Let’s say for example you don’t want a slide to have the green background. What if you want to have a blue background instead? And you don’t want to use the bright red Aclonica font for your headings just for that particular layout?
Luckily for us, PowerPoint is flexible enough to make editing layouts an easy and straightforward process. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Click on the layout you want to edit. In our example, we will click on the layout immediately below the master slide (its default name is the Title Slide Layout).
2. Note how the ribbon at the top automatically grays out some of the settings that are only applicable to the master slide.
You can see that we can insert a slide master, layout, placeholders (text, content, images, and more). You can also choose to remove the title and footers that are present in the master slide, among other options too.
3. Since we want to use a blue background, we can right-click on the slide itself and click on Format Background. Or we can just go to Slide Master > Background Styles > Format Background.
To edit the font style and color, just highlight the text and right-click so the formatting options will appear. Alternatively, you can also format by going to Home > Font and then editing as you wish.
Here’s what the edited layout looks like:
You will see that the first layout has a different background, a different font style (I used Stencil font) and different font colors.
How To Use The New Layout In Your Presentation Slides
Okay, so we’ve done the hard work – we’ve updated our slide master and designed our layouts. Now we want to use the layouts in our presentation slides. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Close the Master View by going to Slide Master > Close Master View.
2. Choose the slide you want to edit (you can either create a new slide or edit an existing one).
3. There are a few ways you can go about changing the layout on your slides. You can go to Home > Layout or you can right click on the slide thumbnail or the slide itself to view these options:
You can see on the image above that our layout with the blue background is one of the layout options.
4. Click on the layout you would like to use for that particular slide.
Are You In Awe Of Master Slides Yet?
I hope this tutorial helped you see just how useful and powerful master slides can be. With a few mouse clicks and a few seconds of your time, you can change your presentation’s entire look. You don’t even need to click on individual slides to do the changes. Of course, you do have to give your master design and formatting some thought. You have to make sure it fits well with your presentation’s message and overall theme.
Master slides are so powerful you can make any template or theme uniquely yours. If you’ve got a few templates stored on your computer, try editing the master slides and saving the newly-edited file as a brand new template. Or simply play around with a blank file and design a new theme or template from scratch just by editing and designing your master slides.
PowerPoint Tutorial #4: How To Change The Size Of PowerPoint Slides
In last section of the ultimate PowerPoint template guide, I’m going to show you step by step how you can change the size of your PowerPoint slides from 4:3 to 16:9 and vice versa or to any other custom size you want.
Changing slide sizes is really very easy and straightforward if you haven’t done any work yet, i.e. you’re looking at a blank PowerPoint file. Just 3 clicks and you’re done. Voila – a new slide size!
It’s a different story when you’re changing slide sizes with content on it (text, images, tables, graphs, etc). I will tell you right now that it’s no fun at all. And depending on the number of slides, it may take you quite some time editing everything to make sure your content is readable on the new slide sizes! In fact, it might even be easier to just start from scratch.
The important takeaway here is that you MUST know how you’re going to present your slides because this will DICTATE your slide sizes. Are you going to be presenting using a projector? If yes, then you have to know the projector’s resolution because there are quite a number of different resolutions, such as:
- SVGA – 800×600 pixels, 4:3 aspect ratio
- XGA – 1024×768 pixels, 4:3 aspect ratio
- WXGA – 1280×800 pixels, 16:10 aspect ratio
- WUXGA – 1920×1200 pixels, 16:10 aspect ratio
You could also quite possibly do your presentation on a television, a webinar or maybe even just upload it to SlideShare or YouTube. There’s a lot of possibilities on how you’ll present your slides so ask around until you get a definite answer. Trust me, you’re saving yourself from a major headache!
What Are The Old and New Default Slide Sizes In PowerPoint?
Microsoft has done a great job adapting to changing technology standards and with it they’ve updated their default slide sizes from 4:3 aspect ratio (10in x 7.5in OR 25.4cm x 19.05cm) to 16:9 aspect ratio (13.33in x 7.5in OR 33.867cm x 19.05cm).
As you can see from the image below, the old standard 4:3 slides on PowerPoint 2010 and earlier versions will look a bit square (technically it’s not but it does look closer to square than a rectangle, don’t you think?). This is because before widescreen devices became really widespread in the last few years, the standard screen size was squarish with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
With widescreen devices becoming de facto in recent years, Microsoft decided to upgrade their default slide sizes from 4:3 to 16:9 aspect ratio with the release of PowerPoint 2013.
This is the perfect slide size when presenting your content using modern widescreen projectors, LCD screens, TV screens, YouTube videos, and more. Notice how the new default 16:9 slides look more rectangular than square.
Another interesting thing to point out is that unlike the modern 16:9 slides in PowerPoints 2013 and 2016, the 2010 and earlier versions’ 16:9 slides were actually smaller in terms of width and height.
Confused? Here is an image to show you just how different a size it was:
To put the different sizes in perspective, check out this image:
What Are The 2 Resize Options?
If your PowerPoint slides already have some content on it, and you need to change to another slide size, then you can probably already imagine just how difficult it would be to manually resize all your content to fit the new size.
Of course, Microsoft does give you two options when resizing but trust me you still need to do plenty of work to make your slides look right:
1. Maximize – click this if you are changing to a larger slide size. PowerPoint will increase the size of your slide content but the downside is that the content may not fit at all on the new slide size.
2. Ensure Fit – click this if you are changing to a smaller slide size. PowerPoint will decrease the size of your slide content to make everything fit but the downside is that you will still need to manually resize the elements to make it fit properly.
How To Change The Slide Size From Standard 4:3 To Widescreen 16:9 (and vice versa) and Other Custom Dimensions
Step 1. Go to the Design tab
Step 2. Click on Slide Size.
Step 3. Select Slide Size
You will then be presented with the 3 options below. Clicking on either Standard or Widescreen will automatically resize the slide. Clicking on Custom Slide Size will present you with more options (see step 4).
- Standard (4:3)
- Widescreen (16:9)
- Custom Slide Size
Step 4. Custom Slide Size
If you want to resize your PowerPoint slides to a custom slide size, you’ll see this pop-up where you can specify the following details:
- Slides sized for (by default it’s set to Widescreen)
- Width (default width is 13.333 inches)
- Height (default height is 7.5 inches)
- Number slides from (default slide number is 1)
- Orientation (default for ‘Slides’ is landscape and for ‘Notes, Handouts & Outline’ the default orientation is portrait)
Step 5. View Different Custom Slide Sizes
If you don’t know the specific width and height of your custom slide, you can go through the dropdown options for ‘Slides sized for’. When you click on any of the options, the numbers on the Width and Height boxes will automatically adjust:
By default, the slides are sized for a widescreen presentation. This is because most of the screens we now use to view our presentations have 16:9 aspect ratio. This includes:
- Modern projectors including home theater projectors
- Desktops and laptop computers
- LED and Plasma TVs
How To Use Your New Slide Size As The Default Size For New Presentations
If you’re going to be using the new slide size as the DEFAULT size for all your future presentations and you don’t want to be messing around with the settings every single time, then you should set it as the default size.
Here’s how you do it:
Step 6. Follow steps 1 to 5 in the previous section.
Once you’ve updated the slide size, you then go to Design tab. In the Themes section, click on the More arrow.
Step 7. Save Theme in Default Folder
You will then see this screen below. Save the theme in the default folder otherwise, the next step might not work on your machine.
For the file name, you can change it to something easy to remember – like the dimensions of the new size. Then hit Save.
Step 8. Go Back To The Design Tab
After saving the new theme, go back to the Design tab and click again on the More arrow, like in Step 6.
Then right-click on the new custom theme you have just saved (in Step 7) and click on ‘Set as Default Theme’.
That’s basically it! You now know how to change the size of PowerPoint slides AND use it as the default size for new presentations.
To confirm that everything you just did actually works, close all PowerPoint files on your computer. Then open PowerPoint again. You should see this welcome screen:
It’s very easy to change slide sizes in PowerPoint whether you require the standard 4:3 slides, the widescreen 16:9 slides or even any custom-sized slides. But, like I mentioned earlier in this article, it’s best to change slide sizes when you’ve got a BLANK file in front of you.
If you’ve got content on your slides and you need to change the slide sizes, you have to spend some time going through all of the slides to make sure your content is displayed like it’s supposed to.
Other Settings You Can Edit In The Slide Master Menu
How To Edit & Use Themes
You can choose from any of the default Office themes or custom themes you have saved on your computer. This is what you will see when you click on the Themes button:
How To Use Your Own Set Of Colors
By default, your PowerPoint template will use the built-in Office colors but if you like you can use your own set of colors. This is especially useful if the templates are for a school or any organization with their own brand colors.
Click on Customize Colors to set your own colors:
How To Select Your Custom Fonts
Just like the Colors option, you can use the default fonts or you can select your own custom fonts. This is ideal if your organization prefers to use a specific font for presentations.
Clicking on Customize Fonts will take you to this dialog box where you can set your new Heading and Body fonts. Don’t forget to type in the Name for this font set.
How To Select specific Effects
There are plenty of effects to choose from as you can see in the screenshot below.
How To Save Your Own Background Styles
This is actually dependent on the Themes and Colors you will choose for your slides. PowerPoint will suggest some background styles it thinks are complementary to your chosen themes/colors.
You can choose to format the background if you don’t like the options that PowerPoint gives you. Simply click on Format Background and you will see this pop-up on your screen:
How To Select the Right Slide Size
Knowing the slide size for your templates is actually pretty important, which I will explain later in more detail. If you know how the slides will be presented, then you can set the slide size right away. But if you don’t, then perhaps you might want to consider making different slide sizes for your template.
If you need to use a custom slide size, simply click on the button that says Custom Slide Size and you can customize the sizes as you see fit.
How To Hide Any Graphics Added In The Master Slide
Remember how we added a huge logo in the master slide in our example above? And that huge logo appeared in all of our layout slides?
Well, if you want to remove the logo in some of the layout slides, all you have to do is click on the layout slide you want to edit, then tick on the box that says Hide Background Graphics.
How To Hide Any Title Or Footers Added In The Master Slide
In addition to hiding background graphics in the layout slides, you can also choose to hide the title or any footers present in the master slide. You can tick on the boxes shown in the image below:
How To Add Placeholders In Layouts
Layouts are truly awesome in that you can customize how you want your slides to look like. And to make the template as user-friendly as possible you can choose to add placeholders in strategic areas on your slides.
Here are the different types of placeholders you can place in your layouts: content, text, picture, chart, table, SmartArt, media and online image.
To edit or format these placeholders, you can click on the placeholder you want to edit then click on the FORMAT tab. That’s it! You will be able to edit these placeholders just like how you edit elements on your PowerPoint slides!
How To Save Your New PowerPoint Template
Saving your new template is very easy. Just click on ‘Save As’ then on the dropdown for ‘Save as Type’, select ‘PowerPoint Template’. That’s it.
Ready To Start Making Your Own Templates?
Now that you know how to make your own PowerPoint templates, it’s time to get to work. You will need to exercise some creativity and think outside the box if you want to make truly awesome PowerPoint templates.
You can also look for inspiration online. There’s lot of places where you can check out how professional designers make their premium templates. You don’t have to buy any premium templates for now but there’s nothing wrong with using them as inspiration to create your own templates.
Did You Find This Ultimate PowerPoint Tutorial Helpful?
Now that you know how to tweak the different PowerPoint settings as I’ve shown in this article, it’s time to put it into practice. Impress your audience with your PowerPoint know-how and drive your presentation’s message home! If you’d like to learn more about 24Slides and our business presentation design services, just click the link!
If you found this tutorial helpful, please share it with your friends who you think can benefit from learning the new skills you just learned!