How to: Slide Layouts in PowerPoint

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To change the Slide Layout of a slide in PowerPoint, you will first bring up the Home tab of the Ribbon and then click on the Layout button.

The resulting Layout gallery, shown in Figure 1 has several Slide Layouts. Depending upon the active Theme, you may see a number of Slide Layouts, but in this particular case, you see that there are 9 layouts (see Figure 1, again).

Figure 1: Layout gallery

So, where do these 9 or any number of Slide Layouts come from? They come from the Slide Master, and to learn more, you need to access the Slide Master view by bringing up the View tab of the Ribbon, and clicking the Slide Master button.

When you are in Slide Master view, you’ll see that the entire left pane is populated by two different elements:

  1. A larger thumbnail that’s the Slide Master (highlighted red in Figure 2), and
  2. Some smaller thumbnails that are the Slide Layouts (highlighted blue in Figure 2)

Figure 2: Left pane area in the Slide Master

Yes. these Slide Layouts are the same Slide Layouts that you saw in the Layout gallery in Figure 1.

The Slide Master influences the slide background, Theme color choices, Theme fonts, Theme effects, and placeholders. The Slide Layouts get all this information from the Slide Master they belong to.

Modify the Slide Master, and you end up changing all Slide Layouts beneath that Slide Master. For example, if you change the Background Style in a Slide Master, this should reflect the new Background Style in all the dependent Slide Layouts. However, the reverse is not true — if you make any changes to the Slide Layout, that change is never reflected in the Slide Master.  In fact, for that change in particular, the Slide Layout stops being influenced by the Slide Master.

The nine Slide Layouts available within the Slide Master are:

  1. Title Slide Layout
  2. Title and Content Layout
  3. Section Header Layout
  4. Two Content Layout
  5. Comparison Layout
  6. Title Only Layout
  7. Blank Layout
  8. Content with Caption Layout
  9. Picture with Caption Layout

We will explore how you can add new Slide Layouts and modify existing ones in other tutorials.

About the Author

Geetesh BajajGeetesh Bajaj is an internationally acclaimed PowerPoint, storyboarding, info-diagramming and presenting expert who has been awarded the Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) every single year for 16 years now. As an MVP, Geetesh interacts and collaborates with the Microsoft PowerPoint product development team.

He is also on the Board of Directors for the Presentation Guild, a presentation industry trade association, based out of Cincinnati, USA.

Based out of Hyderabad, India, he believes that any presentation is a sum of its elements—these include abstract elements like story, concept, color, interactivity, and navigation—and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. Geetesh has authored six books.

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