Deep Dive: Learn about Slide Master in PowerPoint - A Tutorial (1/2)

About this lesson

Unlock the Power of PowerPoint Master Slides

Learn how Master Slides drives the look and feel of EVERY PowerPoint slide deck.


What is the PowerPoint Slide Master?

It is hidden inside the menus, but once unlocked we will show you all the fundamental components and how they impact the overall presentation design.


Power Slide Master is the Key in ALL Versions of PowerPoint

Windows, Mac OS, old and new versions of PowerPoint.  This mode has been there from the beginning, and our tutorial will explain how and why these tools can improve your presentation and SAVE YOU TIME!


Tutorial One and Two

This is a deep dive into making master slides work for you. This is not a step by step guide, but a deep dive to teach you how to UNDERSTAND master slides and make them work for you. You will master Slide Master!

This is the first of two training videos on Master Slides. The second part can be found here.


Content with video timestamps:

  • Intro: (0:00)
  • Assumptions and Training Goals (1:24)
  • Understanding the Elements of Master Slides (2:08)
  • Relationship of Parent and Child Master Slides (5:59)
  • Starting Off inside of Master Slide View (6:56)
  • Insert Logo for “All” Slides (7:11)
  • Where are Master Slide Logos Located? (9:11)
  • Why do some master slides not show logos and images? (9:57)
  • Sections and Master Slides (11:01)
  • Scenario 2 – Change fonts, placeholder locations, colors (12:26)
  • Scenario 3 – Mass updates of bullet animation and slide transitions (16:46)
  • Scenario 4 – Creating from Scratch – a preview (19:31)
  • Wrap Up (21:35)


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility All Versions of PowerPoint

Level Advanced

Course Completed Complete




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Training Class Video Transcript “Learn about Slide Master in PowerPoint – A Tutorial”

You want to be in control of PowerPoint. You want to get deep inside to control all the inner workings of PowerPoint, the color schemes, the backgrounds, the defaults images, and the transitions. All this magic happens in the hidden master slide mode. In this power advance training session. I’m going to explain how master slides interact with the slide layout and the individual slides change one element on the master slide and magic flows through all the resulting slides. Take control of PowerPoint and save time with master slide, power moves. Stay tuned and get powered up


This is our slide presentation that I will be operating on to demonstrate our deep dive into master slides. What you see is not an outstanding example of what a presentation should look like. It has issues, and we’ll fix some of these along the way. Maybe not all, but some as I get started, it’s good to know that slide masters have been part of PowerPoint from day one and can be applied to any version that you might be running. And I’m not expecting you to be a graphic designer. We’re going to work with the tools that Microsoft gives us to create solid presentations. Our training goals are not just to show you keystrokes, but to help you truly understand what master slides are all about. Once you’re grounded in the concept, then you can use your imagination to do so much more. And then once you have the understanding of the little concepts, we’ll be able to run through four scenarios to reinforce the concepts. In reality, these are the elements that you need to understand, but you’re not gonna understand them by just looking at them words on this page instead, let’s demonstrate them.


Here are the components of the master slides. The slide is the easiest to understand. It is the individual page that you create in PowerPoint. And what is displayed when you run an on-screen presentation, the next element are called layouts. Each slide originates from a slide layout, which instructs, where to put each of the placeholder objects on the slide, placeholders are things like the title or the footers or the text box. And this specific slide example is based on the two content layout. The next element is slide collections in any PowerPoint presentation. There is a collection of the individual slides and the totality makes up the slide collection next to the design template, which controls the color schemes, the fonts, the fancy backgrounds, and more design templates are applied to the slide collection, which then flows all the way back to the individual slides. As a side note, there’s also a grouping called sections.

You can highlight a subset of slides in the slide collection, right? Click on the group and create them as a section. And then you can apply a design template to just that section within the slide collection. Also note that the slide collection is really more than just a grouping of slides. Instead, let’s consider it a view. The design template is really being applied to the slide layouts and not the view of the slide collection and what controls the design template. The master slides. Oops, not really. While the design template is based on the master slides. They are just a mechanism to apply them to the layouts. And once applied, if you want to make changes to the whole presentation, you change the master slides and that is immediately updating the layout. Wow, that’s a lot going on. Let’s summarize this in a simpler term. Design templates are collected from slide masters. They provide a way to apply the master slide formatting to a presentation. So the basic user doesn’t need to know about the master slides, but you’re not a basic user, which is why you’re watching our training session. Slide masters are a collection of pre-formatted slide layouts, lots of layouts, like our two-column layout and each layout is individually formatted for reuse each slide originates from the slide layout. So we can apply mass changes at the master slide, and it will flow through the layout and onto our individual slides in this cascading fashion.

What does slide masters control? I’m not going to read through this list, but basically the masters slide controls everything in your presentation. And I mean, everything. We are about to put this into action by demonstrating how to change almost everything listed here.


Before we do that, I have one more concept to share. The slide master group will always have a parent. Changes to the parent will flow down to all the children layouts. This is important. If you want to change the background color, you don’t want to have to touch all the individual slide. Instead change the parent with the parent. You can apply it at the top and it will flow down to the children based on the hierarchy. You can always override the flow farther down the chain by editing a specific child layout. Okay, enough chalk board talk, let’s get going and make it happen. I’m going to work through four different scenarios to highlight the different aspects and implications of this slide. Master our first scenario. We’ll see how changes flow through the presentation and why sometimes they don’t flow. Let’s go, let’s get started. We need to switch out of the standard slide view to the slide master view. We’re going to click on view and then we’re gonna go over and click on slide master. On the left side of this screen are our layouts. And at the very top is the parent slide. I’m going to make this a little bigger so we can see how the parent is out dented and all the children layouts are down below.

Okay. one of our first task of inserting a logo, we have to make sure that we’re on the parent slide. Then we’ll go to insert pictures and we’ll choose something from my local computer. We’ll choose a power up logo. I’ll click on this when I click on OK. And insert, it’s going to drop it in the middle of our parents slide. You’ll see it’s showing on the left side of all our children. This particular image is a little too large. Oops. We flipped it over. Let’s slide it back down and flip it right side back up. We can then position. It is still a bit too big. So I’m going to make it just a touch smaller and get it exactly where I want on the parent slide. Once again, know, that make the changes. It shows up on the children’s lives down below.

It’s a little more positioning and we should be good to go. Take a look at the logo on the parent does show up on many of the children below, but not all of them. And we’re going to examine why it’s not on our master title slide the second from the top. But hold on for a moment, let’s go into the slide master and exit out of this mode. So we’ll do slide master. We’ll close the master view. And now as we scroll up and down, we can see sure enough that the logo has been dropped into our existing presentation on almost all of the slides. But I do have a word of warning while the logo looked great on our title slide, note that in some of our presentation farther down, it does collide with our existing graphics. So if you do not create your masters slide from the beginning, you need to at least go back and review to see if any elements that you added in are not going to conflict with the existing slide. Since we’re in the existing slide management mode, we should be able to fix that easily. Wait, wait, wait. I can’t seem to click it. Notes I can click other items, but that is unclickable. Let’s see where we can get to it. Maybe it’s hiding back on the background. So we’ll go to design. Let’s go to format background, and we go there. Well, it’s still not clickable. Everything else is, but not that.

So the lesson here is that any item added to the slide master are not touchable in the regular standard views. We’d have to go back into the layout and make changes at the masters slide level, but there’s still that mystery. Why do some of our slides have the logo and some do not have the logo. It’s a hard to understand what’s going on. So back to the slide master view, we’ll click on view and view. We’ll click on slide master. And we look at this live master. I’m going to go up to the parent when we click on the parent and look on the background. Notice that hide background graphics is grayed out. We can’t control that, but if we go into the title layout, you’ll see that is hiding the background. If I click on that and click it back off, we’ll see that the icon logo shows back up.

So the answer is, is that specific layout has HIDE background graphics turned on, Mystery solved. Here’s a tip. Remember how we saw the logo conflicted with some of our individual slides. You might elect to find the layout. that is called a blank slide. And for that particular layout, tell it the hide, the background. I’m going to show you a second reason why the logo did not appear in all of our slides. There is this concept of sections, which I described earlier, and you can see here, I’ve actually created a collection of flies that fall under the scenarios. As a separate section. Once a section is created, it then has his own set of parent and children. Masters slides. Let’s take a look. If I scroll up to the very top, you’ll see the number one, which is applied to the first section. When I go farther down, I’m going to have a second set of parent and children.

That is family number two. And it is that family that is applied to the section in our presentation, which is why we no longer see the logo watches change the color for this particular number two family. Once this changed, I’m going to close the master view. And once it’s closed, we can then scroll through our slide sorter. And you’ll see that that specific section jumps out that scenario section is now blue. So we’ve now learned another reason why things don’t always follow the single parent because you can have multiple families once you start to use sections within PowerPoint.


We just finished with our first example, let’s switch to scenario number two, where we’re going to remodel an existing presentation. In this scenario, we’re going to actually remodel an existing presentation. We’re going to make changes to like where the titles are, the locations, formats, fonts, and along the way, we’re going to cover some issues, including how much time it takes and the impact of one change rippling through the presentation. So to do this, we’ve now switched back over into the slide master view of our same presentation. And I’m going to work on just one particular layout, not the whole presentation, just the layout of the two contents. So for this specific layout, we’re going to change the title. I do not like all caps. Let’s go into home and choose font. And from there, we’ll make the change from all caps to small caps. One of my favorites, we’ll also go in and see that we can make changes to the font style.

We’re going to change it to bold. And along the way, we’re also going to change the color just so we can see this happening. I’m not saying this is a great looking design, but I want you to be able to visually see the changes as they flow through once I click on, okay. We are then through with title and can start to work on the two content placeholders as we go through here, making alterations. I want to point out how laborious this can become, where we’re now working at the slide layout level, which means that if we have multiple layouts, we’d have to make these changes at each level. It is possible that we want this to flow through the whole presentation. We’ve not be working on the layout level, but actually at the parent level. So you can see here that we’ve done some alterations.

We did some and underlining. We made some color changes and we’re not going to copy that format to the second content window. Once that change is made, we can then go down and I want to show how we can impact each of the different levels. It’s important to recognize that our slide layouts have different levels for us to format so we can have different rules apply to all five levels here. I’m going to go in there and once again, make a change to the color just so we can see it. It is not a pretty look. And once we have the color change, we’re going to go in and fix the indentation just for the second level. Indentation and margins is a complicated topic itself. And we have covered that in a separate YouTube video. We can go in there in addition to making the margin changes and we can change the bullet type just for the second level on just a specific to content layout.

I’m going to copy this across using the format painter, the format painter only works on the text. So I will have to go back and make the change to the bullet to match the left side of the screen. My next alteration has to do with the title area. It is a two line title area, and I try to keep all my titles to a single line. So it does not waste space. I’m going to make that smaller and then bring the two content items up taller so that it will flow through all of my two content layouts. Okay, let’s see this in action. We’re going to exit out of the slide master mode and take a look.

So I’m going to scroll up to my two content slides in my presentation and we’ll see my wacky formatting, but it is very visible on how it touched only the two slide content slides. The customization was work, but you now see the dividends. It pays as it flows through a complete presentation and to drive home the point, let me actually add a new slide based off the two content layout you can see now that it followed all the formatting that we did earlier as it is applied, not only to existing slides, but all futures slides on that specific layout.

At this point, your mind should be racing with the possibilities of how this is going to change the way you work with PowerPoint. Okay. Let’s switch to scenario three to where we can automate the use of bullet animations and transitions. Let’s go to once again to our two slide content and see about how we animate the bullets. Basically the way that they appear on the screen, I’m going to highlight them of the bullets. I’ll choose the animation. And just so we can see it happen is not one of my favorites, but we’re going to choose loading and you’ll see that they all floated in. If you look carefully, they float in with a single click and you’ll see the number one listed to each of the individual lines. I want to actually have them show up with each click. So I’m going to highlight the second level.

Once I go over there, we can do the dropdown list and we’ll choose with on click instantly. All the bullet line numbers are numbered. One through five, meaning that they will advance. Only once you click within the presentation, let’s repeat this for the second content column for those bullet points. This time, we’re going to go ahead and choose a different format of just letting them wipe to so we can see the difference here. And we’ll make those also needing a click to show on the screen. Okay, let’s test this out. We’re going to go to slide master. We’re going to close the master view and we’re going to start the presentation from this page only. And once it fires up, we’ll see that I have to click, click, click through each of the bullet points. It’s going to happen on both the left column and the right column with lots of clicks.

But if that’s what you wanted, younow got it on every single two content layouts, but in our quest to automate our presentation, we’re not stopping there. Let’s go back to the slide master view and use the same automation technique to work with our transitions. This is what happens when you go from slide to slide, I’m going to click on the slide master parent this time so we can apply it to everything. We’ll go to transitions. We have lots of choices. I want to show one. That will be obvious, not my favorite, but one that’s obvious. And there we’ll click on the dissolve choice before we test it out. I want to show you something subtle still on this slide master view. If we look at the very top parent, you see this little star that indicates that we have a transition applied to the whole presentation.

Now let’s go and start the presentation from the beginning. And because we worked at the parent, we see that that slide transition happens with every single slide. Ashley one-click fixes everything throughout we’ve come a long way. And for the most part, we have been renovating existing presentations, but there may be scenarios where you want to create it from scratch. This is a scenario for, I am not going to go through every single steps because we have a completely separate YouTube video that walks through working with a blank screen and creating the whole presentation. Now, one of the items that we have to deal with is providing a unique look to our presentation. And I will show you in this tool, a technique to use office 365 to create, look that no one else has. This is truly cool. I will also go through and show you some of the deeper details that go beyond what we covered today with that said, the other technique that you’re going to need to learn, how to do is how to save this as a theme and as a template so that you can share with others. Go ahead and look on our YouTube channel to see this cool. There you go. You should now have a thorough understanding of how master slides can be used to better manage your presence in the comments below. Do let me know how your new skills are working out. And if this, this was useful, please like the video likes encourages to create more free training videos for you.

We do have one more training video on masters slides. Part two, that goes deeper by teaching you how to build a slide presentation from scratch and share it as a template. And if you want to become a PowerPoint power user, consider this free six-part power masterclass click here to start the full training, YouTube playlist, subscribe and let my expertise become your expertise for free. Now power up