PowerPoint Slide Master (cool tips pt2)



Many students come to my class feeling “comfortable” with PowerPoint so my goal is to teach them some news skills to keep the focus on content or make formatting and animating quicker, easier and consistent.

One of the ways that I do this is to teach my students how to create their own original design template by using the slide master. The preformatted design templates are overused and not very interesting – plus they usually don’t match the topic. I teach students how to go to View / Master / Slide Master and design a template from scratch. I encourage students to choose background colors, designs or images that match their topic.

The slide master shown above was created for a slide presentation for “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”. The images on the left are hyperlinked to a slide to explain more about that wonder. The column and text banner appear on every page. This student put a lot of thought into the design of their PowerPoint and had it coordinate with their topic. It was much better than choosing an overused Design Template.

The student is now more than half done since all the text and slide formatting is completed. The next steps include changing the slide layouts, transitions and adding images/sounds/movies.

Animations for titles and body paragraphs can be added to the slide master as well as “actions” to link the navigation bar to individual slides.

ppt-slide-master2jpg.jpgBy the way, the PPT presentation (right) is not shown in front of the whole class. We save our presentations in a shared folder and then each student opens the presentations and interacts with them (by clicking on links/action buttons) more like a webpage. Students don’t need to sit through all 30 presentations but most of them eventually view everyone’s projects – cuz they’re kids and they are curious.

I asked students to give opinions about the use of the slide master:

  • It makes it easier to format all the slides at once.
  • You can match your design to your topic.
  • It makes the show more professional looking – but I still like change some of the background designs for some slides.
  • I probably won’t go search for design templates online anymore – I’ll just make my own.
  • I used to spend a lot of time animating all of the text. Completing the animations in the slide master saves TONS of time.
  • I like using the slide master and Word outline together – it’s so much easier.
  • I never knew that you could add action buttons or hyperlinks in PowerPoint to make the projects more interactive.

Photo Credit: PowerPoint made by C.

3 Replies to “PowerPoint Slide Master (cool tips pt2)”

  1. Both of your blog posts about PPT are right on. One of the struggles for middle school and some high school students (usually 9th and 10th grade) is to remember that the PPT is not worth much without knowledge of the content.

    PPT and Neo Office are so ubiquitous today that students do come to high school knowing the basics (and often times more). Over the last couple of years I’ve started to introduce students to the web based alternatives to PPT. Many of the alternatives are easier to incorporate rich media into. Creating and using Rich media really gets kids excited about the process.

    Richard Byrne

  2. Hey, I enjoyed your post both on ning and your this blog. I think slide master is one of those tools that are NOT taught that much when I was in grades school. I think you’ve highlighted the benefits pretty well.

    Since you’re very knowledgable about PPTs I would be interested in your thoughts about the disadvantages of PowerPoint. Ways of improving it and where PowerPoint should go in terms of innovations and development.

    Thanks, and if you want to read any of my posts on PPTs you can reach me here:



  3. Great idea. This type of thing is my goal with my Middle School students. In addition to Slide Masters I also like to teach how to create templates in Microsoft Word. This one is very useful to my middle schoolers since their English teachers requires a certain format for all written work.

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