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Lesson 1: Templates, color schemes, and masters
 Advanced Microsoft® PowerPoint 2003
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 Welcome to the course!   Page 1 of 11

This course is for people who already have some experience with Microsoft PowerPoint -- perhaps from taking an introductory class -- and are ready to go to the next level. In this course, you'll learn many techniques for saving time and creating more professional-looking presentations.

In the following sections, you'll get answers to some of the most common questions about the course.

How does the course work?

Each time a new lesson is posted, you'll log in and read it. You can print the lesson for later reference if you like. You might find it easier to print by clicking the link to show all pages of the lesson at once. (This link is located in the top-right corner of the first page of the lesson.)

After reading the lesson, and following along with the steps in it, you can continue your practice by completing an assignment. The assignments are optional and are not graded.

Next, test your understanding of the lesson by taking a quiz. Quizzes are computer-graded; nobody sees your score except you. You can retake a quiz as many times as you like.

If you have questions, you can post them on the Message Board. If you think you know the answer to someone else's question, feel free to answer it. The Message Board is primarily for student-to-student interaction.

What should I already know?

Because this is an advanced course, you should already know how to use PowerPoint to create simple presentations consisting mostly of text. You should be able to change designs, layouts, and color schemes, and to insert simple graphics such as clip art. You should be able to start a slide show and work through it, going backward and forward as needed, and to end a show early if needed.

What If I have a different version of PowerPoint?

This course is based on PowerPoint 2003, so if you have another version, expect some differences. Some features discussed in this course don't exist in earlier versions. However, the vast majority of the features are also present in PowerPoint 2002 (also known as PowerPoint XP). The older your version, the more difficult it will be to follow along with the course.

Upgrade to Microsoft PowerPoint 2003

To make the most of what you'll learn in this course, consider upgrading to PowerPoint 2003.

» Microsoft PowerPoint 2003
 Review: template basics   Page 2 of 11

This lesson starts by reviewing what you probably already know about PowerPoint templates.

A template is like a costume in which you dress your presentation's content. Different templates can give very different overall impressions about the content, just like different costumes can make a person look different.

All templates provide formatting, such as background design, fonts, and color schemes. Some templates also provide sample content. Templates that apply only formatting are design templates, whereas templates that also contain sample content are presentation templates.

To start a new presentation based on a template, select File > New, and in the New Presentation task pane, click From design template (if you don't want sample slides) or click From AutoContent wizard (if you do want sample slides).

To apply a different template to an existing presentation, select Format > Slide Design and select a template from the Slide Design task pane.

Applying a design template to certain slides

If you decide to use a design template and click a template in the task pane, it's applied to all of the slides in the presentation. However, you can apply a design template to only certain slides. Each template in the Slide Design task pane has an arrow to its right that you can click to open a drop-down menu. From that menu, select Apply to Selected Slides, as shown in Figure 1-1, to apply a different template to only the selected slides.

To select multiple slides, hold down Ctrl as you click each one. You can do this in Normal view in the Slides pane or in Slide Sorter view.

Figure 1-1: You can apply a template to selected slides.
Figure 1-1: You can apply a template to selected slides.

If you start the presentation from the AutoContent Wizard, and then switch to a different design, some of the graphics provided in the original template might remain, even though they aren't appropriate for the new design. If that happens, simply delete them.

Using a presentation template as a design template

The presentation templates, which you ordinarily access through the AutoContent Wizard, have their own unique designs. You can apply them to an existing presentation to get only the design formatting and not the sample slides; however, there's one minor glitch: They don't show up in the Slide Design task pane. Here's how you can get around that to use a presentation template:

  1. At the bottom of the Slide Design task pane, click Browse. The Apply Design Template dialog box appears.
  2. Navigate to this path (assuming C: is the hard disk where Microsoft Office is installed): C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\1033.
  3. Click one of the presentation designs. A preview of it appears to the right of the list, as shown in Figure 1-2. If it doesn't, click the View button (to the immediate left of Tools) and select Preview.

Figure 1-2: The Apply Design Template dialog box.
Figure 1-2: The Apply Design Template dialog box.

  1. Click Apply to apply the presentation template as if it were a design template. You won't get any sample slides -- just design attributes.

This technique you just learned is also useful for applying third-party templates you acquire from other sources, such as from the Web or from a friend who enjoys creating templates. You can store them anywhere you like, and then reference them with Browse.

Why is the folder called 1033?

The 1033 folder name has to do with international support within Office applications. Items that are country-specific go in folders for that country, and 1033 happens to be the numeric code for the United States.

 Template storage issues   Page 3 of 11

Here are the rules that govern where templates are stored by default:

  • When you create and save your own templates (which you'll learn to do later in this lesson), they're saved by default in C:\Documents and Settings\ Your Name\ Application Data\Microsoft\Templates, where Your Name is the name with which you're logged on to Windows. This folder also holds shortcuts to the two other template folders described in the following two bullets.
  • When PowerPoint is deciding which templates to display in the Slide Design task pane, it looks in the folder where the Microsoft-supplied design templates are stored: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\Presentation Designs. To make a template appear in the task pane, copy it to this folder.
  • When PowerPoint is deciding which templates to display in the AutoContent Wizard, it looks in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\1033. However, simply placing a template file in that location is not enough to make the AutoContent Wizard recognize it; you must add it to the AutoContent Wizard, as explained later in the lesson.

If you want different templates to appear in different places, you simply need to move or copy them into one of those folders. For example, to narrow down the templates that appear in the Slide Design task pane so you don't have to wade through so many, move some of PowerPoint's default templates out of C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\Presentation Designs. You could create a Backup folder within it, for example, and then move the unwanted template files into that folder. You could also delete unwanted templates entirely, but you may need them someday so it's better to just save them in a separate folder. If you delete them, you'd have to go back and reinstall PowerPoint (or manually extract them from the Setup CD) to use them again.

Creating categories in the new presentation dialog box

When you start a new presentation by selecting File > New, and then clicking On my computer, a New Presentation dialog box appears. In it are two tabs: Design Templates and Presentations, as shown in Figure 1-3. These pull from the aforementioned default locations for design and presentation templates respectively.

Figure 1-3: The default New Presentation dialog box.
Figure 1-3: The default New Presentation dialog box.

Default storage

The default storage location for user templates is specific to you as a Windows user. If someone else logs on to the same PC using a different name, he can't access your templates. If you want to share your templates with other local PC users, store them in a folder that everyone can access, such as a shared folder. Then create a shortcut to that folder in the default Templates folder so you can access them quickly.

Learn More

Here's a very cool trick. If you create new folders in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\Presentation Designs, each of those folders appears as a separate tab in the New Presentation dialog box. Actually, you don't even have to store the templates in that location; you can just put shortcuts to the real locations there. The PowerPoint - Locating and storing your templates article explains it in more detail.

 Creating your own templates   Page 4 of 11

Creating your own templates can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. The actual saving of the file as a template is very simple; the variable part is how much design work you want to put into it. Do you want to modify an existing template slightly and save it under a new name, or are you thinking of building your own masterpiece, including custom graphics and sample content? There's a big difference. At this point, let's just look at the simple possibilities. As you progress through this course, you'll learn other skills that you can use to make your templates even grander.

To create a new design template, follow these steps:

  1. Start a new presentation based on an existing template that's close to what you want. If none of the templates is similar to what you want, start a blank presentation.
  2. Select View > Master > Slide Master to change to Slide Master view, which you'll find out more about later in this lesson.
  3. Make changes to the design as desired. You can change the background, fonts, bullet style, placement of the text placeholders, and so on. Exit from Slide Master view by selecting a different view, such as View > Normal, when finished. (Again, more on this shortly.)
  4. Select File > Save As. Change the Save as type to Design Template (*.pot), and then save the template in the appropriate location. Close the file.

Where you save your template depends on how you want to use it. As mentioned, the default location for user templates is C:\Documents and Settings\ Your Name \Application Data\Microsoft\Templates. If you want it to appear in the Slide Design task pane, you might prefer to save it in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\Presentation Designs.

To create a presentation template, create a new design template as you just learned but then add slides with sample content to it before you save it. You can save it anywhere you like, but saving it in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\1033 is a good idea because that's where the Microsoft-supplied presentation templates are stored.

 Adding a template to the AutoContent Wizard   Page 5 of 11

The AutoContent Wizard works with any template, not just the elite set that it comes with. To add a template to the AutoContent Wizard, follow these steps:

  1. Create a presentation template as described in the preceding section, and place it in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\1033. (This location is not required, but recommended.)
  2. Start the AutoContent Wizard as if you were going to use it to create a new presentation (File > New, and then select From AutoContent wizard from the New Presentation task pane).
  3. Click Next. On the second screen of the AutoContent Wizard, shown in Figure 1-4, where you select the desired template, make sure the category is displayed in which you want to place the template, and then click Add.

Figure 1-4: Add a template to the AutoContent Wizard.
Figure 1-4: Add a template to the AutoContent Wizard.

You might notice that all the template names in the AutoContent Wizard are nicely capitalized with spaces. That's because their file names are actually written that way. (Look in the 1033 folder.) You can rename your own templates using that same convention to make them blend better with the others. (Do this before adding them to the AutoContent Wizard, because if you change a template's file name, the link in the wizard won't work.)

  1. In the Select Presentation Template dialog box that appears, locate and select the desired template, and then click OK. The template is added to the selected category.
  2. Click Cancel to close the AutoContent Wizard without starting a new presentation. (If you want, start a new presentation based on your template to see if it works by following the remaining wizard steps.)
 Working with color schemes   Page 6 of 11

Each template comes with a default color scheme, and in most cases, several alternative schemes too. This means that if a certain template is perfect except for the colors, you can simply switch them without giving up any of the design elements of that template.

Before selecting a color scheme, you should be happy with your choice of templates. If you switch to a different template later, your color scheme choice will be negated.

You probably already know how to change to a different color scheme, but here's a reminder: From the Slide Design task pane (Format > Slide Design), click the Color Schemes hyperlink, and then click a color scheme to apply. As with designs, you can apply your choice to only the selected slides by opening the drop-down list for the scheme and selecting Apply to Selected Slides, as shown in Figure 1-5.

Figure 1-5: Apply a color scheme to selected slides.
Figure 1-5: Apply a color scheme to selected slides.

Customizing a color scheme

Some templates are much more generous in the number of color schemes they provide than others. If none of the color schemes suits you, customize one. Customizing a color scheme changes the color that's associated with one or more of the placeholders.

Follow these steps to customize a color scheme:

  1. In the Slide Design task pane, display the existing color schemes, and apply the one that is closest to what you want.
  2. Click the Edit Color Schemes hyperlink at the bottom of the pane. The Edit Color Scheme dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 1-6.

Figure 1-6: The Edit Color Scheme dialog box.
Figure 1-6: The Edit Color Scheme dialog box.

  1. Click a colored square representing a color you want to change, and click the Change Color button. The Color dialog box for the scheme you selected appears. Its exact name depends on the colored square you chose. For example, it's Background Color in Figure 1-7.

Figure 1-7: The Background Color dialog box.
Figure 1-7: The Background Color dialog box.

  1. Select a color. You can click the color you want or enter an exact value by number. If the color choices are too overwhelming, click the Standard tab to select from a basic set.
  2. Click OK.
  3. Repeat the process for each color placeholder to change. When you're finished, click Apply.

There's no limit to the number of color schemes you can have in a template, so create as many as you like!

Color schemes are saved only within the current presentation file. If you want to make a color scheme available in other presentations, you must add it to the template itself. To do this, open the template file (the POT file) and customize the color scheme there. Then save your changes and close the POT file. From that point on, every presentation that has that template applied to it will have the custom color scheme available. You cannot create a color scheme that's globally available to every template, because color schemes are, by definition, tied to a specific template.

Increase your color expertise

HP's collection of color printing advice and tools can help you grow your color expertise so you can better leverage the many color features available in PowerPoint.

» Color printing center
 Working WITH Slide Master view   Page 7 of 11

A master is a set of formatting and layout specifications that applies to all the slides of a certain type in a presentation. When you apply a different design template, you're actually applying different settings to the Slide Master and Title Master. These masters control the background, font choices, bullet types, placements of the text boxes, and so on.

There are actually four different masters in PowerPoint:

  • Slide: Controls slides using all layouts except Title Slide.
  • Title: Controls slides using the Title Slide layout.
  • Notes: Controls the layout of Notes Page view and printouts of notes pages.
  • Handouts: Controls the layout of handouts printed through PowerPoint. There are separate layouts for each style of handouts.

The Slide Master and Title Master are edited within a single view called Slide Master view, but the Notes Master and Handouts Master have their own separate views.

This lesson covers the Slide Master and Title Master; you might want to experiment with the Notes Master and Handouts Master on your own.

To see the Slide Master and Title Master, open a presentation file that has at least two slides in it, and that has a design template applied. Select View > Master > Slide Master to enter Slide Master view, as shown in Figure 1-8.

Figure 1-8: The Slide Master view.
Figure 1-8: The Slide Master view.

Notice in Figure 1-8 that there are two thumbnail slides at the left. The top one is for the Slide Master, which is what you see in the center. Click the one immediately beneath it; that's the Title Master.

As with other views, the divider between the thumbnails pane and the main editing pane is resizable; drag it left or right to change the proportions as desired.

Slide Master view has a floating toolbar, which you can see in Figure 1-8. To leave Slide Master view, click the Close Master View button on that toolbar.

If you're working with a blank presentation (no design template chosen), you’ll have only a Slide Master -- no Title Master. You can create the Title Master by clicking the New Title Master button on the floating toolbar in Slide Master view, but it's not required.

 Editing Slide Master elements   Page 8 of 11

You can format the Slide Master or Title Master as you would any ordinary slide in the presentation, and the changes apply to all slides automatically. Here are some ideas of what you can do:

  • Modify text placeholder positions: If you resize or move the title or text placeholder boxes on the master, they will be repositioned on every slide.
  • Delete placeholder boxes: If you don't want a certain placeholder, click its border and press Delete. If there are any slides that rely on the deleted placeholder to hold some of their existing content, that content remains but is converted to an orphaned object. The orphaned object retains the same text, but its formatting changes.

It's not necessary to delete the Date Area, Footer Area, or Number Area placeholders from the Slide Master. You can leave the placeholders intact but turn off their display in the Header and Footer dialog box (View > Header and Footer).

  • Restore placeholder boxes: To restore a placeholder after deleting it, from Slide Master view, select Format > Master Layout. This opens a dialog box containing checkboxes for all of the placeholders. Check those that you want to restore.
  • Change text formatting: Change the font, size, color, and/or attributes for placeholder text on the Slide Master.
  • Change the background: Use the Format > Background command to select a different background. You can delete any background graphics on the slide if desired.

Some background graphics are actually a group of lines and shapes; select the background graphic, and then select Draw > Ungroup (from the Drawing toolbar) to break it down so you can work with each piece individually.

  • Change bullet characters: Select an outline level, and then select Format > Bullets and Numbering to select a different bullet style. To use picture bullets, click Picture in the Bullets and Numbering dialog box.

If you use a large graphic file as a bullet character, you'll increase the size of your PowerPoint file dramatically. Resize and save any graphic files in a third-party image-editing application so that they're approximately the size you plan on using in the presentation (Approximately 30 pixels high is ample for a bullet character.)

 How the Slide Master and Title Master Interact   Page 9 of 11

When you have the Slide Master view selected, in the left pane, notice the gray line that connects the Slide Master and Title Master. This line indicates that they're related. This is important when you start working with multiple sets of masters, which is covered later in this lesson.

Line connecting the Slide Master and Title Master.

Most of the types of changes you make to the Slide Master, such as color and font choices, trickle down to the Title Master. (Other changes, such as placeholder repositioning, do not.) This enables you to make changes at the master level once, rather than having to duplicate your changes for both the Slide Master and Title Master.

There are some exceptions though -- not all kinds of formatting transfer automatically. The following table shows a quick summary of what does and doesn't transfer.


Automatically Copies from Slide Master to Title Master?

Color scheme


Slide design


Font size, attributes, color of title placeholder


Font size, attributes, color of text placeholder

Yes, applies it to the subtitle

Slide background color


Slide background graphic


Background in a text placeholder box


Positioning of text placeholders


Deletion of text placeholders


Addition of clip art or other objects


Vertical or horizontal alignment of slide title placeholder


Table 1-1: Summary of Features that Transfer to the Title Master

 Creating additional master sets   Page 10 of 11

In PowerPoint 2003 (only), you can have multiple sets of Slide Masters and Title Masters per presentation. This gives you more flexibility in creating long and complex presentations because you can mix up the design elements. You might want to have two Title Master layouts, for example: one for the first slide in the show and one for the title slides that indicate section breaks within the show. Or you might want to have two Slide Master layouts: one for slides with lots of text and one for slides with only a few words of text. It's all up to you.

To work with multiple masters, you need to be familiar with the Slide Master View toolbar, as shown in Figure 1-9.

Figure 1-9: The Slide Master View toolbar.
Figure 1-9: The Slide Master View toolbar.

Click the Insert New Slide Master button to create a new Slide Master in the left pane, below the original ones, as shown in Figure 1-10. By default, it's completely blank, but you can apply a design template to it.

Figure 1-10: A new blank Slide Master.
Figure 1-10: A new blank Slide Master.

Notice that, by default, the new Slide Master does not have an associated Title Master. You can create one for it by selecting it, and then clicking the Insert New Title Master button.

This button is only available when a Slide Master is selected that does not already have an associated Title Master.

Slide Masters and Title Masters always have a one-to-one relationship, so if you want an additional Title Master, you must first create an additional Slide Master. (You can format it exactly the same as the other Slide Master, however, if that is helpful.)

If you know that you want to apply a certain design to a new Slide Master you plan on creating, here's a shortcut: From Slide Master view, display the Slide Design task pane and open the menu for the desired design. (Use its arrow button or right-click it.) From the menu, select Add Design. This creates a new Slide Master/Title Master pair with that design.

 Managing multiple masters   Page 11 of 11

Here are some further tips for working with multiple masters.

Copying a master

When you create new masters as described previously, they're completely blank. To start with a copy of the existing master instead, select the original, select Edit > Copy, and then select Edit > Paste.

Renaming a master

The default name for a new master is Custom Design, but you can give it a better name that reflects its purpose. To rename a master, select it and click the Rename Master button.

Deleting a master

To delete a master, select it and press Delete, or click the Delete Master button. If you delete a Title Master, its associated Slide Master remains. However, if you delete a Slide Master, its associated Title Master is also deleted.

When you delete a Slide Master, any slides that used it take on the formatting in the first remaining master.

Preserving alternative masters

If a master does not have any slides associated with it, PowerPoint deletes it. Suppose, for example, that you created an alternative master and applied it to several slides, but then you deleted those slides. The alternative master goes away unless you elect to preserve it.

When a master is preserved, a pushpin symbol appears next to it in the left pane. To toggle a master's preservation status, select it, and then click the Preserve Master button.

Using an alternative master for new slides

After you've created the alternative masters you want and closed Slide Master view, you're ready to apply the alternative master(s) to some slides.

By default, all slides use the primary set of masters. To switch to an alternative set for a slide, open the Slide Design task pane. In the Used in This Presentation section at the top, there should be two designs: your original and your alternative. To apply the alternative to certain slides, select those slides, click the down arrow next to the alternative design, and then select Apply to Selected Slides.

Moving on

In this lesson, you learned how to use and customize designs, color schemes, and slide masters. Perhaps you already knew about some of these topics on a surface level, but now you're ready to really get down to business with them.

Before you move on, do the assignment and quiz, and then check the Message Board for any discussions you might want to participate in.

In the Lesson 2, you'll learn some advanced techniques for placing and formatting graphics.

Congratulations on completing the lesson! Don't forget the following: