Much of the PowerPoint world has no design training and yet people are expected to create presentations that are a combination of aesthetics and content. Luckily, part of that problem can be resolved if you start with a good template. So this article talks about templates. Many people don't know how to create templates, so I'm going to explain how you do it.
For this template creation tutorial, I created a pair of coordinated backgrounds in Adobe Photoshop. You can download them here: http://www.indezine.com/misc/007templates.zip (70 kb)
These instructions are for PowerPoint 2002 / 2003 and should work in PowerPoint 97 and 2000 as well. Once you have created a template, you should have no problem using it in PowerPoint 97, 2000, 2002 and 2003. In fact, you can also use them on Mac versions of PowerPoint (98, 2002, X' and 2004).
- Open PowerPoint and choose File|New. The New Presentation task pane appears. Click the Blank presentation option.
- Choose View|Master | Slide Master. Choose Insert|New Title Master. You see two slide previews in left pane. Both previews are linked through a connector. The top preview represents the slide master and the bottom preview represents the title master. Any elements you place within these masters show up on all of the slides based on them. The title layout slides are based on a title master. All of the other slide layouts are influenced by the slide master. (PowerPoint has more than 26 slide layouts, which you find in the Slide Layout task pane.)
- Click the Slide Master preview to view your Slide Master in edit mode. First, you need to add a background to the entire slide. Choose Format|Background. In the Background dialog box, click the downward pointing arrow and click Fill Effects.
- In the Fill Effects dialog box, click the Picture tab and then click the Select Picture' button. Navigate to the location on your hard disk where you stored the downloaded backgrounds. Choose the 007b.jpg image and click Insert. Now click OK and then Apply.
- Click the Title Master preview in the left pane to view your Title Master in edit mode. Follow the same steps (number 3 and 4) as you used to add a background to the Slide Master, except this time choose the 007a.jpg image.
- Now you have a template that contains both Title and Slide Masters, so it's a good time to save it. To save your template, choose File|Save As. From the Save as type drop-down box, click Design Template (*.pot).
- Choose Format|Slide Design to activate the Slide Design task pane. On the top of the task pane, click the Color Schemes option.
- You can now apply an existing color scheme or choose to edit/create a new color scheme to your template. To edit/create a color scheme, click the Edit Color Schemes option at the bottom of the task pane.
- In the Edit Color Scheme dialog box, you can change the colors of individual elements. Remember that your text and line colors should contrast with your background color and backgrounds you inserted. Because you have a dark green picture background, select black as the background color and choose white for the text and lines. I left the shadow color unaltered at grey. Similarly, change the fills, accent, accent and hyperlink and the followed hyperlink colors. Remember that by default these four color choices are also the colors that are used for any chart you create within your presentation. When you are happy with your choices, click the Apply button. Choose File|Save (or press Ctrl+S) to resave your template.
- Now, you can modify the text in your template. You can change font sizes and styles although it is best not to change the individual size proportions. Instead, select the entire text in a slide and click the Increase Font Size and Decrease Font Size buttons on the Formatting toolbar.
- Now, deselect all of the text and choose the same font you selected for the text placeholders. By selecting a font with no placeholders selected, all new textboxes will use the same font style by default. Now resave your template by pressing Ctrl+S.
- Click the Close Master View button in the floating Slide Master View toolbar to return to Normal View.
- Resave your template. Your finished template is now ready to be used for new and existing presentations.
Applying a template to an existing presentation
Once you've created your template masterpiece, you probably want to use it. To apply a template to an existing presentation, follow these steps:
- Open an existing presentation and choose Format | Slide Design to activate the Slide Design task pane. This Task Pane displays thumbnails of existing templates.
- If the template you need is not displayed, click the Browse... button on the bottom of the pane and navigate using the familiar 'Apply Design Template' dialog box and choose your PowerPointed template (*.pot) file.
And with that, PowerPoint applies the template you selected to your presentation.