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Formatting Picture Placeholders in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to format Picture placeholders in PowerPoint 2016.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
OS: Windows 7 and higher

When you are working with multiple pictures on a slide, their position, formatting, and size may be required to be the same across successive slides. This can be achieved manually using resizing and aligning options -- although you will use an inordinate amount of time making sure that the pictures look consistent slide after slide. Even then, there are chances you may not be too happy with the results or the time it takes to make these changes. You can get over this problem by using a new Slide Layout with a picture placeholder. As we learnt in previous tutorials, a placeholder is a container that you can use to fill in with all sorts of content types such as text, pictures, charts, SmartArt graphics, etc.

In this tutorial, we'll explore how to work with a picture placeholder you add to a new Slide Layout in PowerPoint 2016.

  1. First, add a new Slide Layout within the Slide Master. With your new Slide Layout active within the Slide Master view, access the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon. Next, click the bottom half of the Insert Placeholder button (highlighted in red within Figure 1). Then click the Picture option in the resultant drop-down gallery, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 1, below.

    Picture placeholder
    Figure 1: Picture placeholder
  2. Go ahead and insert a Picture placeholder, as shown in Figure 2. Note that your new Picture placeholder already has a bulleted list with a single line that reads Picture.

    Picture placeholder within the Slide Layout
    Figure 2: Picture placeholder within the Slide Layout
  3. Now you can get rid of the bullet, and also change the boilerplate text. Click anywhere on the word Picture within the placeholder -- notice that as soon as you click, all text disappears but the bullet is retained, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.

    Bullet within Picture placeholder
    Figure 3: Bullet within Picture placeholder
  4. To get rid of the bullet, press the Backspace key on your keyboard and then start typing the boilerplate text you want. We typed in Click to insert a picture, as shown in Figure 4.

    Boilerplate text changed for the picture placeholder
    Figure 4: Boilerplate text changed for the picture placeholder
  5. Note that the default shape of your picture placeholder is a Rectangle -- you can optionally change this shape to something else, such as a circle, a rounded rectangle, or even a heart. To do that, first select the placeholder and click the Drawing Tools Format tab, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5.

    Drawing Tools Format tab
    Figure 5: Drawing Tools Format tab

    Note: The Drawing Tools Format tab is a Contextual tab. These Contextual tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time -- they only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.
  6. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, click the Edit Shape button to bring up a sub-menu, as shown in Figure 6, below -- choose the Change Shape option (highlighted in red within Figure 6) to bring up the Shapes gallery.

    Change Shape option
    Figure 6: Change Shape option
  7. Within the Shapes gallery, choose any shape type for your picture placeholder. Figure 7, below shows the picture placeholder changed from a Rectangle to a Rounded Rectangle (compare with Figure 4 earlier on this page).

    Change Rectangle to a Rounded Rectangle
    Figure 7: Change Rectangle to a Rounded Rectangle
  8. You can also resize the placeholder -- explore our Resizing Shapes tutorial to learn more. Although the link provided is for resizing shapes, you can follow the same steps to resize placeholders. Additionally, you can use PowerPoint's Merge Shapes feature to create amazingly shaped picture placeholders -- explore our Create Custom Shaped Picture Placeholders tutorial to learn more.
  9. When done, access the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon, and click the Close Master View button (highlighted in red within Figure 8). This will get you back to Normal View.

    Close Master View button
    Figure 8: Close Master View button
  10. Access the Home tab of the Ribbon and click the Layout button to bring up the Layout drop-down gallery you see in Figure 9, below. Notice that your new Custom Layout (highlighted in red within Figure 9) shows up here, ready to be used to create a new slide.

    New Slide Layout
    Figure 9: New Slide Layout

    Note: The new layouts you create are saved as part of the presentation, and are not available in any other presentations you create. Other than adding placeholders to your new Slide Layouts, you can also change their slide backgrounds.
  11. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Formatting Picture Placeholders in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Formatting Picture Placeholders in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Formatting Picture Placeholders in PowerPoint 2010 in Windows

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©2000-2016, Geetesh Bajaj. All rights reserved.

since November 02, 2000