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Using Masters in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows

Learn about various Masters that influence the look of your slides, handouts, and notes pages in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2003 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher






Every individual slide that you see within your PowerPoint deck may have its own unique content, but there's so much consistency as far as the look of successive slides is considered. All slides typically have the same slide background, and also the same fonts. You really don't have to do anything other than adding new slides and typing in your text. All the formatting is taken care of by some magical behind-the-scenes intelligence within PowerPoint. Also if you print notes pages or handouts from PowerPoint, you will find that these are also formatted to synchronize with the look of your slides. Ever wonder how you can control all this intelligence? Well, the answer is the Masters that are contained within every PowerPoint presentation.

PowerPoint 2003 includes four types of Masters. We will briefly look at these Masters, and then explore them in detail within subsequent tutorials. These four Masters are:

  1. Slide Master: Slide Master influences the layout of almost all the slides in your presentation except title slides which are based on Title Master. Learn more about the Slide Master.
  2. Title Master: Title Master influences the title slide (normally the first slide or a section slide of your presentation). All other slides are associated with Slide Master. Learn more about the Title Master.
  3. Handout Master: Handouts in PowerPoint are almost always intended for print, so you can edit based on the requirement within the Handout Master. Learn more about the Handout Master.
  4. Notes Master: Notes Pages can be edited within the Notes Master to influence their look. Learn more about the Notes Master.

To access the masters, select the View | Master menu option, which brings up a sub-menu as shown in Figure 1. In this sub-menu, click on any of the three Master options.

Master sub-menu within View menu
Figure 1: Master sub-menu within View menu

Note that you have no direct option to access the Title Master. To edit the Title Master, you access the Slide Master since the Title Master is a subset layout of the Slide Master.

The Slide Master and Handout Master can also be accessed by clicking the view buttons on your Status Bar:

  • Shift+click the Normal View button to access the Slide Master
  • Shift+click the Slide Sorter View button (second button) to access the Handout Master

Figure 2 shows the tool tip (Slide Master View) when your cursor is placed over the Normal View button (first button) with the Shift key pressed.

Shift+click Normal view button to open the slide master view
Figure 2: Shift+click Normal view button to open the slide master view

Tip: The view buttons are located right beneath the Slides and Outline Pane within the PowerPoint 2003 interface

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