A placeholder is a boilerplate container that you can use to fill in with some sort of content. When you launch PowerPoint, you will see those distinctive boxes that invite you to add some content. Haven't you noticed the "Click to add title" suggestions? All these boxes are placeholders. When selected, these boxes have a grey border around them, as shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Part of a new slide showing placeholders with grey borders
All of PowerPoint's built-in slide layouts except the Blank layout contain placeholders. PowerPoint provides several placeholders that can contain various types of content such as text, tables, charts, pictures, clip art, SmartArt diagrams, or media clips. If you add a new slide based on the Title and Content layout, you'll find two placeholders: one for the slide title and the other for any single content type (see Figure 1, above). Each of the default layouts comprises a collection of various placeholders. If none of the available layouts work for you, you can create your own with custom placeholder(s), as explained in the following steps:
- Launch PowerPoint 2011. By default, PowerPoint opens a blank presentation. Select View | Master | Slide Master menu option as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Slide Master option within the View menu.
- This opens the Slide Master view, as shown in Figure 3. In Slide Master view, you'll find that the left pane contains a larger thumbnail on the top, called the Slide Master (highlighted in blue within Figure 3), and several smaller slide thumbnails representing individual Slide Layouts (highlighted in red within Figure 3).
Figure 3: Slide Layouts within Slide Master view
- Add a new Slide Layout and make sure it is selected. We will add one or more placeholders to this layout. Optionally, you can follow these same steps to add placeholders to any of the existing Slide Layouts. For this tutorial we have selected the newly inserted slide layout, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: New Slide Layout selected
- With the new Slide Layout still selected, hover your cursor over the Insert Placeholder button on the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon, that is shown highlighted in red within Figure 5. You'll notice that there are two parts of the button: the down-arrow (highlighted in blue within Figure 5) is a distinctly different button.
Figure 5: Insert Placeholder button
- Click the down-arrow within the Insert Placeholder button to bring up a drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Insert Placeholder drop-down gallery
- All the placeholder types within the Insert Placeholder drop-down gallery can be populated with the content types explained below:
- A Content placeholder is a combination of seven types of content: text, pictures, charts, tables, SmartArt, media clips, and clip art. This placeholder appears almost like a text placeholder. But it additionally contains a small palette of icons in the center, one for each of the other 6 non-text content types. Note that each Content placeholder can hold only one type of content at a time. Figure 1, earlier on this page shows a Content placeholder.
- For inserting a Content placeholder rotated 90 degrees clockwise.
- For interring a bulleted text.
- For inserting a Text placeholder rotated 90 degrees clockwise.
- For inserting a chart.
- For inserting a table.
- For inserting a SmartArt diagram.
- For inserting media files such as audio or video clips.
- For inserting a clip art.
- For inserting a picture.
- Choose the placeholder type you want to add, and drag on the new slide layout to insert the placeholder. For this tutorial we are selecting the Content placeholder as it provides all the seven content types. As you can see in Figure 7 below, the Content placeholder is inserted within the new slide layout (compare with Figure 4, above).
Figure 7: Content Placeholder inserted within the new slide layout
- Now you can insert multiple placeholders to create your customized layout. Figure 8 below shows our layout that contains Content, Chart, and Media placeholders (compare with Figure 7).
Figure 8: Chart and Media Placeholders inserted within the new slide layout
- When done, click the Close button on the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon (highlighted in red within Figure 8 above). This will get you back to Normal view.
- 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. Notice that your new layout shows up here with the name Custom Layout (highlighted in red within Figure 9), ready to be used to create a new slide.
Figure 9: Custom Layout added with new placeholders
- Save your presentation often.
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