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Creating PowerPoint Templates

Learn how to create PowerPoint templates.


Product/Version: PowerPoint

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Case Study 1
Case Study 2
Case Study 3


PowerPoint templates are an irony. They are gateways to both excellent and ridiculous presentations, yet many of us want to collect as many templates as we can. They are like fonts because you never have too many. Considering how easy it is to create a template, its surprising that many of us never get down to creating one. And many who do create templates rarely use them, partly because they look so amateur. So, what's the key to creating professionally designed templates? This is more easily explained as a case study. Read on…

All these case studies are fictitious and any resemblance to actual situations is purely coincidental.


Case Study 1

John works for the Infrastructure Development Authority, and his boss needs to present to a visiting foreign delegation on the benefits of investing in their region, primarily in a new airport. They are certain they need a presentation template that reflects their objectives but they have no idea where to start!

They approach a professional presentation designer. The following thoughts ensue into action:

  1. They choose midnight blue as the background color. Around 75% of presentations today are presented on a blue background. There's a reason behind this choice: blue is the color of the sky and the sea and represents unlimited potential. It also looks good with most other colors and most importantly is also considered conservative.
  2. The background used is a textured fill design from Corel PhotoPaint. If you're using the same application, create a new 1076 x 768 pixels blank image, choose the Edit | Fill option, and choose a textured blue fill.
  3. A nice aeroplane image was found in Hemera's excellent Photo Objects collection. The program allowed export with alpha channels intact, which is great if you're using a professional image editor like Adobe Photoshop, Corel PhotoPAINT, or Paint Shop Pro.
  4. The aeroplane image was imported into PhotoPAINT to be superimposed over our textured fill. The program's excellent interactive transparency tool was used to blend it into a complete composition. The final image was flattened and exported to a JPG image with no compression applied.
  5. In PowerPoint 2000, choose to create a blank presentation. Go to the View | Slide Master option, and then, choose the Format | Background option. Choose the Picture tab, and browse to wherever you saved your background image.
  6. Now, select the text boxes and select a suitable typeface, and also change the text color to white.
  7. Go to the Insert | Title Master option, and repeat steps to input your background and change text attributes.
  8. Choose the View | Normal option. Doing so brings you back to the default, Normal view.
  9. Next, choose the File | Save As option. In the resultant dialog box choose Design Template (*.pot)' in the Save As Type drop-down menu.
  10. Save your presentation template.


Case Study 2

Anita has been a frequent creator of her own custom templates. Presently, she's installed the new PowerPoint 2002 and would like to use its Multiple Masters feature to create a template that offers more backgrounds and layouts. Yet, she doesn't know where to start.

She manages to convince Rex, the resident geek to help her out. This is how they proceed:

  1. Follow the first four steps under Case Study 1 to create a distinctive identity for your template.
  2. Create similar backgrounds with a few variations. For example, you could remove the aeroplane altogether in one instance, or maybe scale or rotate some elements. You could also lighten or darken the background or change the opacity of some elements. Basically, we need backgrounds that have something common in their identity. Substituting a blue background for a pink one is a very bad idea, since continuity in look is important, even if we are using Multiple Masters.
  3. Open PowerPoint 2002. If PowerPoint does not open an introductory dialog box, click on the Blank Presentation option on the right task pane.
  4. Choose the View | Master | Slide Master option and then Format | Background. Choose the Picture tab, and browse to wherever you saved your background image.
  5. Now, select the text boxes and select a suitable typeface, and also change their color as required.
  6. Choose the Insert | New Slide Master menu option, and repeat steps to input your background and change text attributes. You could use a completely different picture or something else here.
  7. Repeat the last step as often as required to increase the number of individual slide masters would be contained within your final template.
  8. In normal circumstances, the Slide Master View toolbar will be open and you can experiment with the various options included, and finally click the Close Master View button.
  9. Choose the File | Save As menu option. In the resultant dialog box, choose Design Template (*.pot)' in the Save As Type drop down menu.
  10. Save your presentation template.


Case Study 3

Martin needs to use a presentation as a medium to propose a script for his new movie commercial. A little dramatic effect is required for each slide, along with an opening animation on the first slide. He requires a multimedia-equipped PowerPoint template. However, he doesn't know how to go about creating such a template.

Basically, a little dramatic effect can be achieved using some movement during a slide transition. Explaining how to create such a template on this page could be a complicated affair. Yet here are a few guidelines to get one started:

  1. Use slide transitions to advantage. Pulse, a template included with PowerPoint contains an animated light transition. Create a single slide presentation with this template. We are going to deconstruct the design to easily learn the concept behind such effects. The techniques listed here were executed in PowerPoint 2000. If you're using PowerPoint 97 or 2002, you may have to complete the sequence differently.
  2. Choose the View | Master | Slide Master option.
  3. Click on any of the light blue light portions on the right, and all portions get selected. Essentially, it's one thin long column stacked behind all objects. So you only view the portions exposed.
  4. Right-click the light blue column and choose Custom Animation.
  5. In the Order and Timing tab, you'll find the Fly From Right transition selected with a timing of 0.01 seconds after a slide loads.
  6. In the Effects tab, You'll find that the Hide After Animation option has been selected.
  7. Since all these settings have been used on the Slide Master, they affect every slide in the presentation.

Now that we have learned about inserting a lit transition, it may be a good idea to include an aperture style sound with each transition. This is easily accomplished. In Slide Sorter view, right-click on any single slide and choose Transition from the resultant flyout menu. The Transitions dialog box has an option called Transition Sounds. Choose a suitable sound and press either Apply to All to reflect the change in all slides or just Apply to restrict the sound effect to just this slide.



No support can be provided for the techniques listed above. If you need any assistance, you could use Microsoft's product support for PowerPoint. An alternate route would be to post your queries on the Microsoft PowerPoint newsgroup:

PowerPoint Newsgroup


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