How to update your PowerPoint master slides

Are your corporate PowerPoint templates out-dated or just messy? Do your teams waste time formatting presentations to spruce them up before client meetings? Updating your presentations using PowerPoint’s Slide Master tool will not only ease your frustrations and save you a lot of time, but aligns your team in the process. A concise, up-to-date template also helps create uniform messaging and a common identity. In this post, we’ll explain how to update your master slides and layouts using PowerPoint’s Slide Master.

What is a Slide Master?

Microsoft describes a Slide Master as “The top slide in a hierarchy of slides that stores information about the theme and slide layouts of a presentation, including the background, color, fonts, effects, placeholder sizes, and positioning”

How to update your master slides in PowerPoint

  1. Open PowerPoint and choose the presentation you need to update

2. In the View tab, click “Slide Master”

View slide master

In this view, you’ll see the master slide at the top, with the layout slides beneath it

Slide master

3. To make changes to all layout slides, edit your master slide. For example, you can change the background, logo, fonts, and place holders

TIP: Now that your presentation is updated, make sure that it is easily accessible.

What is a slide layout?

Microsoft describes a slide layout as containing the “formatting, positioning, and placeholder boxes for all of the content that appears on a slide. Slide layouts also contain the colors, fonts, effects, and the background (collectively known as the theme) of a slide.”

Deleting & Renaming Layouts

1. To remove any layouts that you don’t need in this presentation, simply right-click the slide and select “Delete Layout”

delete layout

2. Where possible, try and maintain a layout naming convention across your masters. As layouts are shared across masters (or used with newer and older masters), if PowerPoint cannot match the layout name, a specific layout in one master will be replaced with a generic layout in another – this may not be ideal.

To name or rename a layout slide, right-click on the layout and click “Rename Layout”

rename layout

For example, you could rename your layout “Table of Contents” instead of a generic term like “Layout 1”.

Rename layout

Edit Placeholders

1. To edit the placeholders on a layout slide, click the layout you want to edit.

In the Slide Master view, click the “Insert Placeholder” dropdown arrow

Insert placeholder

You will see a variety of different placeholder types to choose from. Select the placeholder you’d like to add to your layout

placeholder options

2. Drag the mouse in the area of your slide that you want the placeholder to be. You can insert placeholder text in the box to clearly communicate what the placeholder should be used for

3. To apply the layout updates to a presentation that you are currently editing, click “Close Master View” to go back to the normal view

close master view

4. Select the slide in your presentation that needs an updated layout

5. Under the “Home” tab, click “Insert Layout” and select the layout that should be used

insert layout

The layout should be selected from the “Master” section

master layout

Once you choose the layout you want to use, click it. The slide in your presentation will be updated accordingly

By keeping your master and layout slides up-to-date, your team is more likely to abide by visual identity standards and preserve your brand’s integrity.


Related Articles

Solution: Automatically update old slides

How a slide library can help

Video: Placeholders, Footers & Slide Design

How to make your PowerPoint template accessible

Establishing your PowerPoint template as the default option allows it to be easily accessible to your team and propels efficiency. Communicating with your customers with a consistent brand voice and visual identity can support your growth. Whether you are in sales or marketing, keeping your approved templates a click away will ensure you utilize it. Plus, if you find it difficult to get your team to use your templates, this will make it just that much easier for them. In just a few steps, we’ll explain how to make your company’s template your default in PowerPoint.

What is a custom template? 

A custom template in PowerPoint allows people and organizations to create uniform, on-brand slides. Through PowerPoint’s Slide Master, creators can easily apply headings, fonts, and colors to all slides. This is a great way to maintain slide organization and consistency.

How to make your custom PowerPoint templates accessible 

  1. Create your custom template using Slide Master and save it as a PowerPoint Template (.potx). It will automatically be saved in the “Custom Office Templates” folder

2. Let’s set this custom template as your default when you open PowerPoint. Select “New” and click the “Personal” tab

Using PowerPoint, go to "New" and "Personal"

3. Click the template you want to set as your default

4. In a new window, you’ll see a preview of the template. Click “Create”

Create a new template

5. In the “Design” tab, select the “More” arrow in the “Themes” group and a list of themes will appear

6. Right-click your custom theme under the “Office” section and select “Set as default theme”. Every time you open PowerPoint, this will be your theme

Set your template theme as your default theme

Whether you’re just starting out in the world of PowerPoint or you’re an experienced pro, making sure your custom templates are right at your fingertips will boost your efficiency and uniformity. In addition, take into account the size of your template as well. Large templates weigh down your files, so creating a separate library of slides that are not included in your base template can help simplify your template. Consider a slide library solution to manage slides that you want to share with your team but don’t belong in your template.


As you are exploring how to step up your PowerPoint game, consider checking out the following articles:

3 Reasons Your Slide Library Needs a PowerPoint Add-In

How to create a custom template in PowerPoint

Where are the PowerPoint files that drive your slide library?

Reuse Slides in PowerPoint searches for files and not slides

Copying slides from another presentation is a practice that likely began with the second presentation ever built. Reusing content when developing sales pitches, financial updates, or other PowerPoint presentations leverages existing thinking, ensures consistency, and drives productivity.

To support this practice, Microsoft released the Reuse Slides search feature with its best version only available with Office 365 for enterprises/Office ProPlus.  

However, this feature is a file search tool that works from within PowerPoint and not a true slide search solution. As such, Reuse Slides is not helpful for locating slides. Further, it’s missing critical features that are required for successful deployment.

How does the PowerPoint Reuse Slides feature work?

  1. Open the Reuse Slides pane in PowerPoint and run a search. Note that you need Office ProPlus to access the search bar.
  2. PowerPoint finds files from across your computer, OneDrive, and SharePoint that match the search. A thumbnail of the title slide is shown.
  3. Select the file you are interested in and thumbnails for all the slides in the presentation are displayed. Click on any of the slides that you want to reuse to insert them into your active presentation.

Reuse Slides finds files from within PowerPoint. It doesn’t reveal specific slides that best match your search. You can’t quickly find the slide you need and well-matched slides in poorly matched presentations will never be surfaced.

TeamSlide provides a true slide search solution with an enterprise-ready feature set

TeamSlide is a PowerPoint add-in that enables you to search across your PowerPoint presentation repositories to find slides that best match your needs. Instead of returning files, TeamSlide surfaces the best slides from across all your presentations with a thumbnail preview of the slide. With TeamSlide you can search local folders, Outlook attachments, cloud drives like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, and content management systems like SharePoint.

Top 5 Enterprise-ready Features of TeamSlide:

#1: Search

TeamSlide Leverages metadata and the known structure of slides and knowledge repositories to improve search relevancy

  • Filter search results based on any metadata property
  • Identify the title of slides and treat differently
#2: UI

Detailed design to match the unique needs of PowerPoint users

  • Modify the size of preview images
  • Provide insight into slide details (e.g.  metadata)
#3: Security

Protects data from potential abuse

  • Access control: only access slides after logging in and potential checks (e.g. role, project-based, limitation per time frame)
  • Integration with internal systems (e.g. deny login based on specific conditions)
#4: Integration

Tightly integrates with non-Microsoft services to unlock critical value

  • Automation options (e.g. links on your website opens TeamSlide search in PowerPoint)
  • Integration with non-Microsoft services like Box
#5: Advanced

Processes slides to meet advanced workflow demands

  • Automatically update old slides on users’ computers
  • Content update workflow (e.g. allow users to suggest new slides and slide updates)



3 Reasons Your Slide Library Needs a PowerPoint Add-In

Your Slide Library Needs a PowerPoint add-in

Slide libraries establish a central location for storing, accessing, and sharing PowerPoint slides. Slide libraries enable employees with appropriate access rights to effectively compose a variety of presentations including marketing and sales collateral.

While Microsoft discontinued support for slide libraries with SharePoint 2016, third-party partner solutions, like TeamSlide, replace and significantly augment SharePoint’s lost ability to manage slide libraries.

Rather than accessing content through a web browser, TeamSlide relies on a PowerPoint add-in or plug-in for seamless access to the slide library from within PowerPoint. Here are 3 reasons to access slide library solutions through an add-in:

1. Increase productivity

Web interfaces, including SharePoint’s portal, are not intuitive and finding slides and presentations is a cumbersome process. If users are unable to find content quickly, they resort to duplicating existing work or using old slides.

A slide library add-in allows users to find slides from within PowerPoint and without switching context (no Alt-Tab necessary). As such, they are able to easily search, evaluate, and insert slides from the library. This streamlined process helps maximize the value of the firm’s PowerPoint content and drives user productivity.

2. Improve presentation quality

Because they are embedded in PowerPoint, add-ins enable new features (that are otherwise not possible) which improve presentation quality.

For example, you update slides in the library directly from within PowerPoint (rather than uploading it again through a browser). The add-in also notifies users when they have an out-of-date slide that might have been updated by a colleague. Marketing no longer has to worry that sales might be using old or stale slides.

3. Drive adoption

Instead of introducing a tool, an add-in or plug-in extends PowerPoint’s native capabilities. Because the features are provided within the familiar PowerPoint interface, the learning curve is drastically reduced.

As such, team members will be able to start using the slide library immediately and without extensive training.


Where are the PowerPoint files that drive your slide library?

Many sales and marketing organizations are often willing to transfer their PowerPoint files, their source content, to a proprietary slide library or management platform. While this approach has advantages, there are significant drawbacks, too. Another option is to automatically sync content from a third-party content management system (CMS), like SharePoint or Box, into the slide management solution.

In this article we compare the differences between the two approaches:

Connecting to a CMS

How it works

In addition to examining file content, the slide library also pulls in all related metadata.

Rather than uploading content directly, the slide library solution replicates content from a CMS like SharePoint. While your PowerPoint slides are copied, this is a seamless and automatic process. The library connects with the CMS on a defined scheduled, evaluating new, deleted, and updated presentations. It then crawls through each affected presentation to determine new, updated, or deleted slides.

Benefits

  1. Your content remains in its original position and for, enabling your team to maintain their current workflows from a single source of truth
  2. External tools (e.g. CRM) can still leverage the files (a slide library solution likely won’t connect with as many external systems as a CMS)
  3. You can leverage all your existing metadata rather than duplicate it in another solution

Drawbacks

  1. The slide library won’t directly write to the CMS. Most library solutions focus on pulling content from a CMS and not pushing; instead the library will sync with the CMS to capture updates
  2. Connecting to a CMS may require permission from your IT organization
  3. Adding new metadata on slide-level is difficult/tedious

When to connect to a CMS

If you have a large repository (1000+ slides), don’t want to change your workflows or have other tools that leverage the content, connecting to a CMS is likely the best path forward.

If you’ve lost your SharePoint slide library, a solution like TeamSlide can quickly connect to SharePoint and replace the lost functionality.

Uploading directly to a slide library

How it works

Select the PowerPoint presentations/slides and launch the slide library’s batch upload process. During the process, you can also add metadata.

Benefits

  1. A simple process that eliminates any IT approvals required to connect to a CMS
  2. Directly pull and update slide with the slide library’s native features
  3. Easily add new metadata on slide level

Drawbacks

  1. May require a change in your current workflow; external tools likely can’t access the slides
  2. File/content management features native to the slide library are typically not as powerful as a CMS

When to upload directly to a slide library

If you are building a small repository (<1000 slides), uploading directly to a slide library is likely the best path.

At TeamSlide, our batch upload feature enables customers to drag and drop to quickly build a library with hundreds of slides. Whether you are creating a new library or cleaning up an existing one, contact us and we’d be happy to share best practices.



How a slide library can help build winning proposals

For proposal managers, building well-structured PowerPoint proposals that balance client requirements, key selling points, and standard marketing collateral is a critical task. However, building presentations takes time away from selling and is an art form that may not be mastered by the entire team. Careless mistakes, poor messaging, and stale content can have a significant negative business impact.

Slide library solutions help proposal managers streamline the presentation creation process, ensuring that all team members build winning proposals. They enable high-performing slides to be shared and help create strong presentations.

The problem with managing PowerPoint proposals manually

While preparing for a meeting, proposal managers edit and modify proposal presentations that align with their client’s requirements. In these situations, however, there often isn’t much time to make edits or create new slides.

Hunting for old presentations, modifying formats, making content edits, and collaborating with others is time-consuming and stressful. For example, version control can spin up multiple conversations and delays as team members struggle to determine which slide is the latest.

Slide libraries, however, make presentation management completely seamless and help proposal managers focus on telling winning stories through their presentations.

The benefit of slide libraries

Create an approved central repository
Rather than editing previous proposals, a slide library allows for a central repository of approved content. All team members can quickly access these slides and assemble them to create strong client-focused proposals. Slide libraries can typically be extended to include images, too.

Up-to-date slides
With a slide library, users get seamless access to the latest PowerPoint proposal slides, while avoiding stale and duplicate content. However, slides are often updated and while the main repository will house the latest version, team members may still have old slides on their computers. To solve this use-case, slide libraries can automatically check slides and suggest slide updates, ensuring users always have the latest content.

Improved productivity and clear business outcome
With easy access to PowerPoint slides, simple management tools, and strong search capabilities, slide library solutions drive productivity. More importantly, they help improve the quality of proposals which in turn increases the win rate.

Find the right application to manage slide libraries

While support for slide libraries was removed from SharePoint 2013 onwards, third-party tools like TeamSlide can help manage proposal presentations and slide libraries.

TeamSlide is a PowerPoint add-in or plugin that lets you build a slide library or connect to an existing repository like SharePoint or Box. It even imports fields and metadata properties which fuel the search and filter capabilities. In addition, TeamSlide can include a central repository for images, including product shots, stock images, and leadership biography photos.

Final words

Slide libraries are a necessity for proposal managers looking to organize and maintain proposal slides. TeamSlide helps streamline the proposal creation process which in turn drives productivity and increases the team’s win rate. 

Slide library: LEGO for building presentations

Slide libraries are like LEGO for building presentations

At TeamSlide, we’ve described slides and slide libraries a number of ways: shared location for PowerPoint assets, a system to effectively retrieve PowerPoint IP, or a tool to better organize your PowerPoint content. However, a customer recently compared PowerPoint slides and libraries to LEGOs – a simple analogy that we had to share!

LEGOs are standard well-built plastic bricks and can be combined in a variety of ways to build different structures. Similarly, slides are individual components, typically with a specific message, that can be arranged to build presentations.

While bins are used to organize LEGOs by shape or size, slides can be organized using slide library solutions, like TeamSlide, that provide search functionality and quick retrieval.

At TeamSlide, we see two primary use cases:

  • Marketing: A small number of PowerPoint slides that are used on a regular basis and frequently updated. This is like LEGO in the 1980s; standard blocks in a few colors
  • Research: A large number of PowerPoint slides that are each used infrequently. This is modern day LEGO, with its licenses (e.g. Star Wars, Batman) and specialized pieces.

This ‘Explain like I’m Five’ analogy is fun, interesting, and helpful in communicating the value TeamSlide creates.

3 questions to ask when considering a SharePoint slide library replacement or alternative

Much to the dismay of its many users, SharePoint stopped supporting their slide library feature with SharePoint 2013. As organizations have updated their SharePoint implementations, marketing, sales, and product teams have suddenly lost an integral tool to share slides and ensure members have access to the latest PowerPoint content.

A number of vendors are positioning their solutions to close this gap and support improved slide sharing. However, a deep dive reveals that most are not suitable plug-n-play alternatives.

Here are 3 critical questions to ask when evaluating a SharePoint slide library replacement or alternative:

1. Does it integrate with SharePoint?

Adopting a new slide library shouldn’t impact your current content strategy – your new slide library needs to connect with the content you have in SharePoint. If you have a large repository (2000+ slides), uploading it to a new platform will greatly impact user adoption. Further, other systems may no longer be able to access the content.

2. Can you leverage your metadata?

Over the years, your organization has likely added a significant amount of metadata to SharePoint, helping users find the content they need. It’s imperative that your new slide library solution can use and display this metadata to help fuel its search. In addition, the library solution should also allow users to browse content by metadata.

 3. Does it work from within PowerPoint?

Implementing a new slide library solution should drive productivity without a significant learning curve. Solutions that require users to navigate to a website or a separate application significantly hamper productivity. However, providing access from within PowerPoint through an add-in or plug-in can help teams quickly realize benefits.

Slide libraries create immense value to organizations that use PowerPoint on a regular basis. However, selecting one that meets your specific needs requires a thoughtful process. We hope the questions above help frame your approach.

At TeamSlide, we’ve built a SharePoint slide library alternative. Feel free to request a demo and free trial.

 

Slide libraries: A tale of two use cases

A slide library is typically a set of PowerPoint content that can be accessed on a slide or object level. Across a variety of functions (e.g. sales and marketing) and industries (e.g. consulting, financial services), slide libraries play a significant role in presentation creation. They allow users to leverage existing content to quickly build new, consistent, and on-brand presentations.

Slide libraries used to be a core feature of SharePoint. Even though they were a popular feature, since SharePoint 2013, Microsoft has stopped supporting slide libraries due to design constraints.

While the idea of searching, previewing, and inserting individual slides is central to slide library solutions, their approach needs to fit tightly within the customer context and their use cases. As we’ve worked across a range of customers, two primary use cases have consistently emerged:

  1. Marketing/Business development/Templates
    • Small number of assets that are frequently used
    • Browsing more important than search
    • No significant management capabilities required
    • Asset development and curation performed by a small team
  2. Research
    • Large number of assets that are each infrequently accessed
    • Search more important than browsing
    • Sync content from a CMS (e.g. SharePoint)
    • Have formal processes in place for asset development/curation

Strong slide library solutions need to effectively serve both use cases. While customers may start with only one, as they mature both use cases often emerge as equally important.

For example, consulting firms have templates that drive productivity and output consistency. These templates are typically designed by a core operations team and stored locally on each employee’s computer. As firms mature, they invest in a knowledge repository that houses summaries of all completed projects. These summaries come from a larger group of employees and are typically curated by a central team. As the repository grows in size and value, the ability to access specific slides become increasingly important.

When selecting a slide library, ensure your vendor has the ability to support both uses cases equally and can meet your growing needs.

Replace the SharePoint slide library, not SharePoint!

What happened?

Starting with SharePoint 2013, Microsoft surprisingly dropped support for their popular slide library feature. SharePoint’s slide library gave users access to PowerPoint content on a single slide-level. Further, it provided a picture preview of each slide, allowing users to quickly determine which slide they needed.

While the UI was a little rough, SharePoint’s slide library was an important tool for marketing and sales teams across multiple industries. As companies upgraded SharePoint, users were often caught off-guard, losing access to an important feature and desperately looking to replace it.

Our Solution

In the following years, several 3rd party solutions have been introduced, including our own TeamSlide. However, many of these solutions ignore SharePoint (and other content systems), requiring users to recreate their repository on their own proprietary platforms. This strategy poses 2 primary issues:

  1. Manually rebuilding large repositories with metadata is extremely cumbersome, regardless of how easy the system tries to make it

  2. Most slide library offerings are point solutions with limited integration. As such, the repository is not usable by other technologies

When building TeamSlide, we spoke with marketing and sales teams across multiple industries and developed 2 key design tenants. 

Two Key Design Tenants
  1. Leverage existing content repositories like SharePoint to the fullest extent possible
    • Automatically replicate content
    • Pull in all existing metadata
  2. Place access to the library where users work – in PowerPoint
    • A visual preview of search results
    • Click to insert slides into the users’ active presentation

Expecting users to drastically change their habits inhibits adoption and impacts productivity. Effective slide library solutions need to leverage existing content systems and fit into current workflows.

If your team lost SharePoint’s slide library solution, request a demo of TeamSlide and we’d be happy to set up a free trial.  You’ll be able to search your PowerPoint presentations in SharePoint on a single-slide level, from within PowerPoint.