What is a slide master?

Slide masters are designed to help you create great looking presentations in less time, without a lot of effort. When you want all your slides to contain the same fonts and images (such as logos), you can make those changes to the Slide Master, and they'll be applied to all your slides.

slide master layout in powerpoint

To get to Slide Master view, on the View tab, select Side Master. The master slide is the top slide in the thumb nail pane on the left side of the screen. The related slide layouts appear just below the slide master.

Shows slide layout in PowerPoint Slide Master View

When you edit the slide master, all slides that follow that master will contain those changes. However, the majority of changes that you make will most likely be to the slide layouts related to the master.

When you make changes to layouts and the slide master in Slide Master view, other people working in your presentation (in Normal view) can’t accidentally delete or edit what you’ve done.

One final tip: It is a good idea to edit your slide master and layouts before you start to build individual slides. That way all of the slides that you add to your presentation will be based on your custom edits. If you edit the slide master or layouts after you build individual slides, you’ll need to reapply the changed layouts to the existing slides in your presentation in Normal view. Otherwise, you won’t see the changes in your slides.


A theme is a palette of colors, fonts, and special effects (like shadows, reflections, 3-D effects, and more) that complement one another. A skilled designer created each theme in PowerPoint. We make those pre-designed themes available to you on the Design tab in Normal view.

Every theme you use in your presentation includes a slide master and a related set of layouts. If you use more than one theme in your presentation, you’ll have more than one slide master and multiple sets of layouts.

PowerPoint themes

Slide Layouts

You change and manage slide layouts in Slide Master view. To get to Slide Master view, on the View tab, select Side Master. The layouts are located beneath the slide master in the thumbnail pane on the left side of the screen.

Slide Master with layouts in PowerPoint Slide Master view

Every theme has a different number of layouts. You most likely won’t use all of the layouts provided with a given theme, but pick and choose the layouts that best match your slide content.

In Normal view, you’ll apply the layouts to your slides (shown below).

PowerPoint slide layouts

Each slide layout is set up differently — with different types of placeholders in different locations on each layout.

Every slide master has a related slide layout called Title Slide Layout, and each theme arranges the text and other object placeholders for that layout differently, with different colors, fonts and effects. The picture below shows first, the Basis theme’s version of the layout called Title Slide Layout. And to contrast it, the slide layout below it is the Title Slide Layout for the Integral theme.

Basis Title Slide Layout in PowerPoint

Integral Title Slide Layout in PowerPoint

You can change anything about a layout to suit your needs. When you change a layout, and then go to Normal view, every slide you add after that will be based on this layout and will reflect the changed look of the layout. However, if there are existing slides in your presentation that are based on the old version of the layout, you’ll need to reapply the layout to those slides.

More information about slide masters, layouts, and themes

Applies To: PowerPoint 2016, PowerPoint 2013

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