What is a slide layout?

Slide layouts contain formatting, positioning, and placeholders for all of the content that appears on a slide. Placeholders are the containers in layouts that hold such content as text (including body text, bulleted lists, and titles), tables, charts, SmartArt graphics, movies, sounds, pictures, and clip art. Slide layouts also contain the theme (colors, fonts, effects, and the background) of a slide.

Structure of a layout
All of the layout elements that you can include on a PowerPoint slide

PowerPoint includes built-in slide layouts, and you can modify these layouts to meet your specific needs, and you can share your custom layouts with other people who create presentations by using PowerPoint.

Slide Layouts in PowerPoint
Built-in slide layouts, showing the placement of various placeholders for text or graphics

You can change the slide layouts that are built in to PowerPoint in Slide Master view. The picture below shows the slide master and two of the layouts for a theme in Slide Master view.

Slide Master with layouts in PowerPoint Slide Master view

To learn more about slide masters, see What is a slide master?

Where can I find slide layouts?

  • If you want to apply a defined slide layout to a particular slide, select the slide. Then, on the toolbar ribbon, select Home > Layout and choose a layout from the gallery of options that appears.

    The Layout button on the Home tab in PowerPoint shows all the available slide layouts
  • If you want to customize the definition of a slide layout that you then later apply to individual slides, On the toolbar ribbon, select View > Slide Master.

    Slide layouts can be customized in Slide Master view

    The slide layouts appear as thumbnails in the left pane below the slide master. Click a layout in the thumbnail pane, and then begin customizing.

More about slide layouts

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