If you, like me, have been using PowerPoint since computers were boxes with with humming towers attached to them, then you may have forgotten a few little features that could make you life easier when making presentations, games, or even PDF worksheets for you classes. Let me give you a quick reminder of what you might be missing out on, so you can save time in the future.

Slide Master

The Slide Master function in PowerPoint can be found by selecting View –> Slide Master. Once selected you will see something like this on your screen:

Screen shot of MS PowerPoint in Slide Master view

The first thumbnail is the Master Layout (every time I type that I hear dramatic music in my head – dum da dum dum). Any changes you make to the Master Layout are also applied to all the slide layouts. You can also make changes to individual slide layouts by selecting them – those changes won’t be applied to all slide types.

Lets say you want a border to be applied to all your slides.

Adding a green border to the Master Layout adds the border all the slide layouts.

Screen shot of editing view in PowerPoint, showing a blank slide wiht a green border

Now any new slide I add to the deck will have the green border. I don’t need to duplicate slides, or copy and paste the border from one slide to another. The border also remains consistent across all the slides.

Design Themes and Variants

When you select the Design tab from the ribbon, you’re presented with two main options – Themes and Variants as well as a Customise option and a Designer option. The Themes and Variants options can save you time when it comes to making your slides or worksheets look cohesive.

When you expand the Themes tab you will see something like this:

Screen shot of MS PowerPoint showing Themes tab open

Each theme comes with a pre-set colour scheme and background look. When you select a theme it will be automatically applied to all your slides, and any existing elements you’ve added, like our green border for example, will be changed to match the new colour scheme associated with the theme.

When you expand the Variants tab you will have a number of options, including the Colour option.

Screen shot of MS PowerPoint showing Variant tab open, and the Colours option expanded

Selecting a different colour scheme will change the colours applied to you slides. So, when I select the Slipstream colour scheme, the green border becomes red, and the lightning becomes green.

Screen shot of MS PowerPoint with the Slipstream variant applied. The cloud graphic is grey, and the lightning is green. The border is red.

Choosing a theme, or colour scheme, will mean you’re presented with different options when you go to adjust the fill colour on shapes, or recolour images you’ve inserted into your presentation. This keeps everything consistent.

Using the Slide Master, and Design Themes and Variants features of PowerPoint are hardly high tech. Perhaps that’s why we forget they’re there. But, using them can save you time and effort while making resources for your students that look consistent and polished. They’re your secret weapon to getting work out of the way, so you can go enjoy the sunshine.

Share your experience with these features in the comments. I’d love to here if they’re useful for you!

Wendy Allott

I'm an educator, mum and wife living in beautiful Victoria, Australia. I make learning resources for passionate, but time-poor, teachers in need of a better work-life balance. I'm a voracious reader, love a good curry, and believe life is always better with chocolate.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: