Sunday, March 20, 2011

The point is the power of the Powerpoint Slide Master

The Slide Master: Have you ever needed to group your Powerpoint slides, where the slides within each group share some information, such as a header, footer, images, or other elements? As you can imagine, if you had to change that shared content on each individual slide in the group, it could mean a lot of repetitive work. Instead, in this post we will look at the Slide Master using a Jeopardy game presentation as an example.

What is a Slide Master: A Slide Master stores information about the theme and slide layouts of a presentation. In reality, a Slide Master is a group of layouts that contains the master layout and several slide layouts. Every presentation contains at least one Slide Master. If your presentation has 10 groups of slides, then you can create 10 Slide Masters, each one customized for the group it represents. Content that will be repeated in each group, can then be added on the Slide Master. Each slide created from this Master will already be populated with the repetitive information.

Application: For my example, I will use a Jeopardy-like game presentation. Recently, I wanted to create a game for my students, however, I wanted an easily re-usable presentation. In such a presentation, generally, there is a table containing links to slides for each category. The slides for each category share at least the title or the name of the category.

So, the slides for each column of this table belong to a group with the title that matches the category name given at the top of the column.

The other thing to note is that each group of slides also shares some properties. Every slide in each group contains an answer, a hidden response in the form of a question, and a link back to the above table. In order to share these properties across groups, Powerpoint allows you to create a Slide Master from an existing Slide Master.

The Solution: Here are the basic steps for creating the presentation:
  • Create the first two slides, introduction slide and the table, as you would normally create a presentation.
  • Edit the existing Slide Master to match the first category.
  • Rename the Slide Master to the name of the category to make it easier to distinguish between the collection of Slide Masters.
  • Add category name in a textbox.
  • Add placeholders for the answer and the question-response.
  • Add a back button to take us back to the table.
  • Animate the response, so that it isn't visible until we click.
  • Duplicate this Slide Master for each of the remaining categories.
  • Rename the new Slide Masters appropriately, and change the category name on the content layout.

Below is a short video clip that shows these steps in action. Please keep in mind that the main goal of the video clip is to show the Slide Masters, so very little attention is given to other details.

I will make my completed copy of the sample presentation available for download after March 30, 2011 via a comment on this post. In the meantime, happy Power Sliding, Master!

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