Slide Masters Always a Problem

Jan 26, 2022

For the life of me, I can not get the concept of slide masters. I just can't. I sat through two tutorials about using 360 templates (great) and creating themes (also great). Feeling ready and excited, I go in and duplicate a slide in the Slide Master view, create what I want, and then the next thing I know that has appeared on every one of my slides. Now, I should add that I did follow the instructions not to change the top slide in the list of slides and yet I still end up with this issue. I tried to go and delete the offending slide and I can't. 

Am I truly not cut out for this business?? Slide Masters have been the bane of my work since I started. Forgive my rant, but any help would be appreciated.


Thank you!


5 Replies
Christy Tucker

The Slide Master is the master version. Anything you put in the master will appear on every slide that uses that master.

Think of it like a teacher creating handouts with a template from a workbook. The workbook is the master copy. If the teacher photocopies 20 copies for her students, they'll all be the same. If the teacher adds a handwritten note to skip question 5 on the master copy before making those copies, then she changed the master--and the students will all see her handwritten note.

But unlike those physical copies, it's like you had magic to make that handwritten note appear on all the student handouts even after making the copies. Every time you make a change in the master, that change is reflected in all the copies.

Right now, you're making your changes in the original master copy. Instead of making changes there, if you want to create a single slide, select Close Master View. That will let you edit a single slide. When you're ready to add another slide, select New Slide

If you want to change which layout (slide master) is used for a particular slide, select Apply Layout.

I know the workbook and photocopies metaphor isn't perfect (since Storyline continues to update rather than being a one-time physical copy), but does it at least sort of make sense now?

Walt Hamilton

Christy's point about layouts is pretty important. Right-click a blank spot on a slide, and layout will be one of your choices. If you apply a different layout, the slide will change.

I would suggest, too, that when you edit the Master, you first create a new layout. Make your changes on it. Then all the originals are in the default condition. If you want a slide with the changes, use your new layout. If you want one without them, use one of the original layouts.

After they are created, you can change the layout of any individual slide.

Judy Nollet

Here's how I put it: Master Layouts let you add slides that already have the basic pieces you want to use.

For example, if you want  the Slide Title to appear left-justified in a blue banner across the top of all the slides, adjust the placeholder on the Master Layout(s) that way. Then you won't have to adjust the look of the title box on each individual slide.

Another example: If you want a certain photograph to appear in the background on multiple slides, you only need to put it on a Master Layout (instead of copying and pasting it to multiple slides). 

You can create as many Master Layouts as needed. However, it usually doesn't make sense to create a layout that'll you'll only use for 1 slide. Instead, start with whatever layout is closest to what you want (or start with a blank layout), and then revise the slide as desired. 

Here's a bit more info more that might be helpful:

On Master Layouts, you can insert a Placeholder. A placeholder defines an area for inserting a specified type of content on a slide. (A Content placeholder can hold anything.) 

On a slide using that layout, the placeholders will appear on the slide and in the Timeline. They can be edited, moved, reformatted, etc. 

On Master Layouts, you can also insert other objects via the INSERT tab:

On a slide using that layout, those objects will not appear on the Timeline. And they won't be editable nor moveable. Also, they will appear below/under any placeholder boxes or objects inserted directly on the slide. That's true even if you bring them to the front/top of the timeline in the Master. 

Best wishes!