Slide Masters + Content Library Templates: Best practices?

Nov 28, 2018

I'm hoping to use Slide Masters for my new project (my first). I'd also like to utilize Content Library Templates to save some time for certain layouts (menu, drag and drop, etc.). Obviously I would have to customize them (client colors, etc.) for consistency. On first glance, it looks like I might want to mix and match Templates (e.g., some from Chroma, some from Velocity). I understand that importing a Template brings in a unique set of Slide Masters, which I would presumably customize at the Slide Master level. 

Does this sound like a valid approach? Or would this make life more difficult than necessary (e.g., proliferation of Slide Masters and duplication of customizing work)? Any best practices or tips for using Slide Masters while leveraging Content Library Templates? 


6 Replies
Tom Kuhlmann

Hey Mark:

Good question. It's generally easy enough to combine different templates as long as you understand some general ideas and constraints. I created a recording to help you out.

  • The main thing is that templates have unique layouts, colors, fonts, and design elements.
  • You can select slides and add the design from one template to the other slides.
  • You'll need to do some tweaking.
  • Don't get lost in the weeds messing with the master templates. If you do that you waste time and lose the benefit of using the templates.
Mark Swanson

Thanks, Tom. That does confirm my thoughts/hesitations about mixing and matching Templates. Avoiding ugly design element disparities between different Templates (e.g., pills vs. rectangles) seems like a good reason to not mix and match, so perhaps it would be best to just select one Template (e.g., the one most consistent with the client's style and with the most layout options) and tweak/customize layouts as needed.

With regard to Slide Masters... I understand that applying a single design theme will give a uniform color & font to the project, but I notice you applied your design theme to the slides themselves rather than the Slide Masters. Why? I would have thought applying the design theme to the Slide Masters would be best practice.

Another quirk I noticed about Content Templates... if you insert/import Template slides piecemeal, this will generate an entirely new set of Slide Masters with each import. So it appears the best practice is to import all the Template slides at once.

Tom Kuhlmann

You could apply them to the themes. But I didn't for three reasons:

  • By applying to the slide, you leave the original theme intact if you want it later
  • Dark and light themes have different background settings; thus applying a light theme to a dark theme doesn't show a change until you change the background which is more clicking and explaining
  • Stay out of the master to not get caught in the weeds :)
Mark Swanson

I assume you mean "Template" not "theme."

#1... Couldn't you just reimport the original Template if you need a fresh version?

#2... True, but if I don't mix and match, and am careful to choose only a light Template consistent with a light client color theme, then this shouldn't be an issue, right?

#3... I'm still not sure why you're advocating avoiding masters or what you see as dangers. If I develop 150 slides with a green decorative design element in the master, and the client changes their mind and wants blue, I need only change one master slide. If that green element is placed manually on each slide, I then have to make 150 changes. What am I missing?

Tom Kuhlmann

1.No. Design themes have background styles. Templates are made up of themes, plus more...

2. You could.

3. I think the power of templates is that they are mainly choose, insert, and use. If you have to do a lot of tweaking, you lose the benefit. That's why I usually say stay out of the masters. Generally, if you're messing around in the master, you will find a lot of time spent doing tweaks and at some point it's easier to build form scratch than use a template. But you are free to do whatever you want and of course there's always multiple ways to do things. Thus what I say may not be the way others approach it.

The green/blue example is not tied to the template. It's tied to the color theme. You would change the color theme and apply it. You don't need to to that in the master.

Mark Swanson

1. Ahhh, you're right, you did apply a Design Theme to a Template slide. My mistake. It does look like one can get into real trouble trying to revert to original themes tied to a Content Library Template. For example, the theme that comes with the 'Velocity' Template (in Content Library) has a light background for the Course Objectives slide. But Storyline also has a built in 'Velocity' Design Theme, which when applied over a 'Velocity' Template slide, changes the light background to a dark background! I wonder if this is just an unfortunate single example where the designers made a poor judgment by using the same name ('Velocity') for both a Design Theme and a Template. The other built-in Design Theme names ('Dots,' 'Chalkboard,' etc.) appear to not overlap the other names of the Content Library Templates ('Serenity,' 'Inspire,' etc.) Is this worth escalating as an issue to the development team? Or am I still not understanding the intent?

3. Agreed on the cost/benefit of tweaking Templates. But I still think Master Slides have value if modified sparingly. Also, my green/blue example wasn't meant to be related to Templates, but rather to manual customization of a default Master Slide (no Template involved). I wouldn't want to change a swatch in my custom Design Theme to change green to blue because that would mean changing the color of an accent or control, which would have ripple effects on other slides. 

I think I might have added confusion to this discussion by switching back and forth between using Templates and just manual customization (in my mind, but perhaps not clearly in writing).  

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