This week I gave a client workshop where we discussed how teams work together and how to define the e-learning production process. One of the many tips that came out of the day was that using templates in Articulate Studio ’13 can really make your production life easier. In case you weren’t able to attend, or simply like having a handy written reference, I’ll recap what we talked about here:
Templates are a great way to define the overall look and feel for your course. Most companies have strict branding guidelines, so creating a template that honors these rules will give you a uniform starting point for every slide. When I build courses, I usually start with creating or modifying the master slides.
While working in Articulate Presenter ’13, go to View and then select Slide Master. Note that you can also define Handout and Notes Masters here.
The menu then changes to the master view, where you can define the Background Styles, Colors, Fonts, and Effects for your slides. Or you can simply select one of the predefined Themes that are available.
Depending on which devices you’d like your course to run on, this is also the place where you can define the overall Slide Size.
Next, select the layouts that will be relevant for your course. The commonly used layouts are usually already available in the master.
You can also go ahead and create custom layouts by selecting Insert Layout. This adds a new nearly blank slide (usually title and footer, if used, are preset) and you can decide which elements you’d like to see on it by selecting Insert Placeholder and dragging it onto the slide.
You can also add logos and other images by going to the Insert tab. But remember that you’re still in the slide master view and are not working on the single slides yet (that’s easily mixed up since it looks similar). Be sure to look for the Slide Master tab — that’s how you can tell that you’re still working on the master, not on individual slides yet.
Once you’ve finished designing your slide masters, go to the Slide Master tab and click on Close Master View. That brings you back into the normal editing mode.
Sharing Your Templates
Why recreate the wheel with every project when you can save your project as a template and use it as a base for future projects and/or share it with your team?
Go to the File tab and select Save As. After you’ve decided where to save the template, select PowerPoint Template from the Save as type drop-down menu.
After you save it, you can forward the template file to your team members via email or, even better, upload it to a central location where everyone has access to it.
Note that in the folder where you saved it, you can see that the file type is defined as PowerPoint Template—this way you can easily differentiate it from your other files and you can sort by it.
As you can see, templates really do make your life, and your team’s life, a lot easier. By using the same template for your courses you can ensure consistency in the look and feel as well as compliance with your branding guidelines. And, you can focus on the instructional design and content of your course.
How are you using templates within your team or within your company? Do you have any tips to share with the community? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Want to try something you learned here, but don’t have Articulate software? Download a free trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any comments, please share them below.