In your work with Articulate Storyline, you might have heard about four tools that can really cut your development time: templates, slide masters, themes, and layouts. Today I’d like to zoom in on these terms and show you how helpful they are when you’re creating courses.


When your course has repeating content, you can put these elements on a template and start your new slides with these objects in place every time. Content from slides or scenes, including audio, video, animations, and triggers, are ideal for templates since they take time to build from scratch. With templates, you build once, and then use as a starting point for new slides. Working with templates is a huge time-saver!

Storyline comes with several templates, but you can also save any Storyline project of your own as a template. The file ending is *.storytemplate and it will be saved in the folder called \My Articulate Projects\Storyline Templates.

Slide Masters

Articulate Storyline slide masters are similar to ones you may have used in PowerPoint. You can use them to control the default themes, colors, fonts, text, and objects for slides throughout your course, and you can use as many slide masters as you want (every course has at least one). To access slide masters in Storyline, go through the Slide Master tab or the View tab.

What I really like about slide masters is that you can apply them to an existing course, either to the whole course or only to certain slides. That’s especially useful to course developers who like to draft content first and worry about design later.


A layout inherits all the properties of its parent slide master, but you can customize each layout to display content in a specific way. A slide master is a collection of slide layouts.

Difference between slide masters and slide layouts


Themes let you apply a consistent design to your slide masters and layouts. A theme consists of colors, fonts, and objects.

Keep in mind that anything on a master slide will always display beneath everything else you might add later to your slide. I like to think of them as frames to which you add your content on top.


For more information, we have great tutorials on Using Slide Masters in Storyline 1 and Storyline 2. They also explain the use of layouts and themes and much more.

You can also find tutorials in our E-Learning Heroes community on Using and Creating Templates for Storyline 1 and Working with Templates for Storyline 2.

Have you worked with templates and slide masters before? Do you like to start your projects with slide masters, templates, or something else? Tell us about your process by leaving a comment below, and follow us on Twitter for more e-learning tips and tricks, every day!

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Amy Janczy