PowerPoint – Slide Master View


You may have noticed that when you select a different theme in PowerPoint, it rearranges the text on your slides and adds shapes to the background. This is because each theme has built-in slide layouts and background graphics. You can edit these layouts with a feature called Slide Master view. Once you learn how to use Slide Master view, you’ll be able to customize your entire slide show with just a few clicks.

Optional: Download our practice presentation.

Watch the video below to learn more about using Slide Master view.

What is Slide Master view?

Slide Master view is a special feature in PowerPoint that allows you to quickly modify the slides and slide layouts in your presentation. From here, you can edit the slide master, which will affect every slide in the presentation. You can also modify individual slide layouts, which will change any slides using those layouts.

For example, let’s say you find a theme you like but you don’t like a few of the slide layouts. You could use Slide Master view to customize the layouts to look exactly the way you want.

slide master view


In Slide Master view, the Slide Master tab will appear first on the Ribbon, but you’ll still be able to access commands on different tabs as you normally would.

Using Slide Master view

Whether you’re making significant changes to your slides or just a few small tweaks, Slide Master view can help you create a consistent, professional presentation without a lot of effort. You could use Slide Master view to change just about anything in your presentation, but here are some of its most common uses.

  • Modify backgrounds: Slide Master view makes it easy to customize the background for all of your slides at the same time. For example, you could add a watermark or logo to each slide in your presentation, or you could modify the background graphics of an existing PowerPoint theme.
  • Rearrange placeholders: If you find that you often rearrange the placeholders on each slide, you can save time by rearranging them in Slide Master view instead. When you adjust one of the layouts in Slide Master view, all of the slides with that layout will change.
  • Customize text formatting: Instead of changing the text color on each slide individually, you could use the Slide Master to change the text color on all slides at once.
  • Create unique slide layouts: If you want to create a presentation that looks different from regular PowerPoint themes, you could use Slide Master view to create your own layouts. Custom layouts can include your own background graphics and placeholders.

Some overall presentation changes—like customizing the theme fonts and theme colors—can be made quickly from the Design tab. Review our lesson on Modifying Themes to learn more.

To make changes to all slides:

If you want to change something on all slides of your presentation, you can edit the Slide Master. In our example, we’ll add a logo to every slide. If you’d like to work along with our example, right-click the image below and save it to your computer.

mongibello pasta logo
  1. Select the View tab, then click the Slide Master command.
    selecting the Slide Master command on the View tab
  2. The presentation will switch to Slide Master view, and the Slide Master tab will be selected on the Ribbon.
  3. In the left navigation pane, scroll up and select the first slide. This is the slide master.
    selecting the slide master
  4. Make the desired changes to the slide master. In our example, we’ll insert a picture of the Mongibello logo.
    inserting a picture on the slide master
  5. Moveresize, or delete slide objects as needed. In our example, we’ll resize the logo and move it to the bottom-right corner.moving the logo to the bottom right corner of the slide master
  6. When you’re finished, click the Close Master View command on the Slide Master tab.
    closing Slide Master view
  7. The change will appear on all slides of the presentation.
    the logo appearing on multiple slides

When you make a change to the slide master, it’s a good idea to review your presentation to see how it affects each slide. You may find that some of your slides don’t look exactly right. We’ll show you how to fix this by customizing individual slide layouts.

Customizing slide layouts

You can use Slide Master view to modify any slide layout in your presentation. It’s easy to make small tweaks like adjusting background graphics and more significant changes like rearranging or deleting placeholders. Unlike the slide master, changes to a slide layout will only be applied to slides using that layout in your presentation.

To customize an existing slide layout:

In our example, our newly added logo is hidden behind the photo in the Picture with Caption Layout. We’ll customize this layout to make room for the logo.

  1. Navigate to Slide Master view.
    selecting the Slide Master command on the View tab
  2. Locate and select the desired layout in the left navigation pane. You can hover the mouse over each layout to see which slides are currently using that layout in the presentation.
    selecting a specific slide layout
  3. In some layouts, the background graphics may be hidden. To show the graphics, uncheck the box next to Hide Background Graphics.
    showing background graphics
  4. Add, move, or delete any objects as desired. In our example, we’ll delete the gray background shape.
    deleting a shape from the slide layout
  5. If you want to change the arrangement of the placeholders, you can move, resize, or delete any of them. In our example, we’ll move our text placeholders and the black bar to the right side, and the photo placeholder to the left side.
    rearranging content on the slide layout
  6. When you’re finished, click the Close Master View command on the Slide Master tab.
    closing slide master view
  7. All slides using the layout will be updated.
    the updated slide layout

You can also move placeholders on the slide master, which will move the placeholders on multiple slide layouts at the same time. However, some slide layouts may still need to be adjusted manually.

Customizing text formatting

You can also customize the text formatting from Slide Master view, including the font, text size, color, and alignment. For example, if you wanted to change the font for every title placeholder in your presentation, you could modify the master title style on the slide master.

changing the title placeholder font on the Slide master

Each title placeholder is connected to the master title style on the slide master. For example, take a look at the slides before changing the title font.

before changing the master slide title placeholder font

Now look at the same slides after changing the title font.

after applying the new font to the placeholder on the slide master

Instead of customizing individual placeholders, you can change the theme fonts for a presentation. From the Slide Master tab, click the Fonts command in the Background group, then select the desired fonts.

changing the theme fonts from the Slide Master tab

Creating new slide layouts

One of the most powerful features of Slide Master view is the option to create new slide layouts. This is an easy way to add interesting and unique slide layouts to an existing theme. You could even use this feature to design an entirely new theme, as in the example below.

a custom theme designed with unique slide layouts

To insert a new slide layout:

  1. Navigate to Slide Master view. From the Slide Master tab, click the Insert Layout command.
    inserting a new slide layout
  2. The new slide layout will appear.
    the new slide layout
  3. The layout will include title and footer placeholders by default. Click the Title and Footers boxes in the Master Layout group to toggle these placeholders on and off.
    toggling the title and footer placeholders in the Master Layout group
  4. You can now add background graphics, shapes, and pictures to the slide layout. You can also move, adjust, and delete the existing placeholders. In our example, we’ll move the title placeholder to the bottom-right corner. We’ve also changed the text alignment to align right instead of align left.
    moving an existing placeholder on the new slide layout
  5. To add new placeholders, click the bottom half of the Insert Placeholder command, then select the desired placeholder type. In this example, we’ll use the Picture placeholder.
    inserting a picture placeholder
  6. Click and drag to draw the placeholder on the slide.
    drawing a new placeholder on a custom slide layout

To rename a custom layout:

When you’re done designing your custom layout, you’ll want to give it a unique name so it will be easy to find.

  1. From Slide Master view, select the desired layout, then click the Rename command.
    clicking the Rename command
  2. A dialog box will appear. Type the desired name, then click Rename.
    renaming a custom slide layout

To use a custom layout:

Once you’ve created a custom slide layout, it’s easy to add a new slide with that layout or apply it to an existing slide.

  1. If you’re currently in Slide Master view, click the Close Master View command on the Slide Master tab.
  2. From the Home tab, you can insert a new slide with the custom layout or apply it to an existing slide. In our example, we’ll select the Layout command and apply the new style to slide 6.
    applying a custom layout
  3. The custom slide layout will be applied.
    the new custom slide layout applied

PowerPoint also allows you to add new placeholders to existing slide layouts.

Using custom layouts in other presentations

When you modify the slide master or slide layouts in Slide Master view, you’re actually creating a custom version of the current theme. If you want to apply the theme to other presentations, you’ll need to save it.

To save a theme:

From the the Slide Master tab, click the Themes command, then select Save Current Theme from the drop-down menu.

saving a theme

If you’re not in Slide Master view, you can save the theme from the Design tab. Just click the drop-down arrow in the Themes group, then select Save Current Theme.

saving a theme from the design tab


  1. Open our practice presentation. If you already downloaded our presentation to follow along with the lesson, be sure to download a fresh copy.
  2. On the slide master, change the Background Style to Style 7.
  3. Delete the tall rectangular shape near the left of the slide master.
  4. Close Slide Master view and select slide 4. Your slide should look like this:
    Slide Master Challenge 2
  5. Reopen Slide Master view. In the Picture with Caption layout, select the background shape on the left side of the slide behind the text,and change the color to Dark Aqua.
  6. When you’re finished, slide 2 should look like this:
    Slide Master Challenge
  7. Optional: Save your theme to your computer.