PowerPoint 2010 Masterclass – Slide Layouts

ppt02When preparing a PowerPoint presentation, it is important to use different slide layouts to make the most of your content in order to get the important points across to your audience.

Slide Layout refers to the positioning and formatting of a slide. The layout uses placeholders which contain all the information you want to display including text, lists, tables, charts, graphics etc.

Placeholders are the boxes on a slide that are surrounded by a dotted line and they can be moved, resized and/or re-formatted if you so wish.

Pre-defined Layouts

PowerPoint 2010 has nine pre-defined layouts but allows you to create custom layouts to suit whatever presentation project you are undertaking. Let’s take a look at them.

Open Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 if you haven’t already done so.

When the new presentation is opened, the default slide is formatted in the ‘Title Slide’ layout. It has two placeholders, one for the presentation title and one for the subtitle. If this is not the layout you want, what are your options?


On the Home ribbon bar, in the Slides section, click on the Layout icon (shown right). This will open up the slide layout dialog box.

The nine pre-defined layouts are:

  1. Title Slide
  2. Title and Content
  3. Section Header
  4. Two Content
  5. Comparison
  6. Title Only
  7. Blank
  8. Content with Caption
  9. Picture with Caption

Remember, if these don’t ‘float your boat’, you can always customise your own.


Let’s look at one of the options to practise.

Select the ‘Picture with Caption’ option from the drop-down menu.

This opens a new slide with three placeholders already placed for you.

In the centre of the top placeholder, click on the shaded icon. This should open your ‘My Pictures’ folder in a separate dialog box.

Select a picture of your choosing and click Insert.

Click in the Click to add title placeholder and add a title for your picture.

Click in the Click to add text placeholder and add some descriptive text.

Sit back and admire your work.

Here is the one I created.


This is the end of our PowerPoint 2010 – Slide Layouts masterclass.

Please use the comments box below to let us know what you think of our blogs.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer. He has vast experience using Microsoft software packages as an individual and in businesses situations.

Bob Thomson
Owner / Managing Director
Real Options

Prezi Versus PowerPoint 2010 – Who Wins?

PowerPoint vs Prezi GraphicFor many years there had been nothing to challenge the domination of PowerPoint as the leading tool to assist presentations. This is no longer the case because of the introduction of a web-based application called Prezi.

Prezi’s now been around for a few years and its popularity is growing, so much so that it is widely regarded as a true and viable alternative to the Microsoft product.

First Impressions

The first time I witnessed a Prezi presentation, I admit, I was blown away. The movement around the screen and the zooming in and out was amazing.

Now, having sat through a multitude of them, the novelty has worn off and the initial excitement of the product has waned slightly.

I have also watched some amazing PowerPoint presentations, but don’t get me wrong, I have sat through squillions of others that have left me bored to tears with the “same old … same old”. I’m sure you know what I mean.

So, on first impressions, the honours go to Prezi but how do the two products compare apart from that?



Prezi is a web-based presentation application which means, after signing up for a free account, you can access your ‘Prezis’ anytime and anywhere (as long as you have access to the Internet). You can sign up for Prezi by clicking >>here<<.

NOTE: There are different price bands and I have only used the free version.

Once opened, Prezi uses a virtual canvas instead of slides. It is a bit like a mindmap in terms of construction and you can rotate and zoom through your content very easily.

Prezi Screen Graphic

Blank Prezi screen shown right.

Some of the good points of Prezi are:

  • it’s different
  • the transitions are really smooth
  • it works well with YouTube videos

Some of the not so good points are:

  • large files when downloaded
  • limited fonts and colour schemes
  • novelty soon wears off

PowerPoint 2010

For those of you who are not familiar with PowerPoint (and where have you been for the last 25 years), it has been the de facto standard for presentation tools for a long time. It is produced by Microsoft and is part of the Microsoft Office suite.

It uses a slideshow format and you go from slide to slide in a linear manner.

It is pretty easy to use but, judging by the amount of lousy PowerPoint presentations out there, quite difficult to master.

PowerPoint 2010 Graphic

Blank PowerPoint 2010 screen shown right.

PowerPoint’s good points:

  • greater variety of transitions
  • unlimited fonts and colours (good for branding)
  • good consistency between slides

And the bad:

  • very rigid in structure
  • too much choice (if abused)
  • familiarity (it breeds contempt, don’t you know)


Both these products are great at what they do. Prezi has a lot of followers who scoff at presenters that still use PowerPoint but, I believe, it is down to the individual and how innovative they can be with whichever of the products they choose.

Prezi is here to stay, but whether it overtakes PowerPoint as the number one in it’s current format, I am not so sure.

It should be remembered that, irrespective of the product you use, it is only a tool designed to augment the presentation. It is NOT the star of the show.

I know I will continue to use both products depending upon the type of presentation I am giving at the time.

VERDICT: A definite draw.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer. He started Real Options in 2000 and provides technology help and advice to clients in South and Central Scotland.

Bob Thomson
Owner / Managing Director
Real Options

PowerPoint 2010 Masterclass – Slide Masters

As an advanced user of PowerPoint you need to look at ditching the normal themes and templates you have been using and learn to create and customise your own. This is an essential skill to learn if you are running your own business and, if you work for someone else, impressing your managers and directors.

By using your existing corporate colour schemes, fonts and logos etc. you can quickly tie in with your existing brand and standardise and control your message to the marketplace.

What is a Slide Master?

A slide master stores information about your presentation including the background style, colours, fonts, effects and the size and position of the placeholders.

All PowerPoint presentations require at least one slide master.

Creating Your Own

Open up a new presentation in PowerPoint 2010.

PowerPoint 2010 Graphic

Ensure you have the View ribbon bar selected and go to the Master Views section.

Click on Slide Master (see right).

A new Slide Master ribbon bar will have opened.

NOTE: To ensure the uniformity of the slides in your presentation, ensure you make the changes to the Slide Master before creating any other slides. Changes to the Slide Master can be overwritten on other individual slides in the presentation.

First, let us look at adding our own background.


To add a background to your Slide Master ensure you have the Slide Master ribbon bar selected and go to the Background section.

PowerPoint 2010 Graphic

Click on Background Styles and then Format Background.

The Format Background dialogue box will open (shown right).

The choices you have for your background are:

  • Solid Fill – one single colour
  • Gradient Fill – gradient between two colours
  • Picture or Texture Fill – textured background or a photo
  • Pattern Fill – selection of patterns with two colours

When you have selected your preference, choose what options you want with it.

Click Apply to All.

The slide thumbnails on the left of the screen will show the changes.

Next, let’s change the fonts.


NOTE: If there are particular fonts your company uses you must ensure they have been installed in your Windows/Fonts directory.

To change the fonts in your Slide Master ensure you still have the Slide Master ribbon bar selected.

PowerPoint 2010 Graphic

Highlight the text in one of the placeholders you want to change.

Right-click in the highlighted area and select the Font option in the box that appears. This will take you to the Font dialogue box (left).

Choose the font you require, the font style (regular, bold etc.), the font size and colour and any effects you want.

Click OK.

Review the changes you made in the thumbnails on the left of the screen.

Finally, let’s add a logo.

Adding a logo.

Adding a logo to your Slide Master is easy. Ensure you still have the Slide Master ribbon bar selected.

The main slide thumbnail should be selected on the left-hand side of the screen.

Select the Insert ribbon bar and go to the Images section.

Select the Picture icon.

Navigate to the folder where your logo is stored and select it.

Click Insert.

Use the sizing handles around the logo to resize it if you need to and drag it to the location where you want it.

PowerPoint 2010 Graphic

Return to the Slide Master ribbon bar.

Click Close Master View.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer. He has vast experience using Microsoft software packages as an individual and in businesses situations.

Bob Thomson
Owner / Managing Director
Real Options