We all know that PowerPoint comes with its own set of default templates you can use for your presentations. But, let’s face it, they aren’t super exciting and everybody who has access to PowerPoint has already seen them, used them, and is probably bored with them.
That’s why designing your own PowerPoint template is such a good idea. A custom-made PowerPoint template will save you time in the long run, provide brand consistency, and lets you and your team focus on the content rather than playing with the design of each slide.
So, if you have decided that creating your own PowerPoint template is the way to go, then here are the top 5 things your PowerPoint template should include.
The most important element of your PowerPoint template is the master slide. This is the first slide you see on the left-hand side when you open up a new presentation in Slide Master View.
The master slide is where you can set the background, color, fonts, headers, spacing, what form the bullet points should take, etc. You can also place any logos or branding that you want featured on all of the subsequent slides. By defining all these elements in the master slide, you create a sense of consistency throughout your presentation.
If you fail to put all of this formatting in place on the master slide, then you will have to do it manually on every individual layout, wasting precious time and increasing the likelihood of inconsistency. Used correctly, a defined master slide makes creating a PowerPoint template quick and painless!
Warning: Most templates you can download online are lacking this crucial element. Their slides are either all created in the Normal View, or if they’re built in the Slide Master View, they’re exclusively on Child Layouts and ignore the Parent Layout.
Never underestimate the power of fonts. They can communicate so much with very little effort. The wrong font can turn your audience off, by being too hard to read or by simply looking out of place. Avoid using any of the hand-writing style or decorative fonts. They might appear fun or pretty, but they also look unprofessional and are almost impossible to read from a distance.
Don’t spend hours browsing the font list for ‘something cool’. Choose one or two simple, easy to read fonts that look professional. Make sure they are legible against your PowerPoint backgrounds and themes.
Keep in mind your brand image and your presentation message and choose a font which matches both.
Warning: Not all fonts appear correctly on all computers. Certain fonts don’t exist on both Mac and PC, and custom fonts installed on your computer may not display on somebody else’s.
Unless you know EXACTLY who else is going to use the template and know for a fact that they have the same custom fonts installed on their computer, I would avoid custom fonts entirely.
To learn more about safe fonts you can use in PowerPoint, that will work in any version of PowerPoint (Mac or PC), see this helpful guide here.
When designing your PowerPoint template choose your colors wisely. Color is a powerful yet subtle tool when it comes to delivering a message and influencing your audience.
Again, the wrong color combinations can be a headache inducing nightmare for your audience.
Try to stick to a maximum of three colors, make sure they don’t clash and that they are set up correctly in your PowerPoint theme.
Also, think about your company logo and the products or services you provide. Your PowerPoint presentation is an opportunity to reaffirm your branding before a captive audience.
When you are creating your PowerPoint template you want to make sure that you allow yourself a number of different slide layouts. This gives you plenty of options for future use and gives you and your team room to be creative with presentations and content.
Here are the standard slide layouts that you should include in your PowerPoint template
Section header slides
Video and image only placeholder slides
Text only slides
Text and image mixed slides
Chart and graph slides
Of course, these are just a guide. You might not need to use all of the layouts all of the time, and you may wish to create additional options. But, do it now to save yourself the hassle later down the line.
Note: Only build layouts for types of slides you use frequently. It’s not much use to you to templafy a slide that will only ever appear once or twice.
As with any tool, its value is only as good as its user. This means that while your template may be great, it will fail if your colleagues or clients don’t know how to use it. The very best templates out there always include helpful user instructions for how to make the most out of it.
Instructions can include:
How to add multimedia to each placeholder
How to customize/format an element, such as an icon
How to adjust the layering of elements on the slide
How much text should be on the slide, and what font size it should be
How to activate or deactivate animations
These are simply ideas, of course. Think through how you want your template to use, as well as what its user might not know, and you’ll be well on your way.
For step-by-step instructions on how to create a PowerPoint template, read this article here.