Create a custom layout

Layouts help you lay out the components of your slide and PowerPoint comes with many of them. Here’s a sample.
slide components

slide components

Unfortunately, PowerPoint versions before 2007 and 2010 don’t have a feature to let you create custom layouts that appear in the Layout taskpane. However, you can work around this limitation by designing your own layout and saving it as a template.

Suppose you’re a sales manager and create lots of comparison slides to train your sales reps. Here’s an example:

comparison slide

comparison slide

You want the layout to look something like this:
desired layout for the example

desired layout for the example

This layout doesn’t exist in PowerPoint, but you can create it easily enough. Use any layout with a title, text placeholder, and content placeholder. Duplicate the content placeholder. (Or you can choose one with two content placeholders.) Move and resize the placeholders until you have the look you want.

If you want to create other custom layouts, go ahead.

When you’re done, save the presentation as a template. Choose File > Save and choose Design Template (*.pot) from the Save as Type drop-down list.

When you want to create a presentation, start a new one from the template.

Before adding any content, copy the existing slide (or slides, if you created more than one custom layout) to make additional empty slides. You need to do this because, once you add content, you can’t create a new slide with your custom layout. So you need to keep an empty slide handy. Just make sure that you always have an extra blank slide with each layout that you created.

Thankfully, PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 allow you to create custom layouts, using one of 8 placeholders:

  • Content
  • Text
  • Picture
  • Chart
  • Table
  • SmartArt
  • Media
  • Clip Art

Follow these steps to create a custom layout:

  1. Click the View tab, then click the Slide Master button in the Presentation Views group. The slide master appears.
  2. On the Slide Master tab, in the Edit Master group, choose Insert Layout. A new layout appears in the left pane.
  3. Again on the Slide Master tab, in the Master Layout group, click the Insert Placeholder button’s down arrow and choose one of the 8 placeholder types.
  4. Drag on the slide to size and place the placeholder.
  5. Place more placeholders, laying them out as needed.
  6. When you’re done, click the layout in the left pane, and display the Slide Master tab. In the Edit Master group, click the Rename button. Enter a name and click Rename.
  7. The presentation now contains the new layout and you can choose it the same way you’d choose any of the standard layouts for any slide.
  8. If you want to use the layout in the future, save the file as a template (.potx, or .potm if it contains macros) or theme (thmx).

1 comment to Create a custom layout

  • Mike Throssell

    Help. I can create a custome layout on my slide master, but when I Click on the New Slide Button my custom layout is not there. Any help would be appreciated.

    Mike Throssell
    Bedford
    Endland

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