By default, most PowerPoint themes align slide titles midway between the top and the bottom of a text placeholder. I’m talking about vertical alignment, not the more common horizontal alignment, which left-aligns, centers, or right-aligns text.
Vertical alignment is not considered as often, but it can be quite important.
Here’s the default slide title in the default Office theme, except that I’ve left-justified it:
The first line moves up and the second line moves down. As a result, your slide titles shift as you go from slide to slide. Some start at the top of the placeholder; others start at the middle (vertically). This constant movement can be jarring to your audience and doesn’t look very polished.
Which way to go — top or bottom?
I used to bottom-align slide titles. I learned that from Julie Terberg of TerbergDesign. She is one of the top presentation designers in the United States and a fellow PowerPoint MVP. She explains that this provides a stable “hanging point” for the rest of the slide.
Over time, I’ve discovered that this doesn’t work for me — possibly because I’m not a professional designer but perhaps also because I design my slides differently.
So I top-align slide titles. In this way, they always start in the exact same place, whether they are one line or two.
How to change slide title vertical alignment for an entire presentation
You certainly don’t want to change the vertical alignment on individual slides. Instead, you can change it for an entire presentation in the Slide Master. Follow these steps:
- Click the View tab, then click the Slide Master button.
- In the left-hand pane, scroll up to the larger layout thumbnail and click it.
- Right-click the slide title placeholder’s border and choose Format Shape.
- In PowerPoint 2013, a taskpane opens at the right. Then (1) click Text Options, (2) click the Text Box icon, and (3) choose Top (or bottom) from the Vertical Alignment drop-down list.
- In PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, a dialog box opens. Then (1) click the Text Box category and (2) choose Top from the Vertical Alignment drop-down list. Click Close.
How to change the vertical alignment for all presentations
But you shouldn’t have to top-justify your slide titles each time you start a presentation. Instead, change the theme that you use, whether the default theme or a custom theme. Then every presentation that you start will automatically have top-justified slide titles.
I explain how to customize and save your theme in an earlier post, “Customize the default theme to instantly get the look you want.”
How about you?
Do you use top or bottom alignment? Which one and why?
Have you wrestled with the issue of slide titles jumping around? Never thought about it?
Leave a comment!