Slide Layouts in PowerPoint

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The Opening Screen in PowerPoint 2003

Parts of the PowerPoint opening screen
Parts of the PowerPoint opening screen. © Wendy Russell

Related Tutorials
• Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2010
• Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2007

PowerPoint Opening Screen

When you first open PowerPoint, your screen should resemble the diagram above.

Areas of the Screen

Section 1. Each page of the working area of the presentation is called a slide. New presentations open with a Title slide in Normal view ready for editing.

Section 2. This area toggles between Slides view and Outline view. Slides view shows a tiny picture of all the slides in your presentation. Outline view shows the hierarchy of the text in your slides.

Section 3. The area to the right is the Task pane . Its contents vary depending on the current task. Initially, PowerPoint recognizes that you are just starting this presentation and lists appropriate options for you. To give yourself more room to work on your slide close this pane by clicking on the small X in the upper right corner.

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The Title Slide

The title slide in a PowerPoint presentation
The title slide in a PowerPoint presentation. © Wendy Russell

The Title Slide

When you open a new presentation in PowerPoint, the program assumes that you will begin your slide show with a Title slide. Adding a title and subtitle to this slide layout is as easy as clicking in the text boxes provided and typing.

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Adding a New Slide to the Presentation

Select the New Slide button then choose a slide type from the Slide Layout task pane
Select the New Slide button. © Wendy Russell

The New Slide Button

To add a new slide, click on the New Slide button located on the toolbar in the top right corner of the window or select Insert > New Slide from the menus. A slide is added to your presentation and the Slide Layout task pane appears at the right of the screen.

By default, PowerPoint assumes that you want the new slide layout to be the Bulleted List layout. If you don't, simply click on the desired slide layout in the task pane and the layout of the new slide will change.

After making your selection, you can close this task pane by clicking on the X in the top right corner to increase your work space.

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The Bulleted List Slide

Bulleted list slide
The bulleted list slide is the second most commonly used slide in PowerPoint presentations. © Wendy Russell

Use Bullets for Short Text Entries

The Bulleted List slide layout, as it is commonly referred to, is used to enter key points or statements about your topic.

When creating the list, hitting the Enter key on the keyboard adds a new bullet for the next point you want to add.

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The Double Bulleted List Slide

Double bulleted lists are often used to compare products or ideas
Double bulleted lists are often used to compare products or ideas. © Wendy Russell

Compare Two Lists

With the Slide Layout task pane open, select the Double Bulleted List slide layout from the list of available layouts.

This slide layout is often used for an introductory slide, listing points that will be raised later during the presentation. You might also use this type of slide layout to contrast items, such as a pros and cons list.

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The Outline / Slides Pane

Outline / Slide Pane in the PowerPoint Window
Outline / Slide Pane in the PowerPoint Window. © Wendy Russell

Choose to View Thumbnails or Text

Note that each time you add a new slide, a miniature version of that slide appears in the the Outline / Slides Pane on the left side of the screen. You can switch between views by clicking on the desired tab at the top of the pane.

Clicking on any of these miniature slides, called thumbnails, places that slide on the screen in Normal View for further editing.

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The Content Layout Slide

There are several different types of content layout slides in PowerPoint
Several different types of Content Layout slides. © Wendy Russell

Content Layout Slides

This type of slide layout allows you to easily add content such as clip art, charts, and tables to your presentation.

There are a number of different Content Layout slides in the Slide Layout task pane for you to choose from. Some of the slide layouts have more than one content box, others combine content boxes with title boxes and / or text boxes.

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What Type of Content Will This Slide Have?

This PowerPoint slide has six different content types
This PowerPoint slide has six different content types. © Wendy Russell

Choose the Content Type

Content layout slide types allow you to use any of the following for your content.

  • Table
  • Chart
  • Clip Art
  • Picture
  • Diagram or Organization Chart
  • Media Clip

Place your mouse over the different icons to see what type of content each icon represents. Click the appropriate icon for your presentation. This will start up the appropriate applet so that you may enter your data.

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The Chart Content Slide Layout

Chart data slide in PowerPoint presentations
Sample chart data displayed in a PowerPoint presentation. © Wendy Russell

One Type of Content

The above graphic shows the Chart content slide layout. Initially PowerPoint displays a chart, (or graph) of default data. Once you enter your own data into the accompanying table the chart will automatically update to display the new information.

The way a chart is displayed can also be changed. Simply double-click on the item you wish to edit (for example - colors of the bar graph or size of fonts used) and make your changes. The chart will change immediately to show these new changes.

More on Adding Excel Charts in PowerPoint

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Move Text Boxes - Changing the Slide Layout

Animation of how to move text boxes in PowerPoint presentations
Animation of how to move text boxes in PowerPoint presentations. © Wendy Russell

Changing the Slide Layout to Suit Your Needs

It is important to remember that you are not limited to the layout of a slide as it first appears. You may add, move or remove text boxes or other objects at any time on any slide.

The short animated clip above shows how to move and resize text boxes on your slide.

The four slide layouts mentioned in this tutorial -

  • Title
  • Bulleted List
  • Double Bulleted List
  • Content Layout

are the most commonly used slide layouts in a presentation. Other available slide layouts are mostly combinations of these four types. But again, if you can't find the layout you want, you can always create it yourself.

Next Tutorial in This Series - Different Ways to View PowerPoint Slides

11 Part Tutorial Series for Beginners - Beginner's Guide to PowerPoint

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Your Citation
Russell, Wendy. "Slide Layouts in PowerPoint." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2017, Russell, Wendy. (2017, March 3). Slide Layouts in PowerPoint. Retrieved from Russell, Wendy. "Slide Layouts in PowerPoint." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 18, 2018).