One of the questions that comes up often in the PowerPoint workshops I do is ‘How do I add a logo to all the slides in my presentation?’ Sometimes instead of logo, it is called a watermark, but whatever it is called, it is a common graphic element placed in the same position on each slide. The answer is simple: use the Slide Master.
If you are reading along in this series you will know that we are going to be creating a presentation together, called “College: Worth It?” I will use the first couple of slides in the presentation to demonstrate how to add a common graphic element (a logo, in this case) to each of the slides in the presentation by making one simple change to the Slide Master. Along the way we will also discuss Master Guides, picture sizing, and excluding that graphic from selected slides.
To start, I recommend you select your theme. I have chosen the blue variant on the built-in Ion theme for my presentation. If you choose a different theme for your presentation you may have different challenges with background art and in positioning elements on the slide, if you are following along. Here are the first two slides in the presentation.
The first slide is based on the title slide layout, and the second on the blank slide layout. We will discuss adding text and graphics to slides in a future post. For now, let’s say that we want to place a logo for the college we are representing on every slide in our presentation, including the title slide. Our intention is to brand our presentation, but we do not want the logo to dominate. Here is how to do it.
1. Click on the View tab, and click Slide Master.
The various available layouts will be shown in the thumbnail pane on the left of the screen, with the layout for the currently selected slide in normal view selected. A layout is a positioning template, and you can see that there are many variations from which to choose.
2. Scroll all the way to the top of the layouts until you see a slide labelled “1.” It will be bigger than the other layout thumbnails and have a dashed line descending from it with horizontal lines to the layouts positioned beneath it.
The larger slide is the slide master, with each of the specific layout masters arrayed beneath it. The dashed lines indicate inheritance. Each of the layout masters can be changed independently, and slides based on changes made to a specific layout will be applied to your presentation, or the slide master can be changed and the changes made on it filter down to the other slides.
To place a logo on each and every slide in our presentation, then, all we have to do is place it on the slide master.
3. Click on the slide master to select it. Then click on the Insert tab (remember, we are still in Slide Master View, not Normal View), click on the Pictures command in the Images group, navigate to your logo file, select it and click Insert on the Windows Explorer dialog box.
PowerPoint will respond by inserting the graphic file in its own container centered on the slide.
4. Format the graphic as you wish. In my case, I am placing a college logo on the slide, and the image I have is too large. I want to resize and style it. I will post later on formatting images (the basic steps I took in this case are summarized in the video below), but your mileage may vary depending on the graphic. After the image is formatted, I want to position it in the lower right corner of my slide. In order to format it precisely (I want equal amounts of marginal space to the right and bottom of the image) I will turn on rulers and guides.
(The following section describes how to precisely position a graphic element using rulers and guides. For those who want to simply drag it to a “good enough” location, skip to point 6 below).
5. Click on the View tab, and place a check in the box next to Rulers and Guides, in the Show group.
Two dashed-line guides appear centered on the slide, corresponding to 0 on the horizontal and vertical rulers (the rulers also start centered on the slide, with measurements marked in 8ths in both horizontal and vertical directions. Graphing fans should be thrilled.
In any event, hovering over either of the guides will cause a dark line with two arrowheads extending from it to appear in the place of the mouse cursor. Hold down the mouse button and drag the vertical guide to 6.50″. A small tooltip will appear indicating the distance from zero of the rulers. Use this to position the guides precisely. Since the default slide size is 13.33″ x 7.5″, half the slide is 6.67″ x 3.75″. Placing the guide at 6.50″ leaves a margin of 0.17″. To produce the identical margin with the horizontal guide, pull it to 3.58″ (i.e., 3.75″ – 0.17″). Since you are positioning these guides on the slide master, they will appear on all slides in the presentation for later use, and can be turned off by simply clearing the check box next to Guides on the view tab. (I use guides so often that I include them on my quick access toolbar).
Now, to many (most) people precise positioning like this may appear to be a waste of time—and to be honest I do not try to teach it to beginners—but once you feel more confident with PowerPoint, the more care you take with positioning of elements the more professional your presentation will appear. For those more artistically inclined, just drag the logo where you want it.
6. Drag the formatted logo to the intersection of the guides. To nudge an object a pixel at a time, hold down the Ctrl key and press the arrow keys.
Now take a look at the layout thumbnails in the Slide Master thumbnail pane. Each of them has inherited the logo from the slide master. Which means that the logo will appear on every single slide in your presentation, since all slides in the presentation are based on one of these layouts. Close Master View and take a look. Now go to the Home tab and create a new slide, based on the Title and Contents layout. It too contains the logo, as will all future new slides.
What you have done is place a piece of background artwork on all slide layouts. So what if you want to create a slide that does NOT have the logo on it? Simple. Go to Slide Master View, click on the layout you want to use for the slide without the logo to select it, press Ctrl-D to duplicate the layout, right-click the new layout thumbnail and choose Format Background… In the Format Background pane that appears, in the Fill section, check the box “Hide background graphics.” Now, it is true that this will also suppress any other background art on the slide, but if this matters (and it often does not) you can simply copy it from the slide master and paste it back onto the logo-less layout. Seeing this happen in the video below may be easier than trying to understand this tortured description…