PowerPoint 2003: Creating a Slide Master

The slide master is an incredibly useful feature in PowerPoint 2003 that allows you to easily customize the design and layout of all slides in your presentation. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to create an effective slide master in PowerPoint 2003.

What is a Slide Master?

A slide master is a special slide that stores default text formatting, colors, fonts, effects, backgrounds, and placeholder sizes and positions. Any changes made to the slide master will apply to all slides in your presentation, allowing you to quickly change the entire look and feel with just a few clicks.

Some key benefits of using a slide master include:

  • Consistency – Ensures all slides have a consistent and professional design
  • Efficiency – Allows bulk changes to be made quickly and easily
  • Customization – Gives full creative control over the presentation’s appearance

Accessing the Slide Master

To access the slide master in PowerPoint 2003:

  1. Click View > Master > Slide Master
  2. The slide master will appear alongside thumbnail previews of the layouts

Pro Tip: You can also access the slide master quickly using the keyboard shortcut Shift + Click the Normal view button.

Editing the Slide Master

With the slide master open, you can customize various design elements:

Change Background

  • Click the background to open Format Background
  • Choose a solid color, gradient, texture or picture
  • Adjust transparency if desired

Add Logo

  • Insert a logo or graphic that will appear on every slide
  • Recommended size is 2 inches or less
  • Position in a consistent spot (e.g. top corner)

Edit Placeholders

  • Click to select a placeholder and edit properties like color, size, font etc.
  • Add new placeholders as needed
  • Delete unused placeholders

Apply Effects

  • Use Shape Effects and WordArt Styles to add visual interest
  • Try shadows, reflections, glows etc.
  • Use sparingly to avoid a distracting appearance

When finished editing, click Close Master View to return to normal view.

Creating Useful Layouts

In addition to the slide master, you can also create custom layouts that can be used as templates for new slides. Useful layouts to create include:

  • Title and Content – Title placeholder + Content placeholder
  • Comparison – 2 Content placeholders side-by-side
  • Blank – No placeholders

To create a new layout:

  1. In slide master view, right click on an existing layout
  2. Choose Duplicate Layout
  3. Customize the layout as needed
  4. Give it a meaningful name e.g. “Comparison”

Adding Slide Numbers

To quickly add slide numbers to all slides:

  1. In Slide Master view, insert a text box in the footer
  2. Type the slide number placeholder: Slide Number
  3. Use Align tools to position as desired

The slide number will automatically update on each slide.

Tips for Slide Masters

  • Keep slide master designs simple and professional
  • Use a branded slide master to maintain company visual identity
  • Avoid frequent changes once the presentation is underway
  • Start with a PowerPoint template for quick customization
  • Ensure slide master coordinates with color theme


Learning to properly utilize PowerPoint 2003’s slide master unlocks tremendous potential for saving time and applying consistent branding across your presentations. With just a few clicks, you can update all slides automatically by editing a single slide. Use the techniques covered here to elevate your next PowerPoint deck. Let the slide master do the heavy lifting for your next presentation design!