Slide Layouts in PowerPoint

PowerPoint slide layouts allow you to quickly create professional slides with a predefined structure. Instead of inserting placeholders and formatting each slide individually, you can use layouts to save time and ensure consistency across your presentation. This guide covers everything you need to know about slide layouts in PowerPoint.

What Are Slide Layouts?

Slide layouts are pre-designed slide templates that come built into PowerPoint. They contain placeholder boxes for things like:

  • Titles
  • Bulleted lists
  • Images
  • Charts/graphs
  • Tables
  • Text boxes
  • Videos
  • Shapes

The placeholders serve as content containers that you can easily replace with your own information. Layouts streamline the slide creation process so you don’t have to format each slide from scratch. They also provide structure and ensure a clean, consistent look across your deck.

Benefits of Using Layouts

  • Save time – Simply drag in your content instead of manually adding placeholders and formatting
  • Enforce consistency – Layouts make your slides look cohesive and professionally designed
  • Focus on content – With the design work done, you can concentrate on creating great slides

Types of Built-In Layouts

PowerPoint offers several preset layouts to choose from. The most common ones include:

Title Slide

The title slide features a large title placeholder at the top with a subtitle and text box below. It’s perfect for the first slide to introduce your presentation.

Section Header

This layout contains a title placeholder at the top with a subtitle and text box underneath. It visually separates sections within your deck.

Two Content

Includes a title at the top with two content boxes side-by-side below that fit text, images, charts and more.


Displays a title, followed by two columns with content placeholders side-by-side for making comparisons.


As the name suggests, this layout contains no pre-formatted placeholders, allowing you to create a custom slide from scratch.

There are also many content-specific layouts like Picture with Caption, Quote with Caption, Agenda, and more. Browse the layouts gallery in PowerPoint to see all available options.

Creating a New Slide with a Layout

Applying a slide layout in PowerPoint is simple:

  1. Navigate to the Home tab
  2. Click New Slide (or press Ctrl + M)
  3. Hover over the layout thumbnails and select your desired template

A new slide will be inserted into your deck with the chosen layout applied.

You can now click into the placeholder boxes and insert your own content like text, visuals, tables, and more. The slide will take on the look and feel designed by the layout.

Customizing Layouts

While PowerPoint’s default layouts cover most basic needs, you may want to modify them or create new custom layouts. Here are some customization tips:

  • Edit Layout Placeholders – Select the layout from the thumbnail pane, click into any placeholder, and edit properties like size, color, borders, effects and more
  • Delete Layout Elements – Select any layout box and hit delete to remove unnecessary placeholders
  • Reset Layout – Select the layout from the thumbnails, go to the Layout tab, and choose Reset to restore the default placeholders
  • Create a Custom Layout
    • Select a slide with a structure you want to reuse
    • Go to the View tab and choose Save as Layout
    • Give your layout a name and save

Saved custom layouts will appear in the layout thumbnail pane for easy access later.

Layout Design Tips

Making the most out of PowerPoint layouts involves following some fundamental slide design principles:

  • Prioritize key information – Ensure titles and headings stand out
  • Align elements – Line up objects, text, and sections
  • Use white space – Don’t overcrowd the slide; leave breathing room
  • Maintain cleanliness – Avoid clutter with unnecessary decoration
  • Be consistent – Stick to one or two fonts, limit text colors, standardize layouts

If applying your brand style guide, make sure layout elements like colors, fonts, effects, etc. align with branding rules.

Example Slide Layouts

Here are a few layout examples that demonstrate some best practices:

Title Slide Layout

![Title slide layout with large bold title at top, subtitle below, and company logo in bottom corner]

This title slide layout draws attention to the main message up front. The subtitle adds supporting details. The logo builds brand awareness.

Comparison Layout

![Comparison layout with title at top and two content columns below with callout icons]

The comparison layout allows you to show contrasting information side-by-side. Icons draw attention to key differentiators in each column.

Agenda Layout

![Agenda layout with title and timeline graphic showing schedule of events]

The agenda layout clearly conveys the sequence of events or topics that will be covered. The visual timeline sets expectations up front.


In summary, leveraging PowerPoint’s preset slide layouts can help you build professional presentations faster. Taking advantage of their visual organization and structure frees you up to focus on creating killer slides with great content.

With a library of layouts to choose from, the ability to customize, and some fundamental design principles, you can produce sleek, modern slides sure to impress your audience.