Google Slides – Master slides and themes

The built-in themes provide a great springboard to make professional looking slides but what happens if you want them to look different? Or what happens if you want to make your own style of slides and you only want to set it all up once?

Well, with editing the Master you can create your own set of slides, which via layouts and themes, you can easily create a presentation with a personalised look or can adapt an existing one very quickly.


Accessing the master editing screen

Here I’ve started off with a blank presentation, which by default uses the Simple Light theme.

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Go to the “Slides” menu and click on “Edit master”.

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This opens the master editing screen. On the left are the different layouts currently available, e.g. title slides, section slides, etc. The one at the top is the Master slide, which allows you to edit the Title, bullet points, etc, which importantly, also affect the other layout slides. In other words, if you change something on the Master slide, it affects some of the layout slides.

The main part is the current layout selected, showing you how the text would look and the positioning of the text boxes, objects, etc.

Finally, at the top it gives you the name of the theme and you have the chance to rename both the theme and sub titles.

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Editing a current theme

Let’s start by editing one of the built-in themes. Right-click on the main part of the screen, and select “Change theme…”.

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The themes sidebar will appear. Select the theme you want to edit. Here I’m going to choose the “Coral” theme.

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As you can see this has completely changed the way the master looks.

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Let’s change some of the slides to what we want. Here I’m going to start with the Master slide at the top. Let’s change the colour salmon to let’s say green. Click on the text box.

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From the toolbar, click on the text colour icon.

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You can change it to whatever colour you like, but I particularly like the “Theme” colours which match the current selection of colours really well. Using different colours in some kind of presentation is an acquired skill but this helps you easily mix the colours creating a professional look to your slides. Here I’m going to use the green for the text and some of the shapes.

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Moving down to the next slide, which is the first layout slide (a title slide in this case). Let’s change the colour of the square.

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This time as it’s a shape, click on the fill colour icon on the toolbar and change it to the colour you want.

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Now it’s green.

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Next one down, is a section header. This time let’s change the background to yellow. As the salmon colour isn’t a shape, but is a background, right-click on the background.

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Then select “Change background…”.

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This time I’m going to select yellow from the themed colours.

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The colour changes to yellow, then click “Done”.

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Here we have a nice mustard yellow section header.

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Next one down is a ‘title and body’ slide. As you can see, the text at the top is already green. This is because we changed the Master earlier at the top and we changed the text on that to green, so it changed this slide automatically.

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At the bottom is a salmon bar, let’s change that to green. Click on the shape and then change the fill colour.

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We could continue editing all the slides layouts. We could of course change other things like the font, the positioning of the shapes and text boxes. Basically anything we like.


Renaming a master

At the top of the master screen, you’ll see a “Rename” button. Click that to open the “Rename master” dialogue box.

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Type in the name you want for your master and press “OK”.

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As you can see at the top of the master screen, the master name is now “Coral Green”.

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Also notice that this name is used as the start of all the layout slides, e.g. “Coral Green – Title slide”.

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To close the master editing screen, click the cross on the right-hand corner.

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Accessing your master

Here’s the original slide:

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And here’s the new look:

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More importantly, if you now open the layout menu, by clicking on the arrow next to the plus button on the left of the toolbar, you will see all the layouts we just created ready to be added to your presentation, without having to create them, duplicate them, etc.

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Importing a master theme

Here I’ve created a simple title slide using the default ‘Simple Light’ theme.

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I want to use the Coral Green theme I created earlier, so that it automatically converts this title slide to the new theme.

Click on “Theme” on the toolbar.

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This opens the themes sidebar. At the bottom, click on “Import theme”.

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This opens the “Import theme” dialogue box, which will show you possible presentations you can use. Here I want to use the “Master” theme I created earlier. I click on that and press “Select”.

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This then opens the theme in that presentation. Click on it and press “Import theme”.

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This changes the title slide to the imported theme.

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You can change the look a complete set of slides just by importing a new theme, which you created previously in the master edit.

Finally, you can of course create a master set of slides completely from scratch, then via the importing theme you can make that available on whatever set of slides, you’re working on.


eBooks now available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, and Slides:

Baz Roberts (Flipboard / Twitter / Google+)


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