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How to Edit PowerPoint (PPT) Slide Template Layouts Quickly in 2020


PowerPoint is popular for a reason. It's easy to get started with, but there are plenty of tools to build any type of presentation. Learning more about PowerPoint leads to better presentations that you can build in less time.

PowerPoint edit template

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to edit a premium PowerPoint template. It's a great idea to take a professional PowerPoint template as a starting point and edit it for your own needs. You'll also walk through how to use Slide Master View in PowerPoint to adjust any slide's design and update many slides at the same time. 

Key Principles of Good PowerPoint Design

It's no secret that most people dislike giving presentations. The dread of public speaking consistently ranks among the greatest fears in public surveys.

Good design gets out of the way of the content you're sharing. It helps your audience focus on the content itself instead of the design.

PowerPoint slides can help you reduce the anxiety involved with giving a presentation. Well-designed slides not only build your own confidence, they make your key points clearer to the audience.

Here are three key principles to remember as you think about building your PowerPoint slide:

  1. Use starting elements. Preparing for a presentation often means that you're on a tight timeline. When that's the case, use all PowerPoint's built-in tools and features. This gives you as much time as possible to focus on content and preparation, and not the slide designs.
  2. Consistency is key. There's nothing more distracting than your logo moving around slightly as you advance slides. You'll want to ensure that key elements like logos, copyright text, and more are in the same position on every slide.
  3. Don't reinvent the wheel. Instead of recreating each slide and placing repeated elements on each slide, you can edit slide masters instead to save time.

The common theme among these principles is to find smart ways to build a presentation. Instead of rebuilding everything from scratch, we can use slide layouts to save time and ensure consistency.

Guide to Making Great Presentations (Free eBook Download)

Also, before you read on, be sure to grab our free eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It'll help you master the presentation process from: initial idea, through to writing, design, and delivering with impact. 

Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations

Now let's get into this PowerPoint slide layout template customization tutorial:

How to Use PowerPoint Layouts

A PowerPoint slide layout is a set of placeholders on a slide. Despite the simplicity, it's one of the most important tools to design presentations quickly and effectively.

One option for building a presentation is from the bottom up. You'd go to the Insert tab and draw content boxes on the slide. But this is a waste of time. PowerPoint slide layouts automate this step with pre-built sets of content placeholders. Using PowerPoint layouts also leads to more consistent slide design.

Hero v1
We'll use the Hero v1 template to completely customize your PowerPoint presentation.

To set a slide's layout, make sure that you're on the Home tab on PowerPoint's ribbon. Click on the Layout drop-down, and you'll see a variety of thumbnails for the PowerPoint layouts you can use.

PowerPoint Layouts Selection Dropdown
Go to Home > Layout to start off by selecting a PowerPoint layout for your presentation and add placeholders to your current slide.

Most PowerPoint themes include a variety of slide layouts. Having many layout options gives choices for starting points when designing your own content.

Click on one of these thumbnails to apply a PowerPoint layout to the active slide. You can then add content to each of the placeholder boxes as you build up your own presentation.

Slide with a layout added
After you choose a PowerPoint layout for the active slide, you'll see placeholder boxes added to your slide that make it easy to add content.

Understand PowerPoint's Design Layers

You might be accustomed to working in Normal View, where you can simply click and drag and drop to change a slide. But there are many ways to edit a PowerPoint slide. You can edit the slide, or the slide master that controls the design for many slides.

I like to think of PowerPoint's design tools as being in layers:

  • Slides hold content, such as text, images, charts, and more.
  • Slide layouts are pre-built arrangements of placeholders for content that you can add to slides.
  • The slide master controls design elements of the slide layout.

What if the slide layout doesn't have the elements you need? In that case, you can edit a slide layout. Let's take a look.

How to Take Control of PowerPoint Slide Master

A slide's layout is controlled by the Slide Master. Think of slide masters as the settings for a slide layout. While you add content and objects to a slide master, slides that use the master will have the same shared elements.

Many of your slides will have what I would call "repeated elements." For example, each slide might feature your company's logo in the upper right corner. It makes sense to add those elements to the Slide Master itself so that you don't have to make the change for each slide.

To edit a PowerPoint template slide layout, we need to switch to Slide Master View. Go to the View tab and click on Slide Master to switch to editing the template master.

In the screenshot below, I've placed a logo in the corner of a slide on the parent master. I simply pasted it from my clipboard and placed it in position.

Add Logo to Master
I've added a logo in the corner of the parent master. Now, the logo will appear on each slide in the presentation.

Notice in the sidebar that Slide Masters have a hierarchy to them. The white slide at the top controls each of the Slide Masters that are underneath them. Presentations can have many slide masters so that you can tweak sections of the presentation. 

Below, you can see when I switch back to Normal View that the logo is on every slide that uses the same master in the same position. When I added the logo to the parent master, each of the masters underneath it had the logo added.

Slide Sorter with Logo on Each Slide
As you can see, every slide that used the same master had the logo placed in the corner. The lone exception has its design controlled by a separate master design.

Instead of adding this logo to each slide, you can simply add it to the slide master. Each slide that uses that master will automatically update with the logo you add to the master.

Better Than Built-in PowerPoint Layouts

Even though PowerPoint presentations have built-in layouts, there's a better alternative when you want to get creative. 

PowerPoint layouts are all about ideas for how to design a slide, but they only have placeholders for content. What if you could download pre-built presentations with ideas for finished slides? Ideas for how to present content are a great shortcut.

Envato Elements homepage
Envato Elements is an all-you-can-download service with more than a million creative assets, including excellent PowerPoint presentation templates.

Envato Elements is a service that I use for every PowerPoint presentation that I develop. Elements is an all-you-can-download buffet for creatives. It includes everything you need to build a presentation, including hundreds of PowerPoint presentation themes.

Envato Elements Presentation selection
Envato Elements has hundreds of presentation themes for PowerPoint that you can use to get ideas and build your own presentation.

The great thing about Elements templates is that you can edit them to your own liking. They're simply a starting point. You can edit a theme in PowerPoint easily to include the best slide components from each one.

How to Edit PowerPoint Template Slide Layouts

Most presentations have built-in layouts, but those only contain placeholders for content. It relies on you already knowing what the right way to present content is. A premium theme is like a lookbook, built for inspiration. You start with it, then edit the PowerPoint template to your liking.

Take the slide design below, for example. This uses slide 49 from Elements' Hero Multipurpose theme. If I need to present growth statistics for my business, this slide is ready-made for that purpose.

Hero Ideas Slide Example
Slide design 49 in the Hero presentation theme has a creative design you can use for statistics and data. It's far more attractive than many built-in layouts.

Even when you're using an Elements presentation, you can still edit the slide master to add common elements like a logo or footer text.

Let's take an example of taking an Elements template and edit it for our own purposes. In the screenshot below, you can see that there's a starting logo and box at the bottom where we can put our site title. You can simply type over and replace these elements to change any of the slides that use this master.

Slide Master on Elements template
Here's what a slide master looks like in an Elements theme.

Basically, I see using Elements themes as the best of both worlds. They've got ideas for slides and starting points that give you a head start, but flexibility to edit the Master means you can customize it totally. It's easy to see how to change PPT templates with the help of slide masters.

How to Customize More PowerPoint PPT Template Slides - Fast!

Custom themes like the Hero v1 Multipurpose Presentation Template include dozens of unique layouts like the one above. They help you change PowerPoint templates using the litany of layouts.

As you've seen, this makes customization really easy. You don't need design skills or graphic design experience. All you need are great ideas for content. You can edit a PowerPoint template to fully explore your creative possibilities. To edit themes in PowerPoint quickly, use those pre-built layouts.

Let's walk through customizing three slides from Hero. I'll show you the before slide at the top of each section, then a customized version at the bottom

Slide 12: Changing Text Placeholders

Before view Slide 12

Suppose you're building a presentation to introduce products or services. You'll want to look at key points, the features that make your offering special. Instead of starting with a blank slide, try a template layout like slide 12. 

All you'll need to do here is type over the text placeholders with your own words. In moments, your message will come to life. And using pre-built slides takes the hard work out of editing PowerPoint templates.

Hero V1
Just type over the text boxes on a slide like this one to make it totally custom to your purposes.

Slide 77: Bringing Slides to Life

Adjusted charts part one

Using simple text blocks is a quick way to share content. But it really pays to bring slides to life with pictures and graphics. Using the human element is a great way to do this. When you edit a PowerPoint theme, keep audience attention in mind. Make sure you bring data to life. Slides like this one are perfect. 

The human figure adds energy to your design. Use it to visualize data by adjusting the columns in the bar chart on the projector screen. And don't forget to add your own text to customize the layout.

Adjusted chart amounts
Not only does this slide feature a text update, I've also modified the chart levels to match my idea.

Slide 98: Sharing Your Global Presence

Sharing Global Presence

Global thinkers benefit from a worldwide presence. Using pre-built map layouts as you're editing in PowerPoint helps illustrate worldwide locations. This world map is easy to change in the PowerPoint template.

Click and drag the map markers, lines, and text labels to cover any point on the map. Then be sure to add some explanatory text over on the left side. In a flash, you've built a vibrant, engaging new slide with a few change PowerPoint template actions.

Sharing Global Presence
You can see that I've changed the routes and lanes in this updated slide example by tweaking the lines to match my business case.

When You Can't Edit a PPT Slide Design

Have you ever been trying to edit a slide, but can't seem to select certain objects? No matter how much you click on the logo or object on the slide, you can't seem to select it. Here's a helpful troubleshooting step.

If you've ever run into this, it's because the object you're trying to change is on the slide master, and not the slide itself. You'll need to switch over to the slide master and change the master to remove the object.

To do that, simply jump over to View > Slide Master. Then, you can change the element that you couldn't grab from the regular slide view. Re-position, delete, or resize it just as you would a normal object on a slide.

In the example below, I've switched to the slide master to change the graphic in the corner of the slide. This element isn't editable from Normal View because it's part of the slide master itself. The only way to change it is by adjusting the slide master.

Edited slide master corner
When you can't adjust an object on your slide, switch to Slide Master to determine if you need to adjust the master.

Just remember: when you change the slide master, you might unintentionally affect other slides. Any slide that uses the same master will have its design changed as well.

5 PowerPoint Presentation Slide Design Trends for 2020

We’ve seen how to change PowerPoint template layouts and designs. But to create truly compelling slide decks, you need to embrace current trends. Read on to see the latest and greatest PPT slide design trends for 2020:

1. Minimalism Is In

Minimalism is a hot trend in PowerPoint slide design. Why? It looks great, making use of open space to highlight your content. Change a PowerPoint template to be as minimalist as possible.

Plus, it’s easier for audiences to read because it keeps slides uncluttered. As you think about how to edit a theme in PowerPoint, this design style should be at the top of your list.

Edit theme in PowerPoint
Themes like the Strike - Minimal PowerPoint Template are built with a minimalist aesthetic.

2. Images Throughout

Wondering how to change PPT template designs into something special? A quick and easy way is to add images. Audiences in 2020 expect highly visual presentations. Photos help bring ideas to life. Plus, they’re engaging and keep your audience focused.

Pre-built templates combined with PowerPoint’s editing features make adding images a breeze. It's easy to see how to change a PPT template with the help of our full tutorial:

3. Brevity Is Key

Have you ever listened to a presentation that never seems to end? Most of us have. In 2020, brevity is key as our lives grow ever busier. 

Fortunately, you can change PowerPoint template downloads to fit any time schedule. Select your favorite slides, fill in crucial details, and stay focused. Your audience will thank you!

Change PowerPoint template
Choose from over 40 custom slides in this template to build your own quick PPT slide deck.

4. Data Illustration With Infographics

PowerPoint is a great tool for explaining concepts and ideas. But words and numbers alone won’t suffice in successful 2020 presentations. Instead, you need to turn to infographics. These are powerful tools that merge information and graphics into dynamic illustrations.

Check out our PowerPoint infographic tutorial to learn how to create your own infographics:

5. Stunning Color Gradients 

Gone are the days when you could satisfy an audience with a solid color backdrop. In 2020, sleek color gradient backgrounds are in style. These lend stylish contrast to any slide. When carefully applied, they help offset text and images and call attention to key details.

How to change PPT template
The Neptune - PowerPoint Template is driven by stunning color gradients.

5 Best (On-Trend) PowerPoint Slide Design Templates for 2020

Chances are, your audience sees a lot of presentations. Your challenge is to stand out from the crowd and build an impressive slide deck every single time.

One way to do that is by choosing on-trend PPT templates in 2020. By opting for trendy layouts, you can transform PowerPoint template designs from dull to amazing. It's easy to edit themes in PowerPoint with the help of Envato Elements.

Think about the goals of your presentation. Are you trying to inform, persuade, or do both? Then head for Envato Elements, the best source for trendy premium PowerPoint templates in 2020. 

Elements item selection
Elements is a powerful resource: it offers unlimited downloads for a low monthly fee. 

The selection is unmatched, with thousands of templates. You can change PowerPoint templates as many times as you want at no extra cost. You’re sure to find a winning design to help you create a compelling presentation.

1. Trendy - PowerPoint Template

Trendy change PowerPoint template

As you think about how to edit a theme in PowerPoint, consider your needs. What types of slides do you want to work with? If you've got several ideas in mind, it’s a great idea to choose a flexible template packed full of custom options.

The aptly named Trendy - PowerPoint Template is an excellent choice. It features over 150 slides spread across five sleek color themes. Resizable graphics and image placeholders are included throughout to speed up your edits.

2. Minimal Modern PowerPoint

Minimal how to change PowerPoint template

A minimalist look helps keep your slides clear and easy to read. It’s also stylish and a top trend in PPT design in 2020. This one delivers a full set of bold slide layouts that you can adapt for any project.

Work through dozens of slides and watch your content come to life. Then share on any widescreen display to see your slides in beautiful HD resolution.

3. UCorporate Modern Business

Business edit theme in PowerPoint

Imagine how to change PPT template designs to exactly match your brand’s style. UCorporate lets you do it, creating an unforgettable trendy glimpse at your operations.

Begin by browsing the light and dark themes to find the perfect style. Then start customizing, adding in plenty of photos and supporting data visuals. All the design work is already done for you, helping you build a trendy and inspiring slide deck in no time.

4. STYLE - Multipurpose PowerPoint Template V50

Style multipurpose PowerPoint template v50

STYLE offers unmatched creative power to you. In fact, there are over four thousand slides in the pack! They’re divided into twenty color schemes, making it incredibly easy to find your favorite colors.

Animations are already built-in, a key timesaver offered by this template. All you've got to do is drag and drop to add your own content.

5. Simple Presentation

Simple edit theme in PowerPoint

Simple Presentation: the name speaks for itself. A trendy PPT like this works well for almost any topic. With over thirty animated slides, you can pick out your favorites and customize them in a flash. 

As you edit a theme in PowerPoint, speed is key. You’ll find plenty of it here. Key design features are pre-built, helping you craft compelling decks even when you’re pressed for time.

More PowerPoint Templates For Great Presentations

Now that you've learned how to edit a theme in PowerPoint, every design is a good choice for you. If you see the potential in a PPT template, simply adjust it to match your purpose.

It's easy to edit a theme in PowerPoint. Check out more articles with PowerPoint tutorials that you can use as a starting point:

Learn More About Using PowerPoint

Editing a PowerPoint layout is a great way to speed up the design process. By applying repeated elements to the slide master, you'll ensure consistency and build your presentation quickly.

If you're looking for a comprehensive rundown to learn PowerPoint, check out the Ultimate Guide to the Best PPT round-up. This selection of pieces has our favorite presentation templates, all in one central spot.

Check out any of the tutorials below to keep building your skills with Microsoft PowerPoint:

Need More Help? Grab Our Making Great Presentations eBook (Free)

We've got the perfect complement to this tutorial. You can find more information in our new eBook on making great presentations. Download this PDF eBook now for FREE with your subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter.

 Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation

Customize PowerPoint Templates Today

You've just learned how to edit a professional PowerPoint template. You've also learned how to use the slide master in PowerPoint to adjust any slide's design and update many slides at the same time. 

Discover more great PowerPoint templates on Envato Elements. Where you can unlock your potential with unlimited downloads of thousands of creative resources. Or, browse through more PPT designs available individually on GraphicRiver. 

How will these PowerPoint layout strategies save you time? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Editorial Note: This tutorial was originally published in December of 2017. It's been comprehensively revised to include new information—with special assistance from Andrew Childress.

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