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How to Make Your Own Google Slides Presentation Template

This post is part of a series called How to Use Google Slides (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
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How to Use Google Slides Presentation Collaboration Tools Online
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

There's no need for all your Google Slides presentations to look different. Save time and achieve a consistent image by re-using the same Google Slides presentation template again and again.

One way to do this is to design and create your own Google Slides presentation template. In this tutorial, we examine why you might want to create a presentation template. We'll also explain what a master slide and a master layout is. Finally, we'll present a step-by-step guide that explains how to create your own Google Slides presentation template.

Why Create a Google Slides Presentation Template?

Your Google Slides template determines the impression your presentation leaves in the minds of your viewers. While many professional presentation templates are available, sometimes you need something a little more unique.

When you want to use a presentation theme that you know no one else is using, you can create your own reusable Google Slides presentation template.

Be careful, though. Any theme you create needs to be professional. The success of your presentation could depend on it. If your organization uses a design team, consult with them during your presentation template planning process.

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Now, let's take a closer look at how to create a presentation template by first creating a master slide and master layouts. By applying your masters to a sample presentation you'll create your Google Slide template.

What Is a Master Slide and What Are Master Layouts?

The first thing you need to understand when creating a presentation template is the concept of a master slide in Google Slides. Simply put, the elements that you place on the master slide appear on every slide in your presentation.

In contrast, a master layout defines the layout only for the slides it is applied to. To create a master layout, you'll use a combination of placeholders and graphic elements on each master layout. A master layout can be used for one or more slides in your presentation, or it may not be used at all.

Access the Master Slide tool by selecting Slide>Edit Master from the main Google Slides menu. The master slide and master layouts appear:

Google Slides Master Slide and Master Layouts
The Master Slide tool allows you to edit the master slide and master layouts.

A change made to the master slide appears on all the slides in the presentation, including the master layouts.

For example, I've added a vertical bar to the left of the master slide. As you can see, the bar is automatically added to all the master layouts:

Changing the Google Slides Master Slide
Changes you make to the master slide appear on all the slides in the presentation.

Pro Tip: While design elements added to the master slide appear on every slide in your presentation, you can cover a master slide element on an individual slide by drawing a shape over it in a color that matches the background of the slide.

How to Plan Your Own Google Slides Template

Before you create a Google Slides template, first plan for it. Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • What will I use this presentation template for?
  • Who'll see the presentations created with this template?
  • How can I make this template fit into my current marketing and branding?

To answer these questions, you need to consider the following:

Step 1. Keep in Mind Your Audience

This step addressed the question: "Who'll see the presentations created with this template?"

The audience of the presentation(s) you'll create makes a difference in what you put in your Google Slides template. Obviously, a presentation template used by a teacher of elementary students needs to be quite different from a presentation template used by the marketing department of a company.

Also, ask yourself whether the presentation will be given by a live presenter or accessed online through a site like SlideShare by members of the target audience. If the presentation will be accessed online, the first few slides are crucial to capturing the reader's attention. They need to be eye-catching or your presentation will be ignored.

Once you've thought about your audience, it's time to move on to planning the actual design.

Step 2. Consider Design Elements

Your Google Slides template is made of many components, including:

  • Fonts. While there are many unusual and artistic fonts available, focus on using fonts that are highly readable. If your presentation will be viewed online, choose a commonly available font. Keep in mind that if the viewer doesn't have the font you choose on their machine, a font they do have will be substituted.
  • Colors. When choosing a color scheme for your branding and for your presentation template, remember that colors may symbolize different things depending on the culture of the person who sees it. Choose colors that have positive associations for your audience. Or, work with your company brand colors.
  • Images. It's best to keep your presentation template design simple. Add images and other graphic elements to the various presentation slides. You can even use them on your master layouts. But be sparing on the master slide.

The final template planning step is to plan the design itself.

Step 3. Plan Your Template Design

In this step, you plan what types of slides you'll include in your template. The types you decide upon become the master layouts of your template.

Many professional designers create wireframes, which are basically sketches, for each type of slide they would like to include in the Google Slides template. Wireframing can be quite useful, since it provides a rough visual of what your presentation is going to look like.

If you're not comfortable creating wireframes, create a list of the slide types you wish to include in your presentation. For example:

  • Title slide
  • Intro slide (no images)
  • Text and single image slide
  • Columns slide
  • Conclusion slide

Since you'll likely use the same type of slide layout more than once in a presentation, you don't need to create a lot of master layouts. Figure out the basic layouts you need and focus on those.

For another discussion of the presentation design process (this time using Keynote), refer to:

After the planning is done, you're ready to create your Google Slides template.

How to Create Your Own Google Slides Template

Start by opening Google Drive. To open Google Slides, type https://drive.google.com in the Address field of your browser. Google Drive opens.

Step 1. Create a New Google Slides Presentation

Once Google Drive is open, create a new Google Slides presentation. Click the New button in the upper left. Click Google Slides from the drop-down menu. A blank presentation appears:

Blank Google Slides Presentation
Use a new blank presentation to create your Google Slides template.

The presentation is assigned one of the Google Slides default themes, but don't worry. We'll soon change that.

Rename your presentation by typing a new title in the upper left.

Step 2. Create a Master Slide

We've already examined the master slide tool. It's time to go back to it so we can define those elements that will appear on every slide.

1. Select Slide > Edit master from the main menu:

Google Slides Master Slide Tool with Graphic Addition
The master slides tool opens. This illustration includes the vertical bar I added earlier.

We've already defined a vertical bar for the left of the Google Slides Presentation. It's time to define the elements of the slide, starting with the font.

Change the Font

1. Choose the font for the presentation by clicking in the text placeholder on the master slide and selecting it. You'll notice the current font is defined as Arial:

Changing the Font on the Master Slide
Start your Google Slides template by defining what font your presentation will use.

Pro Tip: You'll find unique fonts and other graphic elements in Envato Elements.

2. To change the font for each text place holder, click the down arrow to the right of the font name (Arial). For this presentation, we'll use the common font, Georgia.

Changing the Master Slide Font
To change the font on the master slide, select each text placeholder and assign it a new font.

Pro Tip: You could also change the font size and other font attributes by clicking the arrow to the right of the word More next to the font name.

3. Continue selecting the text in each placeholder on the master slide to change the font at each level.

When you're done, the font Georgia will be used throughout the entire presentation unless you manually change the font for an individual slide.

Add a Graphic

You can also add a graphic element to your Google Slide template. This element appears on every slide, so it's best to be subtle. In this case, I'll add a logo. Here's how to do it:

1. Select the master slide:

Master Slide with Insert Image Icon
Click the Insert Image icon to access the Insert Image dialog box.

2. Click the Insert Image icon from the tool bar beneath the main menu. The Insert Image dialog box appears:

Google Slides Insert image screen
Use this screen to add an image or photo to the master slide.

3. Drag an image from your desktop onto the dialog box or click the Choose an image to upload button to download an image from your computer. In this case, I download a logo for my company:

Adding a Logo to a Google Slides Master Slide
The downloaded image appears on the master slide.

4. Drag the image where you want it to appear on your slides. In this case, I want the image to appear in the lower right corner:

Oosition the Image on the Master Slide
Select and drag the logo to where you want it to be in your Google Slides template.

We've just added a vertical blue bar, changed the font, and added a logo to the master slide. These changes will be reflected on all the slides in the presentation.

Note: There is a page number beneath the logo on the master slide. We want this to appear on all the slides in the presentation except the title slide, so it's important to leave it here.

Step 3. Add Master Layouts

You're now ready to start adding your own master layouts from within the master slide tool (Slide > Edit Master).

Remove Extra Layouts

To start, delete any current master layouts (left over from the default template) that you don't need.

1. To delete a master layout click on it to select it and right-click.

2. Choose the Delete option from the popup menu:

Delete Google Slides Master Layout
Remove any master layouts you don't want in your Google Slide template.

Note: You must leave at least one master layout in your template.

Modify a Master Layout

After you remove unwanted master layouts, you're ready to change any layouts you left in the template to match your own layout design. In this example, I'm going to change the master layout for the title slide to make the text left-aligned. Let's get started

1. Click on the title slide master layout to select it:

Title Slide of Google Slides master layouts
Select the text you want to change on your master layout.

2. To change the text alignment, select the text to be changed.

3. Click the down arrow next to the More button in the Tools menu. Then, click the Left Alignment button. Here's what the title master layout slide looks like with the text left aligned:

Master Layout for Title Slide with Text Left-aligned
This is the title master slide with the text left-aligned.

Each time you apply the title slide layout to a slide in your Google Slides presentation, it'll look like your master layout.

Modify Another Master Layout

I've modified one more master layout as an example. Here's what I did:

1. To modify another master layout slide, select the slide you want to change. 

2. Use the editing tools to delete any elements you don't want to keep. (Remember, you won't be able to delete elements from the master slide.) After removing the existing elements, you'll see a blank master layout that looks something like this:

Blank Master Layout
Modifying a blank master layout in Google Slides.

For the master layout I'm creating, I want to leave room for an image on the left and insert a text placeholder on the right.

Note: There's currently no way to insert an image placeholder in a master layout.

3. Leave space on the left of the slide for the image. When we go back to the slide authoring mode, we'll draw a placeholder there that can easily be removed so that the user of the template knows what to do.

4. To draw the placeholder, click the arrow to the right of the Text Tool from the Tools menu. Select the Body text placeholder option from the drop-down menu. Now the master layout looks like this:

Adding a Text Placeholder to a Master Layout in Google Slides
Add a text placeholder to the right of your master layout. The space on the left is for an image.

Caution: If you use the Text Tool without choosing the placeholder option, the text becomes an unchangeable part of the slide layout.

5. Use your cursor to draw the text box placeholder on the master layout.

6. To add a subtitle placeholder, use the Subtitle placeholder option from the drop-down menu:

Master Layout with Text Placeholder and Subtitle Placeholder
There are also text placeholders for titles and subtitles.

Continue modifying existing layouts, or you can add a new master layout slide through the Master Slide tool.

Add a New Master Layout

Here's how to add a new master layout to your Google Slides template:

1. Click on any master layout to select it.

2. Right-click to bring up the drop-down menu:

Adding a New Master Layout
You can add master layouts to your template.

3. Select the New Layout option from the drop-down menu. A new master layout slide appears below the current master layout slide.

4. Modify the new master layout as needed using the previous steps.

Apply the Masters to Your Google Slides Template

Once you've created all the master layouts you need, return to the slide authoring view. Your template will be a sample presentation you build using the master slide and master layouts you just created. It can be modified when you need it.

To start, all I've got in my Google Slides template is the title slide:

Google Slides Template with One Slide
You'll build your Google Slides template using the master layouts you created earlier.

1. To add another slide to your template, click the down arrow next to the New slide button in the upper left (it looks like a + symbol). A pop-up appears showing the available master layouts:

Available Master Layouts
Select one of the available master slide layouts for your Google Slide template.
2. Click on a slide layout to apply it to the presentation template sample slide you are adding. In this example, I selected the Image with Text master layout.

3. Since you can't insert an image placeholder in a Google Slides master layout, insert a text box in your template with instructions on how the space is to be used:

Creating a Template Slide for an Image with Text
Use the master layout to create a template slide for an image with text.

For step-by-step instructions on how to add an image to a Google Slides presentation, study:

4. Continue adding slides and applying master layouts and sample text to template slides until your Google Slides template is done.

Step 4. Use the New Google Slides Template

Once you've completed your template, you're ready to use it. You can do this by modifying the template example to create an actual presentation.

1. Make a copy of the template using the File > Make a copy option on the main menu.

Rename Google Slide Template
Copy and rename your Google Slide template to make an actual presentation.

2. Rename the copy so you don't overwrite over your template.

3. Right-click on any sample slides you intend to use more than one and use the Copy command from the pop-up menu to make a duplicate of it. Delete any template slides you don't need to use.

Copy and Delete Slide Commands
You can use a template slide more than once by copying it.

4. Move the slides into the order you want them to be in your presentation by clicking on each slide and dragging it into position.

5. Type your information into the presentation. Add any images that you need for the presentation.

For more information on how to create a Google Slides presentation, review these tutorials:

Templates for Google Slides

While we've just shown you how to create your own Google Slides template, you'll save a lot of time by using a professionally designed presentation template.

You can find professional presentation templates at EnvatoGraphicRiver and Envato Elements. Here's an article that gives you a peek at some of the professional templates and themes you'll find:

After you've chosen a Google Slides template, learn how to download a professionally designed theme and use it in this tutorial:

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You've just learned how to create a Google Slides template using master slides and master layouts. By using a template, you can make sure that all the presentations your organization creates adhere to branding standards and look consistent.

For even more information on how use Google Slides, review our Google Slides learning guide How to Use Google Slides (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).

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