PowerPoint: Show Your Progress With Slide Master

Insert Slide MasterHave you ever wondered how long a presentation will take? Have you ever wondered what the progress is of the presentation? Well I have! Too many presentations last forever almost putting you to sleep if you don’t start using Whats App between slides. Why not show your audience the progress of your presentation? In this post I will show you a tip how to implement a kind of progress so your audience knows where you are during your presentation. Simply divide it into sections using the various titles slides. A big advantage will be that you have the structure you are looking for while setting up the presentation.

A blank canvas
TitleSlide_ISo we start of with a blank canvas and move on from there. Start PowerPoint and choose blank presentation. Now on the Home tab in the Slides group have a look at the layout menu. It will show you the default setting for this presentation. This is where we are going to make the changes. We would like to have three Layouts we can choose from. Because we haven’t made any changes yet there is only one set of layout available. Click on the image to enlarge…

The progress bar idea
For this presentation I will use three images to show the progress of my presentation. I will put the images at the bottom of my slides. The idea is that the presentation will be divided into three sections. So when I am presenting and talking about the first section it will show an active first image with the second and third images being a kind of grayed out. So let’s start looking for some appropriate images. I think the images below will serve the right purpose!


Change the master slide layout
While I am at it I would like to structure my way of setting up this presentation. So I decide to create three types of Master slides which I can use while creating my presentation. The first section will be about “Medical IT”. The second section will be about “Insights” and the final section will be about “Analysis”. Change the work environment by setting it to “Slide Master” setting. Easiest way I have been using many years is by clicking the “Normal” view button in the status bar. If you click this button while holding the Shift button it will bring you straight into the Slide Master view.


Add the second section by adding a New Slide Master
Because we would like to add three sections I decided to add a new Slide Master. So in Slide Master view click the button on the ribbon that states “Insert Slide Master”. You will get a new Slide master underneath the existing one. While you are at it add a third Slide Master. So in total you will have three Master Slides available.

Adding images to the various Slide Masters
Click on the first Master slide of your collection. Add the images to your slide here. Remember we want to show progress. To create the illusion of progress I grayed out the second and the third images. Add the images also to the second and third master slides you have created. Don’t forget to grey out the appropriate images in the appropriate sections. The image below shows the images I have placed on the second section. This means that I have grayed out the first and third image in this section.


Even more structure
I you take a peek in “Normal View” from time to time you will see that PowerPoint has chosen some default names for you slide layouts. Let’s make this more structured and fitted to our needs. Right click every single Master slide we have created (three in our case). From the appearing menu choose “Rename Master”.



As you might have seen I have chosen the “Medical IT”, “Insights” and “Analysis” titles for my master slides. So change them accordingly to your preference and have a look in the slide layout menu in “Normal View”.


Divide the presentation into sections
We now have three kinds of layout to choose from. But if you look closely you will see that you have a lot of slides to choose from. How many of those types of layout do your really use during the presentation? Exactly my point! Why not remove those we will not use? Again it is into the slide master view. Right click the layout slides you don’t like or you will not be likely to use. From the menu choose “Delete Layout”. You will get a lot cleaner overview of slides you will want to use when creating your presentation. My favorite layout? Blank! Have a look at the image and ask yourself…. how many times did I use this slide layout in my last presentations?


Create sections in the Slide Sorter
Final step is to create specific section names for each slide master and you are good to go. I like to do this in the Slide Sorter view (status bar second icon), but you can also do this in Normal View. Right click in front of the slide where you want the next section to start and click “Add Section”. Rename your section to in this case the same name as the slide masters and you will have one perfect setup for your presentation!


Now show the progress
TitleSlide_XIWith that all taken care of it’s up to you to show the progress of your presentation. Add slides as needed and choose the correct layout slide. Adding slides to the first section? Choose the first layout from the layout menu. Adding slide to the second section of your presentation? Add slides from the second layout from the menu. When you are presenting the audience can actually see which section is being covered by the active images on the bottom of your presentation. If you have reached the third section of your presentation your audience will know that you are in the final stages of your presentation. The only thing they will post in Whats App now is that the presentation is in it final stage!






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