Software & Apps MS Office A Guide to Using PowerPoint Slide Layouts Choose the right format to get your message across By Wendy Russell Writer Former Lifewire writer Wendy Russell is an experienced teacher specializing in live communications, graphics design, and PowerPoint software. our editorial process Wendy Russell Updated February 12, 2020 MS Office Powerpoint Word Excel Outlook Tweet Share Email Microsoft PowerPoint can be a powerful tool for communicating certain kinds of messages, particularly in work and school settings. To make the most of it and get your message across most effectively, you can take advantage of the application's variety of slide layouts. Here we describe each layout and why you would want to use it. We also show you how to change the layout of an existing slide or choose the layout for a new one. This article applies to PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2016, PowerPoint 2013, and PowerPoint for Office 365. View Layout Options When you open a new presentation in PowerPoint, you see a single slide with the Title Slide layout. To view the other slide layouts available, on the ribbon select Home > Slides > Layout. Let's explore each of the layouts so you can choose the ones that are right for your presentation. Title Slide When you begin a new presentation in PowerPoint, the application assumes you'll start with a title. The Title Slide layout could be used to convey other information, but it's designed to be a single slide for a title and subtitle at the beginning of your presentation. Title and Content The Title and Content slide layout is the simplest aside from the Title Slide. It's designed for exactly what it says: a title and content related to that title. Note that you can insert not just text but other types of content as well: TableChartSmartArt GraphicPictureOnline PictureVideo When you begin to populate your slides, a Design Ideas panel appears on the right side of the screen. You can select any of the designs you like, or close the panel by selecting X in the upper-right corner. Section Header The Section Header layout is designed to announce the information contained in the next few slides. In our presentation example, the section header title is Acme System Modules. This title signals to the audience that the next few slides will discuss the various modules contained within the Acme System. Typically you should only use Section Headers if you have at least two sections. Two Content The Two Content slide layout gives you ample room for two types of content. Of course, you can add more than one type of content in any slide, but this format creates predefined areas for each type, making your slide look polished without you having to move content boxes around. Comparison The Comparison layout is similar to the Two Content layout. The exception is that the Comparision layout provides areas in which to place headings for each of the two sections. The idea here is that you'll be comparing two things in the main text area and naming them in those headings. Title Only The Title Only layout is exactly what it says, a slide with a placeholder for only a title, no content. You could add a new content box to place content in if you want. If not, you might want to use this type of layout when you don't yet have information about the topic in the title or when you want to fill the remaining space with an image rather than text. Blank The Blank slide layout is handy for when you want to create your own layout, especially when none of the other layouts seem appropriate for your content. Content With Caption The Content With Caption layout is designed to display a few brief bullet points with a title and caption to explain at a glance what they're about. As with all the other layout options, you can put any kind of content you want into the content boxes but this design works well for its intended purpose. Picture With Caption This layout is similar to Content With Caption, except that a picture rather than content is the primary element on the slide. The title and caption still work well for describing the primary content. If you select the picture icon, you'll only be able to select a picture already on your hard drive, not an online picture. Choose or Change Layouts If you decide one or more of your slide layouts isn't quite right for the information you want to communicate, you can easily change them. Here's how: In the left rail, select the slide you want to change. On the ribbon, select Home > Slides > Layout. Choose the layout you want and insert your content. You can also choose the layout when you're getting ready to add a new slide. Use the steps above, with these exceptions: In step #1 choose the slide after which you want the new slide to appear.In step #2 use the path Home > Slides > New Slide (down-arrow).