Slide Layouts in PowerPoint

Tips for setting up Slide Layouts

PowerPoint's built-in slide layouts give you the versatility and creativity you need to create slideshows that communicate your message clearly and effectively. Here are a few tips to help you use slide layouts in your workflow and structure information that reaches your audience.

These instructions apply to PowerPoint 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; PowerPoint for Office 365, PowerPoint Online, PowerPoint for Mac, PowerPoint for iPhone, and PowerPoint for Android.

Understand the Opening PowerPoint Slide

Screenshot of PowerPoint showing the blank presentation template with the default Title slide

When you first open PowerPoint, your screen resembles the image above and includes these areas:

  • Slide Pane: Each page of a presentation is called a​ slide. New presentations open with a Title slide in Normal view. The Slide Pane is where you'll add the text, images, and other screen-show elements that are a part of your presentation.
  • Slides Tab: This area toggles between Slides view and Outline view. Slides view shows a tiny picture of all the slides in your presentation. Outline view shows the hierarchy of the text in your slides.
  • Menus: This part of the user interface (UI) is known as the Ribbon. The Ribbon gives you access to all of PowerPoint's features and commands.

When you open a new presentation in PowerPoint, the first slide is the Title slide and contains text placeholders. To customize this slide layout, select the placeholder text and enter a new title and subtitle.

Add a New PowerPoint Slide

A screenshot showing how to add a new slide in PowerPoint

To add a new slide to your presentation, select Home > New Slide. This adds the Title and Content slide layout. This is the default slide layout and it contains placeholders for a title, bullet text, images, and illustrations.

If you need a different type of slide, select the New Slide down arrow. This opens a menu that contains nine different slide layouts. Choose one of these slide layouts to add it to your presentation.

When you select Home > New Slide, a new slide is added using the current slide layout. For example, if the current slide on the screen uses the Picture With Caption slide layout, the new slide will also be of that type.

Work With the Title and Content Slide

Screenshot showing the Title and Content slide layout in PowerPoint

The Title and Content slide layout contains placeholders for a title, a bullet list, images, and illustrations.

To add bullet text to this slide, select the bullet placeholder and enter your new text. Each time you press Enter, a new bullet appears for the next line of text.

To add content other than text to the Title and Content slide layout, select an icon from the set of six content types. The different types of content that can be inserted in this slide layout include a table, chart, SmartArt graphic, pictures, online pictures, and video.

Change PowerPoint Slide Layouts

Screenshot showing how to change the layout for a slide in PowerPoint

If you've created a slide and you don't like the layout, change it to one of the nine different slide layout choices in PowerPoint. Display the slide you want to change in the Slide Pane and select Home > Layout (in PowerPoint 2019, select Slide Layout) to see the list of available slide layouts. The current slide layout is highlighted. Select a different slide layout and the current slide takes on this new slide layout.

Here's a description of each of the built-in slide layouts:

  • Title Slide: Use a title slide at the beginning of your presentation to introduce your topic.
  • Title and Content: The default slide layout and the most commonly used slide layout.
  • Section Header: Separates different sections of the same presentation.
  • Two Content: Use this slide layout to show two columns of text and graphic content.
  • Comparison: Similar to the Two Content slide layout, but this slide type also includes a heading text box over each type of content. Use this type of slide layout to compare two types of the same content type (for example, two different charts).
  • Title Only: Use this slide layout if you want to place only a title on the page, rather than a title and subtitle. The area below the title is blank so that other content (such as clip art, WordArt, pictures, or charts) can be added as needed.
  • Blank: A blank slide layout is often used when a picture or other graphic object needs no further information.
  • Content With Caption: Contains two columns for text and content. The left column contains placeholders for text. The right column contains placeholders for images and illustrations.
  • Picture With Caption: This slide layout is similar to the Content With Caption slide layout. The left side contains a placeholder for text and the right side contains a placeholder for a picture that is stored on your computer or cloud account.

Work With the PowerPoint Slides Tab

Screenshot showing how to change to Outline View in PowerPoint

The Slides Tab is located on the left side of the PowerPoint screen. The default setting is Normal and shows thumbnail views of the slides in your presentation. If you'd rather see an outline of your presentation, select View > Outline View.

Each time you add a new slide, a miniature version of that slide appears in the Slides Tab on the left side of the screen. Select a thumbnail to place that slide in the Slides Pane for editing.

Customize a PowerPoint Slide

You're not limited to the layout of a slide as it first appears in PowerPoint. You may add, move, and remove text boxes and other objects at any time on any slide.

If no slide layout suits your specific needs, insert a Blank slide and add text boxes or other objects to fit the information you want to convey.