It's rare I'll admit that someone can do my job without much training. But this is one of those subjects. All you need is a computer, your own two hands and some direction...and Microsoft PowerPoint of course.
If you and your agency give many presentations a year and they always look different, read on! If clients see a different presentation each time, they may think it’s a different company. Or worse, they’ll think your agency doesn’t work together, and they may receive inconsistent service. And that’s no good.
Before we begin designing a template, there are two questions you need to keep in mind.
1. How many people will use this template?
2. Are your presentations similar enough to use the same template?
I ask these questions because the more people who use a template, the stricter you need to make it. Each person has their own style and likes to add their own flair. Those well-versed in PowerPoint can use customization others aren’t aware of.
You can restrict this by making sure to account for different types of custom slides. And, you can make sure to declare defined schemes that we cover later.
In your agency’s terms, auto and home could share the same template. But property and casualty or renters may need their own. Or, if you specialize in commercial insurance, you may have one for small clients and one for big clients. When your client needs are different, it’s likely your presentation to them needs to be different.
But let's focus on creating only one for your business, for now. Before I start my whole design spiel, let's make sure your PowerPoint is set up properly. Open PowerPoint, go to the design tab click on slide size. Make sure to check Widescreen. And now we're ready to create!
There are five main factors when creating a corporate PowerPoint template.
1. Slide Master / Master Slide
I promise I'm not reversing words to confuse you. Those are two different things. The slide master is where the master slide resides.
To get to the Slide Master, you click on View then click on Slide Master.
The master slide is the first slide you'll see when you open the Slide Master. It is where you add recurring items, like a logo or slide numbers. You can also set the background for all individual slides as well as formatting. Titles in all capitals, same-sized bullet points, and line spacing are a few examples.
2. A Defined Font and Color Scheme
As with everything you put your agency name on, this too should have a defined color scheme and font.
While in the Slide Master view, colors, fonts and effects are in the top panel under the menu. Click on Colors in that panel and click on Customize Colors at the bottom.
As you see in the image below, you should have 12 colors. In my example, I'm using ITC colors, with the default text and background colors. The accent colors should come from your logo. If you have one or two colors, use websites such as color.adobe.com or coolors.co to find complementary colors.
The fonts are a little less straightforward. The fonts depend on your logo. Try to match it to what’s used in your logo, but if you can’t figure it out, match styles.
PowerPoint has lots of pairings already loaded. If none of those look like your agency's style, you can always create your own pairing. Go to the bottom of that list and click Customize Fonts.
You must ensure anyone who uses the template has the font installed on their system. If a font is not installed, PowerPoint will revert to default Microsoft fonts. Which, depending on your PowerPoint will be Calibri (sans-serif) or Cambria (serif).
If a color scheme and font have not be set in the master, anything added to the slideshow will default to Calibri and the Microsoft Office color palette.
3. Effects and Transitions
To maintain a professional presentation, a consistent look is necessary across the board. Especially when people add new visual elements to slides. You can do this through the effects panel.
The effects panel gives anything added to the presentation a certain look. Some effects add shadows, some add beveled edges to shapes, and there’s even a grunge texture. The effects panel can make added shapes look uniform.
The default is Office, which gives a bit of inner glow and a drop shadow. But there are plenty of options, some more modern than others. Play around with what fits your company’s style best and keep going.
4. Custom Slides
PowerPoint has 12 suggested slide layouts. Those don’t cover every option or idea someone could need. There's even a few sideways slides at the end are for vertical screens.
When thinking about inserting custom slides, remember the questions from earlier. How many people use this template, and will you need more than one template?
More people using a template means there will be more customization needed. Different presenters use PowerPoint differently and will need different slides from it. And the whole point of a template is a consistent brand image. Everyone adding random things will hurt those efforts.
When creating these slides, make sure to set them up to flow with the rest of the presentation. You can also type directions in text, graph, or image boxes to inform users what you intend in certain places.
After spending time on a template for your office, you need people to understand it. That's where a handbook comes in.
It can be another PowerPoint with screenshots of your template or it can be a simple Word document. The point is to help other employees use the template.
The handbook can include instructions on which order the slides must go in. Or, if you have a team slide, what order the people go in. The handbook can also explain how to add a slide that wasn't planned for.
Finally, once everything is complete, save the template file as a .potx file so everyone can use it. Once others open the .potx file, they will find the template under File > New > Template Personal. And they will have to Save As to a .ppt.
A Template for All
Now, there’s one small caveat to all this. Making a template does not guarantee that others won’t mess it up. Or that they’ll even use it. There are plenty of workarounds in PowerPoint where you wouldn’t even be able to tell they started with a template.
But in my experience, when someone takes the time to create a template for others, it tends to get used. And it will evolve as your company and needs evolve.
If you have any questions, you can always post them here and I'll get back with you. And if you need some custom slide ideas, check out this awesome gathering of cool slides.
About the AuthorMore Content by Jayci Morrison