A technical post about PowerPoint templates today.

When you copy the slides of one PowerPoint presentation into another one, the copied slides get formatted according to the template of the presentation your are copying in. Colours and fonts get adjusted. But the most surprising things happen with text placeholders.

The template I typically use is pretty simple: a blank page with text placeholders for the slide title and footnote to make sure they are anchored in a consistent place across slides. Now the strange thing happens. Because the footnote is the only text placeholder available, PowerPoint starts copying text into the footnote.

To accommodate clients who want to use my template after the presentation design project is over, I now add a plain text box to my template slides. Here is the key thing, make sure that plain text box is the first text place holder you create, that's where copied text will go. (In other words, remove the footnote, put the text box in, recreate the footnote place holder after that).


If you often experience problems with inconsistent formatting of presentations and the issues with copying slides across you will appreciate the way I designed my presentation app SlideMagic (sign up for the beta here).

  • One slide layout grid for all presentations, everything lines up perfectly, always
  • No need for template programming
  • It is not possible to corrupt a template and having it slowly propagate throughout your company
  • Changing the look & feel of a presentation is easy: change your logo and accent colour and you are done (including bar and column charts, try that in PowerPoint)

Art: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633. The painting is still missing after the robbery from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.