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Mastering Slide Masters

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The entire look of your presentation is dependent on the master slides, which are part of the presentation's theme. Master slides are templates for each of the different kinds of slides in your presentation. Master slides define slide attributes such as the title and body text box layouts and default font styles; the slide background; the default bullet styles; styles for charts and tables; and the type of slide transitions.

When you create a new slide, Keynote copies one of the master slides, and the objects (text boxes, pictures, tables, or charts) from the master slide are placed on the new slide. Then all you need to do is put content into the text boxes or graphic boxes.

Most of the time you'll use master slides without modification, but Keynote allows you to customize master slides within your presentation, to account for your presentation's special needs.

In this chapter, you'll learn about the different master slide types, as well as how to apply master slides to your presentation's slides and change master slides.

Master Slide Types

Keynote themes can contain any number of master slides, but in most themes, you'll find at least 11 master slides, because that's how many master slides are included in most of the built-in Keynote themes. Themes aren't required to have 11 master slides; the lower limit is just one master slide, and I've seen themes from third-party developers that had 45 master slides from which to choose.

Most of the themes that you'll be working with will, however, contain the basic set of 11 master slides, as shown in Table 3.1. This set contains the master slides that you will use most often, so you should become familiar with them and how they are used.

Table 3.1. Master Slide Types




Title & Subtitle


Often the first slide in the presentation.

Title & Bullets


Includes two text boxes. Top text box uses large type to serve as the slide title; bottom text box uses smaller, bulleted text for body material.



Includes one text box with bulleted text for body material. Usually contains up to five levels of bulleted indentation.



Contains only the slide background. Use this for really large or complex graphics.



Alternate title slide. Includes one text box with large type, justified to the top of the slide.



Alternate title slide. Includes one text box with large type, centered on the slide.



Contains one large photo cutout, oriented horizontally, with a large text box above or below to serve as a photo title.



Contains one large photo cutout, oriented vertically, with a large text box to the right or left to serve as a photo title, and a second text box for bulleted text or other text. Good for photos that need captions.

Title, Bullets & Photo


Contains a title box at the top of the slide, a text box for bulleted text below and to the left, and a photo cutout below and to the right.

Title & Bullets—Left


Same as Title, Bullets & Photo, but without the photo cutout. You should place graphics in the blank area.

Title & Bullets—Right


Same as Title & Bullets – Left, except body text box and blank area are reversed. Place graphics in the blank area.

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