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Saving Your Design Templates

The only thing left to do is to save our new design as a new template.

If we were doing a major project, we might very well save subtly (or perhaps even dramatically) different versions of this color-coordinated template for each of the template types for our corporation—one set for corporate messages, another for special events, one for in-house training, and so on.

If you were creating this template for a corporate client, you might want to save all of these template files in a special folder, which you would deliver upon completion.

But if you are using these templates internally or for yourself, there are some important things to consider.

First of all, template files are not ordinary PowerPoint files. When we save the Design Template file, we need to click Save As and then change the Save as Type setting from an ordinary *.PPT PowerPoint file to a *.POT template file, as shown in Figure 2-16.

Figure 2-16

Figure 2-16 Saving a Design Template file involves changing the Save as Type setting in the Save As dialog box and noting the destination folder.

Now, when you do this, by default, you will notice that the destination folder changes to your Templates folder.

For most users, simply adding it to the default Templates folder is enough. But because your templates will become quite valuable if you design them for specific uses or take this much time and trouble to fine-tune them, you will want to know where they're located so that you can protect them and back them up.

If you were to search for the file design.pot, you would find it in a specific Templates folder under your User Name in Windows XP, as shown in Figure 2-17.

Figure 2-17

Figure 2-17 Saving a Design Template by default puts it into the Microsoft Templates folder under your User Name.

In my case, this is the folder name: C:\Documents and Settings\ Professor\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates, where Professor is my User Name. Your location would be based on your User Name.

Then, to locate a specifically named template for reuse, you would think that in a new presentation it would automatically appear in your Recently Used panel in Slide Designs.

It doesn't.

You need to click the Browse button at the bottom of the Slide Design Task Pane and locate the newly saved folder by name, as shown in Figure 2-18.

Figure 2-18

Figure 2-18 The newly saved template won't necessarily appear in the Slide Design Task Pane right away. You can click Browse to locate it by its name, preview it, and apply it to a new presentation.

So at this point, we have created a single multi-slide template with a nice clean design that we can reuse or apply at any time to any number of new presentations.

You may or may not want to go to these lengths to fine-tune the Color Schemes of your design templates—you may be happy creating one or more clean templates that you can save in your own Templates folder, back up, and then reuse for the different kinds of presentations you need to create.

You can never go wrong with a clean white background design, and it won't distract from your message.

Design guru Nancy Duarte steers her clients away from anything with lots of red—saying that the audience usually can't handle much of that without getting edgy.

Rick Altman, who runs the PowerPoint LIVE conference and has written extensively on slide design and other PowerPoint-related topics, calls "black the chicken soup of PowerPoint backgrounds," claiming that a template with a black background and contrasting (white or light yellow) text colors is acceptable in a multitude of settings and applications.

Of course, printing a set of slides with black backgrounds in a small business setting can break the bank in laser toner. That's why we will cover design for printing Handouts later in this chapter.

But for now, we're at a point where we can create and apply a template and understand the advantage of designing our own clean look over using the products included with PowerPoint.

If you are creating templates for others, particularly if you are creating a series of them for various types of presentations, you might find it helpful to organize your main Templates folder into subfolders. Obviously, you can do this by right-clicking the main folder and creating a newly named subfolder, just as we created a Desktop project folder in the previous chapter.

Because templates are valuable properties, I strongly suggest saving them to multiple locations and backing them up religiously. If you really think they're valuable, and some definitely are, you can also assign a password to open the templates and another to modify them by using the Tools > Options > Security setting in the file, just as you would a normal *.PPT file.

Think back to Chapter 1 where we showed you the AutoContent Wizard; remember that there is another type of template—for content.

Just as the example we've been building in this chapter has multiple slides, you can save a multi-slide template file not only to reuse the concepts and language (as the AutoContent Wizard "Presentation Templates" do) but also to maintain palettes of your best diagrams, charts, and even linked videos in a set of template files. That's something to think about as we get into more sophisticated creation of visual elements.

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