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This chapter is from the book

Using Third-Party Design Tools

There are so many resources for PowerPoint designers online and for purchase on disc that it would be impossible to list them all here. Font and design specialist Julie Terberg has a bunch of design-related resource sites linked at her site (www.terbergdesign.com).

Prepackaged templates are available all over the place, beginning at Microsoft's Assistance Center. The advantage to these is that they are true *.POT template files that when applied will overwrite your other formatting decisions as Slide Masters in the manner previously described.

Other "PowerPoint templates" are merely nice designs or images. You need to be aware that some of these just put a design into the main slide, while others are savvy enough to put it on a Background. In many cases, if such a picture is all that is supplied, there are no color-coordinated fonts or other elements included, and you will need to re-create them using the principles of the Slide Master.

Then there are companies that offer comprehensive solutions including extra clip media (video and animations) in complete design packages. These include

We'll talk a lot more about using stock photographic images in our slides to communicate ideas and make analogies in Chapter 3, "Creating Dynamic Visuals," but if you want use an image for a customized template, there are two things to keep in mind.

If you put an image on the Slide Master (where it obviously ought to be in order to serve as a background on one or more slides), it is likely to overwhelm the other content that will be added to the slides themselves.

When you insert such an image, as we'll see in the case study at the end of the chapter, you can alter its transparency and then use the Order > Send to Back command on the Drawing toolbar to ensure that the other placeholders remain on the Slide Master and can be formatted in a manner complementary to the image itself.

A good source of templates will do all of this for you. Some that you download may not, so you should be aware of the distinction, and now you have the tools to make the necessary adjustments using Slide Master view in PowerPoint before re-saving the entire package as a template.

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