Here’s is a dilema I’ve heard about so many times from corporate clients who churn out a multitude of PowerPoints on all types of internal presentations and topics. They invest time and money on a nicely designed template, but when they try to convert all the older presentations into the new template, it doesn’t work so well. That’s the hard reality. Templates work great going forward, but not backward. This is because not all templates are created equal. In other words, your old presentations might have a master with three photos and a text box centered underneath. If the new one doesn’t have that exact same layout in its master, PowerPoint doesn’t know what to do with the old information, so it gets deformatted and looks bad!
Here’s another nightmare: when you have lots of people creating presentations inhouse, they may decide to add extra “elements” that are not part of the template structure, such as an additional text box or picture off to the side. When that old stuff is brought into the new template, once again, PowerPoint doesn’t know what to do with it, so things get messed up.
So working with a beautiful, newly designed template is a great way to begin a presentation, but if you want to retrofit an old presentation to the new format, you cannot expect the template to make all reformatting problem free. It will take someone with a trained eye to go in, slide by slide, and tweak all the problem areas or any place they notice inconsistencies. The best way to do it is to go to the “layout” tab, choose the desired layout, and click on “reset layout to default settings”. If that doesn’t correct the problem, you may need to manually cut and paste the new information in to the new layout. As inconvenient as that may seem, using a master template saves time and is still the best thing around, especially when you have a presentation that’s 40 or 50 slides long.