"Layout" refers to the way things are arranged on a slide. A layout contains placeholders (placeholders: Boxes with dotted or hatch-marked borders that are part of most slide layouts. These boxes hold title and body text or objects such as charts, tables, and pictures.), which in turn hold text such as titles and bulleted lists and slide content such as tables, charts, pictures, shapes, and clip art (clip art: A single piece of ready-made art, often appearing as a bitmap or a combination of drawn shapes.).
A basic layout with placeholders for a title and a bulleted list
A layout with three placeholders: for a title, a bulleted list, and content such as a table, diagram, chart, or clip art
Each time you add a new slide, you can choose a layout for it in the Slide Layout task pane (task pane: A window within an Office program that provides commonly used commands. Its location and small size allow you to use these commands while still working on your files.). Layouts come in a whole range of configurations; you can also choose a blank layout.
If you cannot find a layout in the Slide Layout task pane that suits your needs, you can rearrange your current layout or create a new design template. To rearrange a layout, see Rearranging the layout. To create a new design template, click a link in the See Also section, which is visible when you are connected to the Internet.
If you insert items that do not fit the current layout, Microsoft PowerPoint may automatically adjust the layout. For example, if you paste a picture, table, or text into a slide, and the object does not fit well into the current layout, another layout is suggested. If you do not like the suggested layout, on the Edit menu, click Undo Slide Layout. To turn off the Automatic Layout feature, on the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect Options and then, on the AutoFormat As You Type tab, clear the Automatic layout for inserted objects check box.
Rearranging the layout
If you are working in normal view, you can move the placeholders in a layout to different positions, change their size, and format them with fill colors and borders. When viewing handouts (handout: A printed version of a presentation that can include multiple slides per page and space for audience notes.), you can change only the header and footer placeholders. You can also make these changes to individual slides or notes pages, or to the slide master (slide master: The main slide that stores information about the theme and layouts of a presentation, including the background, color, fonts, effects, placeholder sizes, and positions.), notes master (master: A slide view or page on which you define formatting for all slides or pages in your presentation. Each presentation has a master for each key component: slides, title slides, speaker's notes, and audience handouts.), or handout master. For consistency throughout a presentation, it is best to make changes to the master.
If you adjust the placeholders on a notes page or slide and then decide that you want the original layout back, you can reapply the original layout by clicking on the layout template. If you delete a placeholder from a master, you can restore the original placeholder to the master by using the Master Layout command on the Format menu.