That upper area of the Slide Design task pane becomes even more useful when you have several versions of one design template that are only slightly different from each other.
How's that, again?
Say that, among the slides that use the Botany design template, you have several that you want to put a certain graphic on. If the show is about plants, maybe this group of slides is only about rare botanicals, and your graphic will call that out.
Instead of adding the graphic to each slide, one by one, you could work in master view and copy the masters for the Botany design template (see the example in Figure 1). On the copied set of masters, you'd add the "rare botanicals" graphic. PowerPoint adds a number to the name of each new master, such as 1_Botany Slide Master (but you have the option of renaming any masters).
Figure 2 shows that back in normal view, in the Slide Design task pane, you'd see a design template representing each set of masters.
Then, you would apply the specific design template — via the Slide Design task pane — to the designated sets of slides.
Important When you start working with several sets of masters, it's wise to preserve each set. You do this in master view, and you'll see how in the practice session.