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Why Resize Slide Erases All Formatting (part 2)

The previous post showed how template formatting is often stripped out of a presentation when it is resized.

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So here is my simple, non-tech description of what is happening inside PowerPoint (Note: If you really want details on templates and themes, I highly recommend Echo Swinford and Julie Terberg’s excellent book: Building PowerPoint Templates Step by Step with the Experts).

The resize “bug by design” will only happen with presentations and templates developed in PowerPoint 2013 and above.  Files created in PPT 2007 and 2010, even if edited in 2013, do not have the resize issue because those versions of PowerPoint do not have the troublemaking feature. With PowerPoint 2013, a new option for templates was added, VARIANTS. Variants will eventually be a great feature, but currently they are not really used and the “Super Theme Templates” they open the door to create are so difficult to develop, I only know a few designers in the world who really understand them and are willing to tackle them (and I am not one of them).

Variants, which you see in the Ribbon on the Design Tab, are basically template styling options.

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When resizing slides, PowerPoint needs to use a variant. If there is not a custom variant already there from a Theme, PowerPoint reapplies the Microsoft Default Theme. The default theme, called “Office Theme,” is what you get when opening a new blank presentation (boring, white, no stylized formatting).

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When the default theme, and its variants, are applied, all formatting to the master slide and layouts are replaced with this “default” setup. What this means is nicely designed slides lose their existing template styling attributes. See the previous post for a downloadable sample slide you can test and see formatting stripped.

Here are 2 ways I do a quick check to see if a provided file is going to have an issue if it needs to be resized:

1. Go to FILE > PROPERTIES > expand to see all properties > TEMPLATE

– If the TEMPLATE property is BLANK or has “OFFICE THEME,” I know it is almost 100% certain to have formatting issues if resized

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2. Or I look at the DESGIN tab >> VARIANTS section and see what variants are available (Note: If there are no variant thumbnails, that is covered in part 3, and it is okay)

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The next post, part 3, is a step-by-step solution to avoid PowerPoint adversely affecting slides when resized.

– Troy @ TLC

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