ARTICULATE STORYLINE: Master Slides vs Layouts: What's the Difference?
When it comes to working efficiently in Articulate Storyline, few things top the proper use of Slide Masters. When I teach my beginner Storyline class, students are always surprised to learn that Storyline supports masters and, even better, that master slides are so easy to use.
One of the more common misunderstandings when it comes to slide masters is the difference between a slide master and layout slides.
Consider the relationship between a parent and child. The parent might have one child or several. And while a child might look and behave very differently from the parent and his or her siblings, each child inherits all sorts of attributes from their parent. None of a child's attributes are passed on to the siblings, nor are any of a child's attributes passed up to the parent.
Think of a slide master as a single parent. The layouts are the children.
In the image below, I've created a new Storyline project and accessed Master View by choosing View > Slide Master. By default, there is one Slide Master (parent) in every new project and five Layouts (children).
The easiest and most visual way to show the relationship between a Slide Master and its layouts is by adding a shape to the Slide Master. In the image below, I've drawn a simple star on the Slide Master by choosing Insert > Shape.
Notice how the star automatically appears on the Slide Master and all of the child-layouts.
Next, I drew a circle on the first layout slide in the list (its default name is Title and Content).
Notice that the circle does not appear on any of the other layouts or the Slide Master.
Back in Story View, notice that my lone slide already has the star because, by default, all slides use the contents found on the Slide Master.
If I want to apply one of the master layouts to this slide, it's as simple as right-clicking and choosing Apply Layout.
Notice that slide instantly gets all of the objects added to the layout master.
You'll find all kinds of reasons to format and use both Slide Masters and layout masters. For instance, if you need an image or background color across all slides, change the appearance of the Slide Master. If you want some slides in certain scenes to have alternate colors or background images, use layout masters.
As you get more comfortable with masters, try right-clicking the Slide Master. Notice that you can insert new Slide Masters or layouts (as shown in the image at the right). Each time you create a new Slide Master you get a new family of slides (one parent and some children) giving you unlimited design/layout options you can leverage from slide to slide and throughout your scenes.