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Configuration

Presentation Templates

Overview

Presentation Automation

Macabacus for PowerPoint includes several powerful tools that automate and simplify the process of creating professional, high quality presentations that conform to your organization's design standard or branding guidelines. Use this "presentation automation" functionality to dynamically synchronize agendas (e.g., tables of contents) with sections in a presentation, mark multiple slides at once with a customizable stamp (e.g., "CONFIDENTIAL"), create new presentations pre-populated with slides you know you will need, and more. These tools are discussed in detail elsewhere in this documentation.

Macabacus-Enabled Templates

At the center of Macabacus' presentation automation functionality is your presentation template—a standard .potx file—specially configured to work with these tools. Macabacus installs with a sample template used to demonstrate the functionality of these presentation automation tools and proper configuration of a Macabacus-enabled template. The sample template is good a starting point if you are building a presentation template from scratch. If you already have a presentation template that you want to use with Macabacus, you must enable it to work with Macabacus' presentation automation tools using the instructions below, or we can perform this customization for you for an additional fee.

Working with templates

Creating and modifying presentation templates requires proficiency working in Slide Master view. Accordingly, our larger customers tend to assign responsibility for presentation templates to their presentation technologies, training, or IT professionals.

Using Multiple Templates

You probably will not require more than a single presentation template, but Macabacus can work with as many as you like. For example, larger organizations might require a different template for each business unit. Or, you might need one template designed for print and another designed for screen. If you have multiple templates, you must instruct Macabacus which one to use by setting it as the "active" template.

Template Features

Special Layouts

A Macabacus-enabled presentation template is comprised of up to eight "special" layouts that work with certain presentation automation tools, and a handful of traditional "content" layouts—by default, any layout not explicitly designated as special. Content layouts suggest general layout possibilities for slides that communicate the key messages of a presentation, while special layouts are used to create purpose-built, generally static, structural slides that are the focus of presentation automation.

Title Page The title page layout is intended to be used for the first slide in a presentation, or the second slide when a front cover slide is present.
Agenda The agenda layout is used for your table of contents slide, and for flysheets that divides sections in a presentation depending on your Macabacus settings. The agenda is populated with section names in your presentation.
Section Divider The section divider layout, rather than the agenda layout, can be used for flysheets, depending on your Macabacus settings. If you are using the agenda layout for flysheets, only the bullet numbering convention found on this layout is used by Macabacus.
Legal Notices Some organizations include a slide with legal notices and disclaimers in each presentation produced. The text on these slides is not editable by end users when the template is properly configured using the Template Wizard.
Contact Information Some organizations include a slide with contact information, such as addresses, phone numbers, and office locations, in each presentation they produce. The text on slides using this layout is not editable by end users when the template is properly configured using the Template Wizard.
Intentionally
Blank Page
This layout supports duplex (double-sided) printing and typically includes text like "This page intentionally left blank." Inserting these blank slides before flysheets ensures that flysheets are always printed on the front of pages.
Front Cover This layout is intended to be used for the first slide in a presentation, immediately preceding the title page. Covers are used primarily for aesthetic purposes, although a front cover may also be used to conceal confidential information on the title page.
Back Cover This layout is intended to be used for the last slide in a presentation, and is primarily used for aesthetic purposes.

MasterShapes

MasterShapes are defined on your Macabacus-enabled template's slide master and used to implement other presentation automation functionality (e.g., slide stamps). See this section of the documentation for more on MasterShapes.

Styles

Styles are defined on your Macabacus-enabled template's slide master. See this section of the documentation for more on styles.

Configure Your Template

1. Getting Started

If you are creating a presentation template from scratch, consider using the sample template that installs with Macabacus as your starting point and make formatting and layout adjustments as required. If you are configuring an existing template to work with Macabacus, spend a little time understanding how the sample template works in order to learn what layouts and shapes should be included in your template. Ensure that your template is complete, including all desired layouts, formatting, etc., before configuring it for Macabacus to minimize the chance that subsequent changes to your template "break" the configuration. Your completed template should include a handful of content layouts and some "special" layouts that serve specific purposes, such as a title page, flysheet, etc.

The following are general recommendations for creating PowerPoint templates, and are neither specific to nor required by Macabacus:

  • Keep dynamic content out of your template layouts because, in theory, you should not have to modify your template once configured unless you undertake a corporate rebranding or need to update legal notices, for example. Dynamic content should instead appear on slides based on these layouts. Use Macabacus libraries for managing dynamic content, not templates.
  • Include one "title-only" layout that serves as a blank canvas allowing users to create slides with free-form content, unbound by the constraints of PowerPoint placeholders.
  • Name layouts in a way that intuitively describes their form or function, since layout names are visible in some native interfaces.

No slides required

Slides are not required in your Macabacus-enabled template; only layouts. Macabacus will ignore any slides in your template.

Slide number placeholders

Adding slide number placeholders to your template is a purely native operation (not related to Macabacus), but one that is so often bungled that it is worth discussing here. To add slide number placeholders to your template, select your slide master and click the Slide Master > Master Layout button. Check the "Slide number" box in the dialog and click OK. Format the resulting slide number placeholder as desired.

Then, for each layout on which you want slide numbers to appear, check the Master Layout > Footers checkbox. If the this checkbox is disabled and your template contains no slides, you may need to add a slide temporarily to enable this checkbox (an apparent PowerPoint bug). You can remove this slide once your slide number placeholders are configured as desired.

Do not preserve

Ensure that the slide master in your Macabacus-enabled template is not "preserved." A preserved slide master will have a small pin icon next to it in Slide Master view.

2. Template Wizard

With your completed, pre-configuration presentation template open in PowerPoint, open the Template Wizard (accessed from the Macabacus > Settings menu) to guide you through the subsequent steps. If you created your template using the sample that installs with Macabacus as your starting point, then you may want to proceed directly to the Validate tab in Template Wizard to see if your template is already valid or, if not, what issues should be addressed for your template to validate.

Do not modify presentations with Template Wizard

The Template Wizard should generally be used to modify presentation templates (.potx files), not presentations themselves. Modifying presentations directly using Template Wizard may have unintended consequences and break presentation automation functionality in the modified presentation.

3. Name Your Layouts

On the Layouts tab in Template Wizard, ensure that each layout's name intuitively describes its form or function, as layout names are visible in some native and Macabacus interfaces. You can edit layout names directly on the Layouts tab, or using native PowerPoint functionality. If you rename a layout using native PowerPoint functionality, click the Refresh button in Template Wizard for the new name to appear.

4. Designate Special Layouts

Use the Layouts tab in the Template Wizard to designate non-content layouts in your template that serve specific purposes (described above), and which must be explicitly identified for some presentation automation tools to work.

  • Agenda — The agenda layout actually serves two functions: it is used for the table of contents slide, and for flysheets when a presentation's flysheet style is set to "Agenda."
  • Section Divider — The section divider layout is used for flysheets when a presentation's flysheet style is set to "Topic." Although the section divider layout only appears in a presentation if its flysheet style is set to "Topic," the bullet formatting (described below) on this layout determines the section numbering/lettering convention shown on slides based on the agenda layout. Therefore, you must include the section divider layout in your template to work with agendas, even if you do not use slides based on this layout in your presentations.
  • Legal Notices — The legal notices layout is commonly used for required disclosures and disclaimers. To prevent end users from manipulating text on legal notices slides, set the body text of the slide directly in its layout in Slide Master view (as demonstrated in the sample template that installs with Macabacus).
  • Intentionally Blank Slide — The intentionally blank layout supports duplex (double-sided) printing. For example, inserting intentionally blank slides before flysheets can ensure that flysheets are always printed on the front of pages. Include text such as "This page intentionally left blank" in the middle of the slide's layout in a textbox—not placeholder—to prevent editing. The intentionally blank slide's layout must not include a slide number placeholder shape to ensure consistency in numbering between duplex-printed presentations and onscreen presentations.

5. Special Agenda Shapes

Use the Agenda tab in the Template Wizard to designate shapes in your template as "special" shapes. Special shapes must be explicitly identified for some Macabacus features to work, and include:

Agenda Shapes

The agenda layout (in Slide Master view) should contain several hidden shape groups comprised of textboxes or AutoShapes (but not placeholders) containing placeholder text for section/subsection numbers, section/subsection names (i.e., topics), and slide numbers. This is best explained by examining a live example, so open the sample template that installs with Macabacus. With the sample template's agenda layout selected in Slide Master view, open PowerPoint's Selection Pane from the Home tab (or key Alt+F10). You should see five hidden shape groups in the Selection Pane, as described below. Unhide them.

Agenda Level 1 This required group normally contains section numbers/letters, section names, and slide numbers at indent level 1.
Agenda Level 1 Active This group normally contains section numbers/letters, section names, and slide numbers at indent level 1. If you are using flysheet style "Agenda," this group is required and reflects formatting of the active section.
Agenda Level 2 This required group normally contains subsection numbers/letters, subsection names, and slide numbers at indent level 2.
Agenda Level 2 Active This group normally contains subsection numbers/letters, subsection names, and slide numbers at indent level 2. If you are using flysheet style "Agenda," this group is required and reflects formatting of the active subsection.
Agenda Level 3 This optional group is used only on the table of contents, and most commonly contains slide titles and slide numbers at indent level 3.

Next, note the bracketed placeholder text in each grouped shape, which tells Macabacus what purpose each shape serves:

[#] This is where Macabacus places the section/subsection number or letter (e.g., 2, B, b, II, ii).
[Topic] This is where Macabacus places the section/subsection topic, or when using flysheet style "Topic," any other shape text you choose to include in the table of contents.
[P] This is where Macabacus places the slide number on which the section/subsection begins, or when using flysheet style "Topic," the slide number of any shape marked for inclusion in the table of contents.

Once you have positioned and formatted your agenda shapes in Slide Master view in your own template, ensure that you:

  • Group shapes as shown in the sample template. Each group should contain a single section letter/number, topic, and slide number textbox (slide numbers are not required, but recommended);
  • Use the exact grouped shape naming convention as shown above (e.g., "Agenda Level 1");
  • Use the exact bracketed text shown above to denote shape function (e.g., "[#]"); and
  • Hide the agenda shape groups before leaving Slide Master view.

Section Topic Placeholder

The section divider layout must contain one text placeholder shape with numbered bullets at indent levels 1 and 2. This placeholder is populated with section/subsection topics when updating the agenda, if the presentation's flysheet style is set to "Topic." The bullet style used in this placeholder shape determines the numbering convention that Macabacus uses when creating the agenda, even if the section divider slide itself is not used within your presentation (i.e., flysheet style is set to "Agenda").

6. First Content Layout

Keep in mind that the first content (non-special) layout in your template is the layout Macabacus uses when you create a new single-slide presentation, also known as a "rider," when clicking the Macabacus > New > New Slide button. Therefore, the first content layout in your template should be a simple layout intended for general use, rather than a purpose-specific layout.

7. MasterShapes and Styles

Add MasterShapes and style shapes to your template's slide master, if desired. The MasterShapes & Styles tab in the Template Wizard summarizes all MasterShapes and styles defined on your slide master for easy review.

8. Check Your Template

When you have configured your template as described above, proceed to the Validate tab in the Template Wizard to verify the integrity of your Macabacus-enabled template. Macabacus performs numerous checks to ensure that your template is properly configured, and will provide warnings or errors when any problems are found. Errors must be addressed in order for the template to work properly, and warnings should be given appropriate consideration.

Use Your Template

Publish Your Template

After configuring your template, publish it to the personal, team, or company library by clicking the Macabacus > Settings > Publish to Library > Presentation Template button in PowerPoint, Excel, or Word. You will be prompted to select a presentation template to publish, and to specify a document group to which the template should be published. If the path to the library to which you are publishing is not set, Macabacus will prompt you to choose a library folder.

Administrator privileges

To publish to the company library, specifically, either (a) activate Macabacus using the email address of a Macabacus account administrator, or (b) run PowerPoint as a Windows administrator. This prevents unauthorized changes by end users.

Set the Active Template

Once you have published one or more Macabacus-enabled presentation templates to Macabacus libraries, go to the PowerPoint > Template section of the Settings dialog and select a presentation template to be used as the "active" template. The active template is used to implement Macabacus' presentation automation functionality. The sample template that installs with Macabacus is set as the active template by default.

This documentation refers to Macabacus version 8.9.17. Some features and descriptions of these features may not
apply to older versions of Macabacus. Update your Macabacus software to take advantage of the latest features.