Superman asked me yesterday:

In PowerPoint, I have a bunch of slides and I want to apply one font to all their titles and another font to all their body text. How do I do this without having to edit all these slides one by one?

The answer is a master slide.

First let's create a master with the style we want:

  1. Launch PowerPoint. Create a new presentation or open an existing presentation.
  2. Go to the View menu | Master | Slide Master.
  3. Since we don't want this applied to every existing slide in the presentation, let's create a new Slide Master. Insert menu | New Slide Master.
  4. On this new Slide Master, change the fonts for the title and body to Comic Sans MS or some other font. Or do other stuff like changing the slide background or inserting some autoshapes.
  5. Close out of master editing by clicking the big Close Master View button.  Or if you don't see that, try View | Normal. You should be back to your regularly scheduled presentation.

Now to apply that formatting to some actual slides:

  1. Select the slide or slides from the list of slides on the left.
  2. Open up the Slide Design task pane by going to the Format menu | Slide Design. In the Used in This Presentation section at the top, you should see a mini picture of the master slide you created earlier.
  3. Click the mini picture and the formatting on that master slide will be applied to the slides you selected. The fonts on these slides should change to Comic Sans MS.
Oops, I changed my mind. Instead of Comic Sans MS I actually wanted to use Arial.

Easy enough. Just go back to the master (View menu | Master | Slide Master), edit the master. All the slides that use that master will automatically update to the new formatting.

One other minor note. PowerPoint 2002 (a.k.a. PowerPoint XP) was the first version to introduce multiple masters, a highly requested feature. In earlier versions you can only have one master for the entire presentation, which can make this process a little more difficult if you had several different sets of formatting you wanted to apply.

If you have to share your presentation with people using earlier versions of PowerPoint that don't support multiple masters, you can improve compatibility by disabling multiple masters so you can be sure the earlier version can read your presentation: Tools menu | Options | Edit tab | Disable new features section.