Managing master 'tags' in PowerPoint Mac 2008 Templates

Jeff Hughes
Jeff Hughes used Ask the Experts™
This is going to be hard to explain!
I have created a template in 2008 Mac. I have 2 masters, for simplicity I will call them 'Text' master, with various layouts, and a 'Dividers' master, again with various layouts.

In normal view in the design ribbon under Slide Layouts I have 2 master 'tags' - Text and Dividers.
I open template save as a pptx and my presentation has just the two master tags in the ribbon as expected. However if i create another presentation and then insert slides from one to another (keeping source formatting) I end up with 4 master tags - Text, Dividers, 1_Text and 1_Dividers.

I want it to just maintain the original 2 'tags'. The funny thing is on another presentation (also taken from the same template) that I had done a previous test on it works as i want it to work i.e. I insert as many other presentations and only the 2 tags are maintained in the ribbon. The only thing I can see that differs with the one that works is that if i go to File, Properties, Summary - next to Template it is blank. All other presentations next to template it has the name of the original template that they were all created from.

If I uncheck keep source formatting the additional tags are not added but all slides will take on the design of the slide that precedes it - so if that happens to be a divider than all slides will come in as a divider layout which again is not what I need.

If anyone can understand this let alone answer it i will be most grateful.

Thanks in advance.

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This often happens when you paste in a slide that has content on the master layout that PPT considers user-added data, and PPT thinks that it shouldn't remove that logo or whatever, so it creates a duplicate of the existing layout. So the original layout was named Text, and the layout in the other presentation was also named Text. When you merge the two (by copy/paste or whatever other method), PPT doesn't want to lose that logo, so it creates the duplicate layout. Since they have the same name, it adds a 1_ to the layout name.

I think this can be overcome by removing the "user drawn" attribute in the XML of the file you're pasting in. I think the reason this probably works on some presentations is that they are based on the templates that shipped with PowerPoint, and they've had that attribute removed. But one that you or someone else has created probably hasn't.


Many thanks for your reply. Sorry but I do not know how to 'remove the "user drawn" attribute in the XML of the file'. Could you please explain?

i attach a screen grab of the issue just for clarification - you can see the duplication of the 'master tags'.

Thanks again in advance and look froward to hearing from you.
Right, I understand what's happening. It's a bug in PPT. Or, actually, it's a bad design -- I don't know that the Microsoft folks actually consider it a bug.
If you download the theme builder utility, there is some information in the Document Themes SDK (and in the Help files) that talks about the User Drawn property. Sorry, but I don't have additional details to give you about it. Theme builder is here Install it, then click Help to get to the Document Themes SDK.
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The download is for 2007 - does that matter if I am on 2008??
I will try it, nevertheless, and let you know how I get on - thanks again
Well, you may need to install it on a PC -- I don't know how the installer would work on a Mac. But the templates are the same in 2007 and 2008, so the information should be valid in either one.


I have tried the suggestion above. I had to rename the thmx file to a zip and then unzip it to get to the xml files. I then went through all the layout/master xml files and deleted 'userdrawn '1' as it suggests in theme builder help. Then I zipped up again and put new thmx file in my themes folder.

Unfortunately it didn't work!!

I will try a work around for now but I really appreciate the time you have put into this to try and get to a solution. Many thanks again.
I'm sorry to hear that. I was pretty sure it would.

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