PowerPoint handouts are a great resource to distribute to your audience so that they can follow along during your presentation or use for future reference. If you’d like to customize the handout layout before its distribution, PowerPoint has a way.

Customizing a PowerPoint Handout’s Layout

Go ahead and open up the PowerPoint presentation you’ll be working with if you haven’t already. Switch over to the “View” tab and click the “Handout Master” button.

handout master button

This action opens a new “Handout Master” tab on the Ribbon. Here you’ll find several available options for customizing the PowerPoint’s handout, such as Page Setup, Placeholders, Edit Theme, and Background.

handout master options

Let’s first look at the options available in the “Page Setup” group, starting with “Handout Orientation.” By default, the orientation is set to “Portrait,” but you can change it to “Landscape” from the drop-down menu.

handout orientation

“Slide Size” gives you three options: Standard (4:3), Widescreen (16:9), or Custom Slide Size. Selecting “Custom Slide Size” lets you specify the exact width and height of the slides.

slide size


“Slides Per Page,” as the name suggests, lets you select how many slides appear on each page, ranging anywhere from one to nine slides per page.

slides per page

Moving on to the “Placeholders” group, you can select or deselect the specific placeholders you want to appear on the handout. Placeholders include the header, footer, date, and page number.

To edit the content within these placeholders, make sure the option is enabled and then click the space to start editing.

Finally, you can edit the fonts, effects, background style, and color scheme of the handout by using the tools in the “Background” group.

background options

Once you’re finished customizing the layout of your handout, click the “Close Master View” button.

close master view

Be sure to save before closing PowerPoint.

Exporting the Handout to a Word Document

To export the PowerPoint presentation to a Word Document to create handouts, first select the “File” tab.

file tab


Next, select “Export” in the menu options on the left-hand side.

On the list of options that appears, select “Create Handouts.”

create handouts

Finally, click the “Create Handouts” button.

create handouts 2

Now the “Send to Microsoft Word” menu will appear. Select your desired page layout type and then select “Paste” or “Paste Link.”

Once you’re ready, click “OK.”

send to microsoft word

Once you’ve selected “OK,” your presentation handout will open up in Word.

To edit the content within the slides, double-click the slide to be edited. Selecting the area next to the slide allows you to enter notes about the slide.

Feel free to add a header or footer to the handout. Once you’re finished, be sure to save the document and print out however many handouts you think you’ll need plus a few more just in case!

Marshall Gunnell
Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, runs ITEnterpriser, a data-storage and cybersecurity-focused online media, and plays with development, with his RAID calculator being his first public project.
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