Creating a PowerPoint Handout – Steps explained

Imagine you have a presentation to make to a large audience (say 100 people). The presentation has to be visually appealing and highly impactful. Both these objectives will be achieved if the audience is able to recollect the key points discussed during the presentation. Printed Handouts can be the best solution in this case.

Microsoft PowerPoint provides a variety of features and one such feature is HANDOUTS. Microsoft PowerPoint has an inbuilt feature of designing, formatting and printing Handouts that match with the slides of a PowerPoint presentation. PowerPoint also provides options like making adjustments to the layout, color scheme and design as well as adding headers and footers, or changing the number of slides that appear on each page.

Read below to know more on how Handouts can be created in order to enhance your presentation.


To see the Handout options, click the View tab, and then click Handout Master under Master Views group.

When you click on Handout Mater, the Handout master view will open.

Under the Handout Master you have sub groups. Let us understand what these sub groups do.

                  Page Setup Group

In the Page Setup group, you can specify the number and layout of slides to print on each page, change the orientation of handouts, and set the slide size. You can use settings on all three menus — Handout Orientation, Slide Size, and Slides per Page to customize your layout exactly how you want it.


Handout Orientation

Handout Orientation can be used to change the orientation of the Handouts. Click Handout Orientation and then choose Portrait or Landscape.




Slide Size

Slide size will enable you to define a size to your Handouts. Click Slide Size and then choose Standard or Widescreen. The default slide size in PowerPoint 2013 is widescreen (a 16:9 aspect ratio) and Standard (4:3). However and you canalsoset it to your desired size. You can also set slide sizes to match a variety of common paper sizes and other screen elements.



You can also create a slide with the size you desire. For this you need to click on Custom Slide Size. When you click on Custom Slide Size the Slide Size dialogue box will be displayed.


Under Slides sized for option, you will see a number of options and you may choose the option you want.

Set the Height and Width dimensions, Orientation and Click OK.

 When PowerPoint is unable to automatically scale your content, it will prompt you with two options:



Maximize: Select this option to increase the size of your slide content when you are scaling to a larger slide size. Choosing this option could result in your content not fitting on the slide.

Ensure Fit: Select this option to decrease the size of your content when scaling to a smaller slide size. This could make your content appear smaller, but you’ll be able to see all content on your slide.


Slide per Page

Click Slides per Page. Choose a layout option from the thumbnail images. By default the 3 Slides option includes lines that your audience can use to take notes.




Placeholders Group

You can adjust headers and footers in the Placeholders group. By default, the placeholders appear in the top and bottom corners of the Handout Master page.

Click in a text placeholder (Header, Footer, Date, or Page Number) to make changes to it. You can do things like:

Turn placeholders on or off: Clear the check box of the placeholder (Header, Date, Footer, or Page Number) that you want to turn off.







Edit or add content in the text placeholders: In addition to text changes, you can use commands on the Insert tab to add graphics or other content types.

Format text shape and appearance: Select the text and use the options on the Format tab to make changes.

Change text placeholders: Drag a text placeholder to move it, and use the text box sizing handles to change its size.

Background Group

You can change the background of your handouts (but not the background of your slides) in the Background group. You can also quickly change the font for all for your handout text at once, and you can apply special borders and visual effects.


Colors: Choose a color theme for your handout background. You may have to click Background Stylesand choose an option to see it applied.


Background Styles: Choose a style option from the list. The colors displayed depend on your choice in the Colors list.Click Format Background at the bottom of the Background Styles list to open the Format pane and choose from more background options, such as advanced fill settings, artistic effects, and color and image settings.


Fonts: Choose a font from the list to quickly apply it to all headers and footers.


Effects: Choose an effect from the list to apply a theme effects, with features including shadows, reflections, lines, fills, and more.



I suppose a lot of queries in regards to create handouts have been answered. The PowerPoint presentation handouts can provide an excellent form of reference for an audience during and after viewing. This will ensure your presentation to be successful and highly impactful.


About the author

FAME is a leading Accountancy training provider. FAME brings together under one roof a wide range of accounting courses blended with real world experience and practical application. FAME aims to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical challenges that accountants face in their day to day working. We provide practical workplace skills for finance staff meeting the needs of employers, bankers, government and learners, both now and in the future. Our students are integral to the success of an organisation and at the heart of ensuring the smooth running of an accounting department.