I am a bit confused regarding the roles of master slides, slide layouts, styles and templates. They all have overlapping purposes but seem to be entangled with each other in different ways. Let’s start with the simplest one: styles. It is clear that we can set styles and use throughout our document right? Well not really. That’s the promise but you will see how confusing it gets… Users seem to be confused regarding their scope. e.g. they are contained within a file, which we don’t see in the user guide.
Templates… they are “a special type of presentation that you can use as a basis…”. But how does that differ than a normal presentation file (ODP)? I can as well have an ODP file and use it as a template. What does this type provide me different than ODP? Or are they simple for the startup dialog to make user’s choice of template easier?
Let’s continue… Master slides… It is for a beginner quite unclear what their scope is and how they also differ from layouts. When I am creating a master slide, I seem to be able to play with the layout. But not quite, as I can’t even delete some auto layout fields. They are also contained in the file as it appears. Now the best part is that their styles are not unified. Meaning, when I change the Title style in one master slide, other master slides using the same style remain unchanged! This is quite frustrating. I have to change all Title styles in each master slide one-by-one. What was the purpose of styles again?
Finally, layouts… all the three topics above can be created/changed by the user. Layouts seem to be special and again not so obviously explained anywhere (AFAIK). One can’t simply create and change layouts. But they can be applied to master slides and slides. I wonder why? Is it simply a good starting point for a new slide? If yes, why is it so strongly tied to a slide? Meaning, I can pick a layout for a new slide, but then that slide does not need to be tied to that layout, since it can be changed.
All in all, it is quite confusing and not so well documented. I lack the logic behind these features and how they differentiate, what their use cases are. I also want to contribute the documentation efforts. But first, it is perhaps better to provoke a discussion. I know that I asked a lot of questions above.
Edit: I am not sure actually, if layouts can be applied to master slides. All options are disabled in the master view.