In my post on "Creating Handouts From PowerPoint Slides" I showed how to publish PowerPoint notes pages to PDF for distribution to attendees after a presentation. Many people fail to realize that they do not need to stick with the default PowerPoint formatting for slides and notes in the export. You can adjust the look of notes pages just as you can change the look of presentation slides.
Look under the View command in PowerPoint and you'll see not only the Slide Master you are probably familiar with, but a Notes Master.
Clicking Notes Master brings up an editable master that is separate from the one used when you design and display your slides. It is only used for displaying and printing notes pages.
Notice that in this example Notes Master, I changed the orientation from Portrait to Landscape and included a number of parameters above and below the slide image (such as Date, Page Number, Header, and Footer). I select those options from a Notes Master tab that shows up in this editing mode:
Once I have selected the elements I want to include on my notes pages, I can change their settings using Insert Header and Footer:
In this case I made the date a fixed value rather than letting the computer change it every time I print.
Looking back at my master, I also chose to extend the height of the notes body text and centered the text vertically in the frame. My last design choice was to put a slight gray background behind the notes text and add similarly filled boxes above and below the slide. You can make any design choices you want… This just gives you an idea of what's possible.
Now when I print the notes pages of my presentation, they come out looking like this:
That makes for a nice PDF "book" you can distribute after your webinar.
If you start playing with notes masters, you will soon discover that PowerPoint has some quirks in practical use. It really feels like the development team at Microsoft didn't fully test the feature in operation.
If you insert slides from another presentation with a different notes master, unpredictable things occur. It may pick up some of the new settings and some of the old settings. If you make changes to your notes master, some or all of your slides may not update their content to match the changes. You need to right-click the slide while in Notes View and choose "Notes Layout…" followed by "Reapply master."
Amazingly, there is no way to reapply the master to all slides at once. You have to bring up every slide individually and reapply the master by hand. It's maddening and inexplicable. I have also seen cases where after you reapply the master, the slide image disappears. You need to use the Notes Layout menu to manually re-check the "Slide image" box.
Despite these frustrations, redesigning your notes masters can create a better-looking leave-behind for your attendees. Give it a try!