How to Create a Slide Deck Template

A slide deck template is a repeatable presentation with placeholders. It specifies the colors, formatting, and layout that you want in each version of the presentation.

To get started automating your presentations with Slideform, you will need a repeatable template for your slide deck.

Step 1: Identify slide elements for automation

Start by examining one or more versions of a frequently-used slide deck. Notice which information varies between different versions of the deck. These may be dates, names, images, charts, or data. In the template, you will replace each of these elements with a placeholder, called a pragma, that will be filled in for different versions of the presentation.

In this example, I'm using a pricing proposal, shown below. My proposal deck has just two slides: a title slide and a body slide with the pricing information.


In my example, I want to replace the client name each time I create the deck. I also want to provide customized pricing for each client.

Step 2: Create placeholders

Slideform uses curly braces, {{ }}, to identify placeholders, called "pragmas", that will be replaced in the different versions of the presentation. The other text on the slides will appear the same in the final presentation.

In this example, I used four text pragmas.

  • {{client}} - this will hold the client name

  • {{seats}} - how many user licenses they are buying

  • {{monthly rate}} - the total license cost per month

  • {{annual cost}} - the total cost per year

I also used an image pragma in my example. These begin with the word "image:". On slide 1 in black text there is a rectangular shape placeholder for the client logo. This will be replaced by an image that I upload for each version of the presentation. The image file will be resized and cropped to match the shape of the placeholder.

  • {{image:clientlogo}} - client logo image

Finally, I used a function pragma to auto-populate the date on slide 1.

  • {{fn:date}} - the date the slides are created

Slideform also supports data type pragmas to pull in a pre-formatted table from a data source (such as a spreadsheet or dashboard) and chart pragmas to pull a pre-made chart from a spreadsheet. 

Make a template version of your deck in either Google Slides or Powerpoint. Replace each of the repeating elements with a pragma surrounded by curly braces. Save it as a regular presentation, not a "template" type. 

If you are using Google Slides, share the deck with so that Slideform can read the file.

Step 3: Upload your template

Log into Slideform and select New Form.

Enter a name and description for your deck, then

  • Google Slides: enter the URL of the slide deck template

  • Powerpoint: upload the template presentation file

Slideform will read the file and create a series of questions, one for each pragma.

Save the form at the bottom of the page before continuing.

After saving, go back to the Forms page and you should see a preview of your new template. Choose Configure Data to return to the template and finish setup.

Add any collaborators on your team that will need access to this deck template. Click the Collaborators tab at the top of the page and select the users from the dropdown.

Optional - go to the Data Sources tab to connect your data sources used in this template.

You can now generate a presentation from this template by clicking Generate on the main Forms page.

Additional steps to fully automate your data-driven presentations:

  1. Connect a data source

  2. Configure the data mapping

  3. Generate output 

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