Impress Terminology

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This is a specification draft for issue 53506, which is about terminology used in Impress which is at present confusing. This page is a first attempt to identify the set of terms that should be used throughout the GUI and OLH removing duplicates. Ideally OOo 3.0 should be the target for closing the issue. I would kindly ask to direct comments, suggestions on the proposals to the OOo discussion list as well as to notify me or at the link provided above when this page is modified.

General overview

Impress uses a variety of terms to refer to preset elements of a slide or presentation. Often the same element is indicated by two different terms (e.g. Master Pages in the Task pane is called Slide Master in the View menu), in other occasions two terms are used as synonims. There should be a well defined and consistent use of terminology in the user interface and in the documentation as this will improve the user experience. The terms considered at present are:

  • Slide master
  • Slide design
  • Slide layout
  • Presentation background
  • Master page
  • Template

Slide master

The Slide master defines the formatting and layout of all or parts of the elements that form a slide. A slide master may contain customizations of presentation styles, graphic styles, background, graphic objects, slide number, footer and date areas etc... Slides based on a given Slide master inherit the formatting properties, the basic layout and background. Each slide of a presentation is based on a single Slide master, however a presentation may contain more than one Slide master.


At present both Master Page and Slide Master are used. There is some consensus among the users of OOo (as can be derived from the thread in the discussion mailing list) to adopt the term Slide Master.

Slide background

The background of a slide in Impress can be a solid colour, an image, a gradient or a hatching pattern. Normally the slide background is inherited from the Slide master on which the slide is based on. The background is a property of the slide rather than of the presentation. There is no such thing as a "presentation background" as in theory each slide of a presentation may have a different background.


It is proposed to refer to the background of each individual slide as "Slide background". Background page, page background o presentation background should not be used.

Definitions of other terms

Presentation template

A presentation template is a collection of slide masters and a certain number of predefined slides.

Slide layout

The slide layout defines which objects containers appear in the slide and their position.

Unclear terminology

  • Slide design: is this another slide master?
  • Page background: should be removed
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