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This guide contains a description of how to create and use your presentation. It’s not an introductory guide to the PowerPoint software, but rather provides you with practical tips and demonstrates general approaches.



A master is the foundation for presentations and contains all the information about the design and slide layout of a presentation, including backgrounds, colors, font types, effects, size of placeholders, and positioning.

We are known as “Merck” internationally, except in the U.S. and Canada. In these two countries only, we use different names and logos for our business. For China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, we use Noto as a typeface instead of our M-Font and Verdana. Keep this in mind when choosing your presentation master.


Your slides are always put together using the same structure and each has a fixed area for the title, content, and footer. Within the content area you can divide the space into columns.


The different page types are incorporated into the master using placeholders.

Slide layouts are defined page types that incorporate preformatted placeholders of various kinds. These defined slide types give you an outline to help create presentations quickly.

Keep the following in mind:

  • There are no fixed rules dictating when each cell or color type should be used. In each scheme you can choose if you want to use cell or plain layouts. Make sure to stay within one color scheme for the complete slide deck.
  • Focus the messages and the overall appearance of the slide deck on the target of your presentation.
  • If you want to reuse slides in other slide decks, the slides will be adapted automatically to the new slide deck design. This only works if you did not change the design/layout of the slides you want to reuse. 
  • Less is more.

The development of the layout progresses from the image level to the information level.

In general, the following applies: if the amount of information increases, the white space should also increase.


Defined slide layouts are preformatted with placeholders.

How to choose the correct layout for the content you wish to put on the slide:

  • To insert an object into the placeholder, simply click on the relevant icon. 
  • The table, graphics, SmartArt, and diagram placeholders are linked to your library. This means you can ensure that you are always working in compliance with corporate guidelines. 
  • You can access objects that are not in your library using PowerPoint’s own index.

  1. In order to insert text into a text placeholder, enter the relevant box and just start typing. 
  2. With content placeholders, you have the option to insert a diagram, a table, some SmartArt, or a video into the area available. Do not use the pictures button. 
  3. Only pictures and graphics can be inserted into an image placeholder. The pictures inserted will fill the whole placeholder and will not be distorted, but will be cropped where they exceed the edges.


In PowerPoint we use our set of typefaces. These are defined in more detail in our typeface.

In general we use the following three:

  • Verdana is the standard typeface for international templates and for the U.S. and Canada. Use these fonts for continuous text and for slide headings using the regular and bold font styles. 
  • Our M-font is for title and divider slides. In the print area its used as the heading font. For slides that have a lot of visual elements, this font can also be used for content.
  • Noto is used in the templates for China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Regular and bold styles are used for headings and continuous texts. The black style replaces the M-font on title and divider slides. 

When sending open PowerPoint files, please ensure that the fonts used are embedded.
Learn how to embed fonts in PowerPoint.


Keep it simple: use a maximum of three font sizes.

A maximum of three different font sizes should be used in the content area throughout the whole presentation. Always consider what sort of display medium your presentation will be viewed on and adapt the structural components accordingly.

The standard font size
A standard font size of 16 pt is preinstalled on the master. However, it is sensible to manually increase or reduce the size of the text on slides in your own presentations.  

Projector presentations
When presenting via a projector, we recommend increasing the font sizes and adjusting the slide layout accordingly to guarantee the best possible readability for your audience.  

Text alignment

  • Continuous texts and lists are aligned to the left.
  • Short texts in boxes, e.g. parts of graphics or tables, can be centered (exception: continuous texts, lists). 
  • Numbers can be aligned to the right.

Print-only presentations
For a document that is only going to be printed you can use a smaller font size. However, be aware that PowerPoint is not a tool for printed products (e.g. flyers or brochures).

Paragraphs and line spacing

  • The first level is set with a space of 6 pt above the paragraph and 6 pt below. The remaining paragraphs all have an equal space of 3 pt above and below the paragraph.
  • The space between lines is multiple at 1.05.

Colors and
coloring rules

The color palette in the master is set up with the colors that correspond to our corporate design. You may use any color for title pages and dividers. You may also color the logo, which is used throughout the presentation.

See our colors for more information  

Choose suitable combinations
You may create title pages and dividers for your presentations with whichever cell types and colors you like. When you do so, please consider our rules for colors. Do not use more than three or four colors at the same time.  

  • Using more than three or four colors
    If necessary, you can use more colors for charts and infographics, for example. Please note that any changes to the color of the layout will affect all slides in the current presentation that use this layout. 
  • Using new color combinations
    To use new color combinations on the title pages and dividers, you can simply copy the object from the corresponding slide layout onto an empty slide. To do this, click on “View | Slide master” and press CTRL and A. When you close the master view you will return to the normal working mode. Now press CTRL and V. Now you can freely create your dividers in line with the rules for color combinations.
  • Logo color
    The logo may also be recolored on content pages. This then should apply to all pages. 
  • Title color
    The title color should never be the same as the logo color.

Using COmponents

Please only use components that comply with the corporate design.

  • You can find examples in the slide and object library. 
  • Avoid using PowerPoint effects, ClipArt, and online graphics wherever possible. 

If you are unsure which components you are able to insert, have a look in the slide library to see if you can find anything similar or contact our Brand Team via

You can see some examples of different corporate elements in our design basics.

Table template and functions

Formatting tables easily
The adjacent table layout is integrated into the company master and assigned as standard. You can automatically insert a table in the correct layout. You can adapt the table to your needs using “Options for table format” on the table tools index outline.  

  1. Use the checkboxes to assign a result cell to the table, for example, or to turn off the title line. 
  2. You can assign the table template from the gallery in the same index to existing tables in order to format them.

Format of
diagrams and

Highlight important information in diagrams
Diagrams should always be formatted in a consistent way. Remove superfluous components like grid lines and frames. Your library will help you to insert diagrams in line with the corporate design.  

  1. Order of colors: wherever possible, use colors in the defined order
  2. Value axis: Verdana regular, 10 pt, black, no line, no grid lines 
  3. Category axis: Verdana regular, 10 pt, axis 1 pt, black 
  4. Data labels: Verdana regular, 10 pt, black 
  5. Emphasis: M-font, 24 pt


Format your texts correctly

We have our own distinctive typeface specifically developed for our company

A typeface can express emotions, can draw attention to certain points you want to highlight, and is one of the greatest tools for brand recognition.

See our typography for examples

Please note the following:

  • Ensure enough contrast between the text and background
  • Avoid drop shadows 
  • Don’t use underlining 
  • The M-font is never used in black, white, or grey

using strings

How to work with strings

When we draw a loop or path around content to emphasize it, we can use a special illustrative style to create a string or use one of various templates.

See our strings for examples

Please note the following:

  • Never use a string as an image border 
  • Never fill a string with a color 
  • Please only use one string shape per page or item

using pictures

How to work with pictures: avoid sea of sameness

In the corporate world, there is a pervasive photographic style which dominates, and, as such, many organizations end up looking much like one another. We must avoid this if we want to stand out.

See our pictures for examples

Please note these rules:

  • Avoid sea of sameness
  • Avoid clichés
  • No BW images 
  • No obvious manipulations 
  • No monochrome images (except historical images) 
  • No cartoons 
  • No collages 
  • No screwball-style images



We use the empower® PowerPoint plugin to facilitate the process of creating PowerPoint presentations in our corporate design.

empower® provides functionality to verify a presentations layout regarding corporate design. Via empower® you have access to the company presentations and to a library with our pre-defined slides and a set of icons, graphics, etc. More information on how to use empower® is available on EVA (restricted access).

Access EVA



    Our logos are the heart of our brand. They should always be displayed as prominently as possible.

    Learn more

    Science is colorful and we are committed to a colorful future. This is also reflected in our brand.

    Learn more

    Our whole brand identity is evoked by the typeface, so using it properly is extremely important.

    Learn more

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