Impress is....well, it's not always as solid as the other OpenOffice.org applications. However, there are ways to deal with it.
I'm going to post about two particular Impress issues: the disappearing master page, today, and on Friday, the wackiness surrounding creating two new master pages at once.
All right. So you want to create a new master page. Go ahead, but you need to care for it very very carefully. Here's the short version. Create a new master page under View > Master > Slide Master by right-clicking in the lefthand pane, creating a new master page, and designing it. Then choose View > Normal to go back. Now, you MUST apply that new master page to at LEAST one slide, or your wonderful new master page will go Poof. (Not always, but enough for it to be a big issue.) Also, choose File > Templates > Save and save whatever document you created the master page in. Then the master page(s) in that presentation will be available in all future presentations you create or edit.
Now, here's the detail.
Just Creating a Master Page From Scratch
You're dying to create your own master page from scratch, to format presentations exactly the way you want. Here's how.
2. Choose View > Master > Slide Master.
3. Now you're in the master page view.
4. Right-click in the left hand pane and choose to rename the default new master page. Not required but it's nice when you have a lot of them later.
7. All right. Format your master page, go nuts. Choose Format > Page, Background tab to change the background color. Add graphics, right-click on each and choose Arrange > Send to Back to put them in the background behind the text. Whatever you want.
8. Choose View > Normal to go back to normal view.
The Disappearing Act
10. Now, what if you now think, hey, I like this thing I designed, but for the first few slides that I have here, I'm going to apply this other master page. You might do this by right-clicking on another master page over there in the right-hand pane, like the nice green one, and choosing Apply to All Slides.
How Do You Prevent the Disappearing Act?
You MUST apply that new master page to at LEAST one slide, and keep it applied. Or your
wonderful new master page will go Poof. (Not always, but enough for it
to be a big issue.) So even if you don't intend to apply your new master page to the first slide, keep it applied there until you apply it to other slides.
Also, as soon as you've created your master page, choose File > Templates > Save and save whatever document you created the master page in.