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How to Modify Your PowerPoint Presentation's Theme and Background

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  • 0:06 Themes and Slide Masters
  • 0:40 Applying a Theme
  • 1:31 Applying Variants
  • 3:28 Formatting Background
  • 4:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Zandbergen

Paul has a PhD from the University of British Columbia and has taught Geographic Information Systems, statistics and computer programming for 15 years.

Themes in PowerPoint are a quick way to control the overall design of your presentation. Learn how to apply and customize a theme, including the use of different backgrounds.

Themes and Slide Masters

PowerPoint uses two approaches to control the appearance of slides in a presentation:

  • Themes control the colors, fonts, effects and background style of all the slides in a presentation. Most themes include variants that are identical in terms of general design but provide different options for colors and fonts.
  • Slide masters control the layout, master style and static slide elements of specific types of slides.

This lesson will look more closely at the use of themes.

Applying a Theme

Applying a theme to a presentation is a quick way to change the appearance of all your slides. Let's start with a blank presentation. To apply a theme, select the Design ribbon. On the left side, you see a panel with the available themes. Click on the More button on the right side of the panel to see all the available themes.

When you click on one of the themes, the design is applied to all the slides in your presentation. A theme changes the fonts, the colors, the background styles and the placements of elements of each type.

When you have applied a theme, it is a good idea to look at some of the different types of slides to see what the design looks like. For example, the title slide is often very different from the other slides in a theme.

Applying Variants

Once you have a found a theme that you like, you can make some minor changes to the design by using variants. You can find the Variants for a particular theme on the Design ribbon, next to the panel for themes. Variants allow you to change the fonts and colors but within the same general design. The placement of elements and the background graphics remain the same.

Only a handful of variants are shown in the panel. To see more options, click on the More button on the right side of the panel. This allows you to select from more options for things like colors and fonts. Selecting from the list of color palettes ensures that colors remain coordinated throughout your presentation. You can make further changes by customizing the colors. This brings up the Create New Theme Colors dialog where you can select up to 12 different theme colors.

This gives you more detailed options than you normally need, but it can be used to create a consistent look based on the company's colors, for example. If you create customized theme colors, these are saved with the presentation.

Similarly, you can create a set of customized fonts for all the text in your presentation. These are also saved with your presentation. If you have spent a great deal of time developing a look and feel you are really happy with, you can save your work as a new theme for later use.

Select the Design ribbon and click on the More button in the themes panel. This brings up the option to Save Current Theme. This brings up a dialog where you can save the theme of your current presentation. Once the theme has been saved, you can use it in a different presentation.

Formatting Background

Each theme uses a different background style, but you can also create your own background. Let's start off with a blank presentation. To modify the background, select the Design ribbon and click on the Format Background option.

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