Looking to reduce the use of non-brand colors?

Tired of Inconsistent Presentation design?

Frustrated by Wrong or Distorted Logo Usage?

It’s time to develop your own custom PowerPoint presentation theme.

In our last post, you learned how to access the various layouts saved inside your theme and how to reuse slides from other PowerPoint presentations and incorporate them into your new slide deck. We also covered selecting a theme, including loading one from an existing presentation deck. If you missed out on our last post, you can find it here.

In this post, we will be covering how to create a PowerPoint presentation template from scratch. We’ll review the main component of a theme and how to use them.

I’ve put together a 12-page walk-through with all PowerPoint Woes posts 1 & 2 steps in one PDF file.

If you’d like to read it online, just scroll down. To download a copy, fill out the form on this page.

How to Create Your Own Presentation Theme

1. Click on the VIEW tab & select SLIDE MASTER VIEW. This will take you into the slide master layout

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Click VIEW Tab



2. From here, you select the MASTER LAYOUT. You can change the background and place any “permanent” items—logos, graphics, etc.—on this layout.

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Right click to open the slide option dialog box.

3. Right-click on the main slide area (outside of any text frame) & pull up the slide option dialog box.

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You have the standard paste options inside the dialog box: General & Image.

You can turn on & off the MASTER LAYOUT placeholder options:

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The GRID AND GUIDES option allows you to add guidelines and grids to assist with the layout.

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You can turn on & off the RULER (also found under the VIEW tab).

Formatting the Background of your Presentation Theme

The FORMAT BACKGROUND panel gives you quite a few options.

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Select Solid Fill


Click the down arrow.

4. You can select a solid color, a gradient, a picture or texture fill, a pattern, or have them all hidden.

5. Click the drop-down to open the swatches panel for the solid color. Here you will find a standard selection of colors set forth by Microsoft as the default “OFFICE” theme. The THEME COLORS can be changed from under the COLORS drop-down under the SLIDE MASTER ribbon.

6. If one of the colors under the swatches is not suitable. There is a more extensive set of colors under MORE COLORS… if the STANDARD (7) colors set doesn’t work, you can code a color from its RGB or Hexadecimal code under CUSTOM (8).

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color panel - standard

Color options under the Color Panel – Standard tab.

color panel - custom

The Color Panel – Custom tab allows you to enter in custom RGB, Hexidecimal color codes as well as, setting the transparency of the color.

example of color picker in useIf you are trying to match a color from a graphic or photo, select the EYEDROPPER. Any item you hover over will show you a block of color, the RGB code & the color name.

Gradient Fill

color panel - standard

Gradient and Gradient Stops

In the GRADIENT FILL option, you can choose a preset that uses the THEME COLORS, the TYPE, which gives you various options (radial, linear, rectangular, path, or tile). You can select the direction from the preset drop-down or enter a custom direction in the ANGLE field.

You can set individual GRADIENT STOPS in custom colors allowing for complex gradients. You can also manually set the POSITION of each stop, the TRANSPARENCY, and the BRIGHTNESS.

Texture & Picture Backgrounds

color panel - standard

Texture Options

By selecting the PICTURE OR TEXTURE FILL option, you can browse for a photo or graphic by clicking the INSERT button under PICTURE SOURCE. Or, you can move further down & click the down arrow beside the TEXTURE icon. This will open a panel with a preset selection of textures for you to use.

All options below this will affect how the image or texture is displayed. TRANSPARENCY controls the element’s opacity. The TILE PICTURE OR TEXTURE check box will determine if the image repeats horizontally and vertically over the slide or if it stretches to fill the space.

The OFFSET X controls the horizontal placement, while the OFFSET Y controls the vertical. Scale is also controllable on the X and Y-axis. If you want to keep the image/texture proportional, make sure these two numbers are the same.


The ALIGNMENT option determines where the tiles originate from. Each of these selections will change the pattern or texture slightly. Below that is the MIRROR option which can completely change how a pattern/texture is presented.

The image shown on the right is an icon graphic applied using the picture INSERT. TILE PICTURE OR TEXTURE was turned on, and the alignment is set to its default (Top Left).

pattern or texture  tiled alignment

Examples of how ALIGNMENT affects the image/texture application:

Top Left
Bottom Left
Top Right
Center Right
Bottom Right

Examples of how MIRROR affects the image/texture application:

Additional Formatting Options

Look at the top of the FORMAT BACKGROUND panel for additional option for formatting images. You will find 2 new icons. These icons will only appear when you have PICTURE OR TEXTURE FILL selected.

format background additional options
artistic effects panel

The second icon artistic effects icon is for ARTISTIC EFFECTS and the third picture correction icon provides additional PICTURE CORRECTION tools.

Artistic Effects

Under the ARTISTIC EFFECTS, you’ll find a drop-down that shows various effects that can be applied to your background image/texture.

Here is a list of the available effects. Each row is listed from left to right:

  1. None, Marker, Pencil Grayscale, Pencil Sketch, Line Drawing
  2. Chalk Sketch, Paint Strokes, Paint Brush, Glow Diffused, Blur
  3. Light Screen, Watercolor Sponge, Film Grain, Mosaic Bubbles, Glass
  4. Cement, Texturizer Crisscross Etching, Pastels Smooth, Plastic Wrap
  5. Cutout, Photocopy, Glow Edges
artist effects panel

Suppose you make a mistake or don’t like the effect. In that case, you always have the option of clicking the reset button & going back to your original image.

Picture Corrections

Under PICTURE CORRECTION you’ll find more advanced image controls.

picture correction advanced controls

The top section provides control to SHARPEN/SOFTEN your image, with both presents and custom controls. The presets offered are 50% Soften, 25% Soften, 0% Sharpen, 25%, and 50% Sharpen. For more precise and customized control, use the slider or manually enter the amount in the box. Negative numbers soften, and positive numbers sharpen.

The next set of controls is BRIGHTNESS/ CONTRAST. Again, you will find presets and sliders for both Brightness and Contrast. The presets offered range from the darkest (-40% Brightness/-40% Contrast) to the lightest (40% Brightness/40% Contrast). The grid runs as follows:

brightness & contrast chart
Picture Color

The bottom section controls the COLOR SATURATION, COLOR TONE, and RECOLORING.

COLOR SATURATION provides presets for 0%, 33%, 66%, 100%, 200%, 300%, and 400%.

color saturation

Suppose you are looking for a saturation not listed as a preset. In that case, you can always dial in a custom amount using the slider or entering the percentage into the box.

COLOR TONE also provides presets, but they are based on color temperature. The presets are set at 4700K, 5300K, 5900K, 6500K, 7200K, 8800K, 11200K.

Are you looking for a color tone not listed as a preset? In that case, you can always dial in a custom temperature by using the slider or entering the temperature into the box.

The final option is to RECOLOR. These are available through presets only. Rows 2 and 3 recoloring presets are based on theme colors.

Row 1 presets: No Color, Grayscale, Sepia, Washout, Black & White 25%, Black & White 50%, Black & White 75%

Row 2 are darkening presets: Text Color 2 Dark, Accent Color 1 Dark, Accent Color 2 Dark, Accent Color 3 Dark, Accent Color 4 Dark, Accent Color 5 Dark, Accent Color 6 Dark

Row 3 are lightening presets: Text Color 2 Light, Accent Color 1 Light, Accent Color 2 Light, Accent Color 3 Light, Accent Color 4 Light, Accent Color 5 Light, Accent Color 6 Light

color tone

What is Color Temperature?

Color temperature is generally understood as the color of light and is measured in Kelvin (K). The higher the number, the “colder” or whiter the color of the light. The color of the light emitted roughly goes through a red — orange-red — yellow — yellow-white — white — blue and white gradual process.

color temperature chart

The color temperatures of some typical light sources:

1700 K: Match light
1850 K: Candles
2800 K: Tungsten (incandescent) light
3000 K: Halogen and yellow fluorescent light
3350 K: Studio “CP” light
3400 K: Studio lamp, photo floodlight (not flash) and so on …
4100 K: Moonlight, light yellow fluorescent lamp
5000 K: Daylight
5500 K: Average daylight, electronic flash (varies by vendor)
5770 K: Effective solar temperature
6420 K: Xenon arc lamp
6500 K: The most common white light

Visit Pixel Magazine’s article for more information: https://medium.com/the-coffeelicious/a-photographers-guide-to-color-temperature-6bbc882d1524


background formating section of slide master ribbon
color option presets

Next, we will look at setting theme colors. On the SLIDE MASTER ribbon, look for the section called BACKGROUND.

Click on the down arrow beside the word COLORS. An extensive list of color combinations will be presented to you. Here you can choose one of the pre-made color sets, or you can go to the bottom of the panel and select CUSTOMIZE COLORS…

When you click CUSTOMIZE COLORS… a new panel will open. Here you can customize each of the color options in your theme.

create new theme colors panel

When you click the down arrow beside a color, you will be presented with the same color panel that we explored earlier.

Once you have customized your desired colors, make sure you NAME your color theme and click SAVE.


Next, select the FONTS down arrow (below the COLORS that we just edited).

Here you will be presented with a list of font combinations. You can select one of the pre-populated options or go to the bottom of the panel and select CUSTOMIZE FONT…

When you click CUSTOMIZE FONT… it will open a new panel. From here, you can select your desired HEADING FONT and BODY FONT.

setting a custom font
theme font dialog box

Make sure you give your THEME FONT a name and click SAVE.


The last item in this section is to set the EFFECTS. This will determine a default set of visual effects applied to all graphic elements added to the theme.

effects preset panel

The presets available are Office, Office 2007-2010, Subtle Solids, Banded Edge, Smokey Glass, Glow Edge, Grunge Texture, Frosted Glass, Top Shadow, Inset, Milk Glass, Riblet, Reflection, Extreme Shadow, Glossy.

To ensure that all your hard work doesn’t disappear. Make sure to save your theme. You do this by clicking the THEMES button, going to the bottom of the panel that opens, and selecting the SAVE CURRENT THEME… option.

save current theme dialog box

theme panel
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I hope that this How To has been a help. If you need more assistance with creating your branded presentations or just a presentation in general, we at Neurotic Dog Studios would love to help. To find out more email us at hello@neuroticdogstudios.com or give us a call at 804-464-3925.

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