Create a Default Presentation Template in PowerPoint 2003

Start each new PowerPoint presentation with your own custom template

Pensive businessman working late at laptop in office
Caiaimage/Sam Edwards / Getty Images

Each time you open PowerPoint, you are faced with the same plain, white, boring page to start your presentation. This is the default design template.

If you are in a business, chances are that you might have to create presentations using a standard background—perhaps with company colors, fonts and even a company logo on each slide. Sure there are lots of design templates in the program for you to use and edit, but what if you must always be consistent and use the same starter presentation?

The simplest answer is to create a new default design template of your own. This would replace the plain, white basic template that comes with PowerPoint, and each time you opened the program your customized formatting would be front and center.

How to Create a Default Presentation

Before you start making any changes, you should probably make a copy of the original, plain, white default template.

Save the Original Default Template

  1. Open PowerPoint.
  2. Choose File > Save As... from the menu.
  3. In the Save As dialog box, click the drop-down arrow beside Save as type:
  4. Choose Design Template (*.pot)
  • The saving location will immediately change to the folder where PowerPoint stores its templates. Do not change this location or PowerPoint will not know where to look for the file if you choose to use it again.
  • Name the file old blank presentation (or something similar). The original default design template is called blank presentation, hence my very original new name for the file. PowerPoint will add the file extension .POT to the file so it will know that this is a template file and not a presentation (.PPT) file.
  • Close the file.

Create Your New Default Presentation

Note: Make these changes on the slide master and the title master so that each new slide in your presentation will take on the new characteristics. Refer to this tutorial on Custom Design Templates and Master Slides.

  1. Open a new, blank PowerPoint presentation, or if you have a presentation already created that has most of the options already formatted to your liking, open that presentation.
  2. Before making any changes it is a good idea to save this new work in progress. Choose File > Save As... from the menu.
  3. Change the file type to Design Template (*.pot).
  4. In the Filename: text box, type blank presentation.
  5. Make any changes you want to this new blank presentation template, such as -
  6. Save the file when you are happy with the results.

The next time you open PowerPoint, you will see your formatting as the new, blank design template and you are ready to start adding your content.

Return to the Original Default Template

At some future time, you may wish to return to using the plain, white default template as a starter in PowerPoint 2003. Therefore, you will need to locate the original default template that you saved earlier.

When you installed PowerPoint 2003, if you made no changes to file locations during the install, the necessary files will be located at: C:\Documents and Settings\yourusername\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates. (Replace "yourusername" in the this file path with your own username.) The "Application Data" folder is a hidden folder, so you will have to be sure that hidden files are visible.

  1. Delete the file you created above called blank presentation.pot
  2. Rename the file old blank presentation.pot to blank presentation.pot.