Using Design Themes in PowerPoint

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PowerPoint themes are predefined sets of colors, fonts, and other visual effects. Quickly apply a theme to your presentation to give it a professional and consistent appearance. You can see the effect of a theme on your slideshow before you apply it, as well. Learn how to find, apply and modify design themes in PowerPoint.

These instructions apply to PowerPoint for Microsoft 365, PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2016, PowerPoint 2013, and PowerPoint 2010.

Apply a Design Theme

When you want to change the look of your presentation, apply a design theme.

To apply a design theme:

  1. Select Design.

  2. Hover over a theme. A preview of the design appears on the slide.

    A screenshot previewing themes in PowerPoint.
  3. Select the design theme you want to apply to your presentation.

Change the Color Scheme of a Design Theme

Once you have selected a design theme for your PowerPoint presentation, you are not limited to the color of the theme as it is currently applied.

To change the theme colors:

  1. Select Design.

  2. Select More (the down arrow) in the Variants group and point to Colors to display a list of color variations. In PowerPoint 2010, select Colors in the Themes group.

    A screenshot customizing PowerPoint theme colors.
  3. Hover over a color scheme. A preview of the color scheme appears on the slide.

    A screenshot previewing PowerPoint theme colors.
  4. Select Customize Colors to create your own color scheme.

    A screenshot creating a custom PowerPoint theme.
  5. Select a color scheme to apply it to all slides in the presentation.

Font Families Are Part of the Design Themes

Each design theme is assigned a font family. After you select a design theme for your PowerPoint presentation, change the font family to one of the many groupings in PowerPoint. When you change theme fonts, the text in titles and bullet points update throughout the presentation.

To change the fonts used in a presentation:

  1. Select Design.

  2. Select More in the Variants group.

    A screenshot showing the Variants drop-down in PowerPoint.
  3. Point to Fonts.

    A screenshot choosing new theme fonts in PowerPoint.
  4. Select Customize Fonts to select the custom heading and body fonts you want to use. The Create New Theme Fonts dialog box opens.

    A screenshot creating custom theme fonts in PowerPoint.
  5. Select the Heading font and Body font that you want to apply to the theme.

  6. Enter a name for the theme and select Save.

PowerPoint Theme Effects

When you want to add effects to objects in your presentation, choose one of the built-in effects. Apply shadows, fills, lines and more to throughout your presentation.

To apply an effect:

  1. Select Design.

  2. Select More in the Variants group.

    A screenshot showing the Variants drop-down in PowerPoint.
  3. Point to Effects.

    A screenshot showing the PowerPoint effects options.
  4. Hover over an effect to see a preview of it on the current slide.

  5. Select the effect you want to use to apply it to the entire presentation.

Hide Background Graphics on the Design Theme

Sometimes you want to show your slides with no background graphics. This is often the case for printing purposes. The background graphics will remain with the design theme but can be hidden from view.

To hide background images:

  1. Select Design.

  2. Select Format Background to open the Format Background pane.

    A screenshot showing the Format Background pane in PowerPoint.
  3. Place a check next to Hide Background Graphics.

The background graphics disappear from your slides​ but can be turned back on at any later time by removing the check mark in the box.

Check out our article on how to apply multiple design themes to a single PowerPoint project to add some variety to your presentation.

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