Modifying Themes

Modify PowerPoint theme elements to mix and match colors and fonts. Learn all about using the PowerPoint modify theme feature here.

Introduction

Video: Modifying Themes

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Let's say you really like the style of a theme, but you'd like to experiment with different color schemes. That's not a problem: You can mix and match colors, fonts, and effects to create a unique look for your presentation. If it still doesn't look exactly right, you can customize the theme any way you want.

If you're new to PowerPoint, you may want to review our lesson on Applying Themes to learn the basics of using themes.

Optional: Download our practice presentation.

To select new theme colors:

If you don't like the colors of a particular theme, it's easy to apply new theme colors; everything else about the theme will remain unchanged.

  1. From the Design tab, click the drop-down arrow in the Variants group.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the drop-down arrow
  2. Select Colors, then hover the mouse over the different theme colors to see a live preview.
  3. Select the desired theme colors.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Choosing new theme colors
  4. The presentation will update to show the new theme colors.

To customize theme colors:

Sometimes you might not like every color included in a set of theme colors. It's easy to change some or all of the colors to suit your needs.

  1. From the Design tab, click the drop-down arrow in the Variants group.
  2. Select Colors, then click Customize Colors.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking Customize Colors
  3. A dialog box will appear with the 12 current theme colors. To edit a color, click the drop-down arrow and select a different color. You may need to click More Colors to find the exact color you want.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting a custom color
  4. In the Name: field, type the desired name for the theme colors, then click Save.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Naming a set of custom colors
  5. The presentation will update to show the new custom theme colors.
With some presentations, you may not notice a significant difference when changing the theme colors. For example, a textured background will not change when theme colors are changed. When trying different theme colors, it's best to select a slide that uses several colors to see how the new theme colors will affect your presentation.

To select new theme fonts:

It's easy to apply a new set of theme fonts without changing a theme's overall look. The built-in theme fonts are designed to work well together, which can help to unify your presentation.

  1. From the Design tab, click the drop-down arrow in the Variants group.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the drop-down arrow
  2. Select Fonts, then hover the mouse over the different theme fonts to see a live preview.
  3. Select the desired theme fonts.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting new theme fonts
  4. The presentation will update to show the new theme fonts.

To customize theme fonts:

If you have specific fonts in mind for a presentation, it's easy to choose your own theme fonts.

  1. From the Design tab, click the drop-down arrow in the Variants group.
  2. Select Fonts, then click Customize Fonts.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking Customize Fonts
  3. A dialog box will appear with the two current theme fonts. To change the fonts, click the drop-down arrows and select the desired fonts.
  4. In the Name: field, type the desired name for the theme fonts, then click Save.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Customizing theme fonts
  5. The presentation will update to show the new custom theme fonts.

Changing the theme fonts will not necessarily update all text in your presentation. Only text using the current theme fonts will update when you change the theme fonts.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Current Theme Fonts

To select new theme effects:

PowerPoint makes it easy to apply new theme effects, which can quickly change the appearance of shapes in your presentation.

  1. From the Design tab, click the drop-down arrow in the Variants group.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the drop-down arrow
  2. Select Effects, then hover the mouse over the different theme effects to see a live preview.
  3. Select the desired theme effects.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting new theme effects
  4. The presentation will update to show the new theme effects.

Applying new theme effects will change the different shape styles available from the Format tab when editing a shape or SmartArt graphic.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Different shape styles

Background styles

To further customize your slides, you can change the background color by choosing a different background style. The available background styles will vary depending on the current theme.

To apply a background style:

  1. From the Design tab, click the drop-down arrow in the Variants group.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the drop-down arrow
  2. Select Background Styles.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking Background Styles
  3. Select the desired style. The available styles will change depending on the current theme colors.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Choosing a background style
  4. The new background will appear in each slide of your presentation. As you can see in the example below, changing the background style will not affect background textures.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The old and new background styles

If you want even more control over the background, click the Format Background command on the Design tab.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Format Background command

Different themes also include different slide layouts and background graphics. We'll talk about how to customize these in the Slide Master View lesson.

Saving custom themes

Once you've found settings you like, you may want to save the theme so you can use it in other presentations. If you only want to use the theme in the current presentation, you won't need to save it.

To save a theme:

  1. From the Design tab, click the drop-down arrow in the Themes group.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the drop-down arrow
  2. Click Save Current Theme.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking Save Current Theme
  3. A dialog box will appear. Type a file name, then click Save.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Saving a theme
  4. When you click the drop-down arrow in the Themes group, you'll see the custom theme under Custom.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The added custom theme

Custom themes have another unique and powerful feature: Any custom theme you save in PowerPoint can actually be used in other Microsoft Office applications, such as Word and Excel.

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing PowerPoint presentation. If you want, you can use our practice presentation.
  2. Apply the Paper theme colors.
  3. Select another set of theme colors.
  4. Try selecting different theme fonts to find ones that look good with the presentation.
  5. Change the background style.