Slide Basics

Understand the basics of working with PowerPoint slides and PowerPoint slide templates, including changing views and slides.

Customizing slides

To change the slide size:

By default, all slides in PowerPoint 2013 use a 16 by 9—or widescreen—aspect ratio. You might know that widescreen TVs also use the 16-by-9 aspect ratio. Widescreen slides will work best with widescreen monitors and projectors. However, if you need your presentation to fit a standard 4-by-3 screen, it's easy to change the slide size to fit.

To format the slide background:

By default, all slides in your presentation use a white background. It's easy to change the background style for some or all of your slides. Backgrounds can have a solid, gradient, pattern, or picture fill.

  1. Select the Design tab, then click the Format Background command.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Format Background command
  2. The Format Background pane will appear on the right. Select the desired fill options. In our example, we'll use a Solid fill with a light gold color.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Choosing the background fill options
  3. The background style of the selected slide will update.
  4. If you want, you can click Apply to All to apply the same background style to all slides in your presentation.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking Apply to All

To apply a theme:

A theme is a predefined combination of colors, fonts, and effects that can quickly change the look and feel of your entire slide show. Different themes also use different slide layouts, which can change the arrangement of your existing placeholders. We'll talk more about themes later in our Applying Themes lesson.

  1. Select the Design tab on the Ribbon, then click the More drop-down arrow to see all of the available themes.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the More drop-down arrow
  2. Select the desired theme.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting a theme
  3. The theme will be applied to your entire presentation.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The applied theme

Try applying a few different themes to your presentation. Some themes will work better than others, depending on your content.