Modifying Themes

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

Introduction

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.

Watch the video to learn more about modifying themes in PowerPoint.

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 and select Colors.
  2. Select the desired theme colors.
  3. The presentation will update to show the new theme colors.

To customize 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.
  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.
  4. In the Name: field, type the desired name for the theme colors, then click Save.
  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 and select Fonts.
  2. Select the desired theme fonts.
  3. 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.
  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.
  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.

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 and select Effects.
  2. Select the desired theme effects.
  3. The presentation will update to show the new theme effects.

Applying new theme effects will change different shape styles from the Format tab when editing a shape or SmartArt graphic. It's important to note that this change will only apply to shapes using the Subtle Effect, Moderate Effect, and Intense Effect.

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.
  2. Select Background Styles.
  3. Select the desired style. The available styles will change depending on the current theme colors.
  4. The new background will appear in each slide of your presentation.

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

Different themes also include different slide layouts and background graphics. We'll talk about how to customize these in our 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.
  2. Click Save Current Theme.
  3. A dialog box will appear. Type a file name, then click Save.
  4. When you click the drop-down arrow in the Themes group, you'll see the custom theme under Custom.

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 our practice presentation.
  2. Change the theme colors.
  3. Use the Customize Fonts command to change the theme's heading font to Garamond and the body font to Arial.
  4. Change the theme's background style.
  5. Optional: Save your customized theme.
  6. When you're finished, your first slide should look something like this (your colors and background style may vary):
    Modifying Themes Challenge