An important first step in creating a new presentation, one not based on any previous presentation, is to decide on your colors. In PowerPoint 2003, these are called the color scheme. In PowerPoint 2007, these are called the theme colors.
See the related tips below for some ideas on how to choose colors. But even when you have an idea of which colors you want, it can be hard to put together a set of colors that look good together and that you think will have the desired effect.
Enter Adobe kuler, a site devoted to color schemes.
Kuler is an Adobe-supported collection of color themes. People upload color themes they’ve created, visitors rate them, and anyone can access them.
On the left, you can view color themes by Newest, Most Popular, Highest Rated, and Random. Click the small left and right arrows at the bottom of the list of color themes to scroll to the next group. When you register, you can view the color stats, add comments, and create and upload your own color themes.
Adobe has its own color theme file format, but PowerPoint can’t use it. Instead, click the Make Changes to This Theme and View Color Values button.
This button takes you to a page where you can adjust the colors on a color wheel by dragging the circles for each color. You can also see the stats in several formats. For PowerPoint, write down the RGB stats for each color.
My tip, “Try design variations,” provides instructions on creating a color theme in PowerPoint 2003 and theme colors in PowerPoint 2007. You’ll use your RGB color stats in this process.
Richard Garber reminded me that it’s good to check your color themes to make sure that colorblind people can distinguish the colors. You can put them in several objects on a slide, select the objects, right-click, and choose Save as Picture. Then, upload the picture to Vischeck, a site that lets you see how the colors will look to someone with three kinds of colorblindness.