I rarely use shapes with outlines. So every time I insert a shape, I click the Format tab, choose Shape Outline, then No Outline.
Wait, why am I doing that? I can customize my themes!
I often use the default theme to create graphics. Here are the steps to customize it to always get a theme with shapes that have no outlines. Of course, you can make any changes you want.
Remember that themes don’t have any objects in them, unlike templates, which can have sample slides, logos, images, etc.
Know which theme you’re using
First, I want to show you a little trick that will tell you which theme you’re using. This will help you know which theme is your default. PowerPoint used to show you the current theme on the status bar at the lower-left of the PowerPoint window, but for some reason stopped doing that.
But you can get it back!
Right-click the status bar in PowerPoint to see the Customize Status Bar list. Click Theme to always see which theme you’re using. (You’ll see the current theme listed on the right.)
Now, look at your status bar. It shows your current theme!
This is probably the theme that you want to change.
Why not change the Slide Master?
Remember that many defaults are set in the Slide Master, such as the font, text alignment, etc. So if that’s what you want to change, you would use a slightly different procedure. In that case, see my post, “Customize the Default Theme to Instantly Get the Look You Want.”
And you shouldn’t use this method to change the default shape color, because you should set your colors on the Slide Master. “Try Design Variations” explains how to set your theme colors.
In fact, the reason you can’t use the Slide Master to get rid of the shape outline is that while you can customize your fonts and colors, you don’t have the same flexibility with shape effects. You can choose from a set group of effects, but it’s hard to know from the thumbnail images exactly what you’re getting and you can’t customize them. And as far as I can tell, none of the options offers shapes with no outline
1. Define and set the default shape
Now, define your shape and make it the default. Follow these steps:
- Insert a shape.
- Make the changes you want. I clicked Shape Outline and chose No Outline.
- Right-click the shape and choose Set as Default Shape.
Setting a default shape works only for your current presentation. And if you want default shapes only for one presentation, this is the method to use.
2. Set the theme as your default theme
If you want your formatting to be permanent, you have to take one more step, that is, to set the theme as your default. You can do this for your customized theme as well.
Follow these steps:
- Click the Design tab.
- Click the More down arrow at the right end of the Themes gallery/group to expand the display of the available themes.
- Find your current theme. (Because you have displayed it on your status bar, you know what it is.)
- Right-click it and choose Set as Default Theme.
The shape itself won’t be saved with the theme. Remember, themes don’t contain objects/text/ images, etc.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You must be using a custom theme for this to work.
To test that this worked, do the following:
- Close and re-open PowerPoint.
- Choose the Default Theme if you see the Startup screen.
- Insert a shape. It should be formatted the way you want it.
To make a similar change for other themes that you don’t want to be your default theme, just do the following:
- On the Design tab, choose the theme. Note its name.
- Insert a shape and format it.
- Right-click it and set it as the default shape as described above.
- Click the More arrow and choose Save Current Theme.
- Choose the current theme from the list and click Save.
- When prompted to replace it, click Yes.
Are you spending time doing the same formatting of shapes over and over? Leave a comment and please share this post with others using the Social Media buttons.
If you like tips like this, you’ll love my e-book, 101 Tips Every PowerPoint User Should Know! Check it out here.