PowerPoint’s default blank theme is annoying! It really needs work. And with more and more people using white backgrounds, you’re probably using the blank template more often. Here’s what to do to make a better theme.
Here are the steps:
- Open a new presentation file, which uses the default blank theme.
- Press Shift and click the Normal view icon to enter the slide master. Click the larger layout at the top and format that.
- Titles are usually centered by default; and because they are different lengths, their left side is different for each slide. It’s better to left-justify the titles and they’ll stay in the same place and give the magical appearance of changing without moving. Click in the title placeholder, and click the Align Left button in the Home tab’s Paragraph group.
- Some titles are 1 line and others are 2 lines. You’ll see the titles jump down when you display a 2-line title after a slide with a 1-line title. Instead, give them a vertical justification of top and that top-left corner will stay steady. Right-click the placeholder and choose Format Shape. In PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, choose the Textbox category. In 2013, click Text Options, then the Textbox icon.
- Set the Vertical Alignment to Top. Click OK if you’re in a dialog box.
- By default, titles are in Title case, which means that the first letter of most words is capitalized. The initial cap slows down reading; I suggest using Sentence case, in which only the first word of the title is capitalized. This isn’t a setting; just avoid capitalizing all the words in the title.
- When setting the font size for titles, if some of your titles will be long, make the text size smaller. The title text doesn’t need to be much bigger than the slide text. The default is 44, which severely limits the amount of text you can fit. I suggest using 40— or even 36 if your titles are very long. Select the text and use the mini toolbar in PowerPoint to change the font size.
- Another thing you can do if your titles are long is to make the text placeholders wider. You can drag one “notch” to the left and to the right.
- Since you should have some idea of the color of your background, make sure that your title and body text is legible against it. Very legible. Use black or dark blue text against light backgrounds and yellow or white text against dark backgrounds.
- You can also get rid of footers if you won’t use them. Footer can be distracting extraneous items on a slide. I sometimes use slide numbers to help me stay on track during training webinars so I left that footer.
Here you see the reformatted slide master.
When this is done, save the result as a theme so that you won’t have to make these changes again. Here’s how:
- Return to Normal view.
- Click the Design tab.
- Click the More button to the right of the Themes group and choose Save Current Theme.
- Leave the default location, type a name, and click Save.
To use the theme, choose it from the Design tab’s theme gallery, in the Custom section.
How do you change your theme? Leave a comment!