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How to Create a PowerPoint Template (2022)


A great option to have in your presentation tool kit is a custom PowerPoint template. It saves you time when you need to put together a slide deck in a hurry. Learn how to align objects when copying, duplicating, and grouping. Learn about tools like the ruler, gridlines, and guides. When aligning text discover easy ways to set tabs and indents.

Opening Slide Master View

In PowerPoint, open a blank presentation. Click the View tab. Then click the Slide Master button.

A slide master is the foundation or framework of a slide deck. The slide master is used to determine visual elements like font family and size, background color or graphics, bullet list style, and placement of text elements like footer, slide number, title placeholder, and content placeholders.

In slide master view, the top slide is the slide master. Under the slide master are the layout masters. These determine placement of different content placeholders such as Title Only, Section, etc.

Making Changes Across All Slide Layouts

To make changes across all the slides, you make changes to the slide master. In this example, I will change the font family and sizes, change the background color and add a background graphic. Make sure the slide master is selected.

To change the font family, select all of text placeholders. Click the Home tab and choose the font you want. Select individual text placeholders to make further changes like making the title bold.

In the bulleted list, select individual lines to adjust the font sizes. If you click on the layout masters you will see that the changes have been applied all of them.

Creating a Custom Color Scheme

Next, you want to set your color scheme. PowerPoint color schemes have three categories: Light and Dark text/backgrounds, 6 Accent colors which are used for shapes, lines, tables, etc., and 2 hyperlink colors, although these typically aren’t on the color palette option.

If you have brand colors you need to use, make sure you have either the RGB or HEX codes for each color. When I don’t need to use brand colors, I like using the site Coolors to pick a color scheme.

I click the Trending Palettes button. While some palettes have 6 or more colors, most include 5 colors. A trick I use, is to add a medium gray as the 6th accent color. I export the color palette I like as an image.

Then I add the palette image to the master slide. You will notice it appears on all of the layout masters. Don’t worry, once you delete this image it will be removed automatically. Click the Colors menu. Choose Customize Colors…

The popup window shows the different colors. To change a color, click the square. For the text/background colors, I often only change the second light background to make it very light gray like the HEX code: F2F2F2.

Click the next square color for the first accent color. Click the Eyedropper and click the color on the color palette image. As a side note: Accent 1 is the default color of shapes.

Click the next square color and repeat until all the accent colors have been changed. Give the color scheme a name. Then click the Save button. Delete the color palette image.

When you look at the new color scheme from the color option menu. PowerPoint automatically creates the different color saturations in the Color Fill menus

Modifying the Background

To change the background, right click on the slide master and choose Format Background from the popup menu. Here you can change the color, add a picture, or texture.

I recommend you keep the design simple. This gives you more flexibility when adding slide content. Also, a “noisy” background can detract from the content of individual slides. I personally prefer a solid background color that is very light. For this example, I will choose the light gray from the color palette.

I like adding some type of shape for a visual interest. I keep it simple like a rectangle with a gradient at the top. To do this, click the Home tab. Click the Shapes button. Choose the Rectangle. Draw the Rectangle.

The color will be Accent 1. To change the solid color to a Gradient fill from the Format Shape panel. For this example, I will use the Fill from Top.

To match the background color, click the white gradient stop. Click the Fill button and choose the background color. Drag and drop the gradient stops to adjust the degree of gradient. To remove a gradient stop, click it and then click the minus sign to delete it. Choose Delete from the popup warning box, if displayed.

If your content placeholders overlap with the image. select all of them and drag them to create space between the objects. You can adjust the height and width of the content placeholders. For instance, I often make the title placeholder 1 inch high. Then adjust the body content placeholder to make it larger.

At this point I check the individual layout masters to see if any adjustments need to be made. You will notice that you can’t select the rectangle on the master layouts. This is why you want to make changes on the Slide Master to ensure consistency in design across all of the layouts.

Creating a Quotes Master Layout

Next, I add any unique layout masters. I like having a layout master suited for quotes and one for single concepts. I add a layout master instead of modifying an existing layout because I may want or need to use a default layout at a later time.

To add a layout master, you can duplicate an existing layout and make needed adjustments. Or you can use the Insert Layout button. For the Quote master layout, I duplicate the Section Header layout.

Delete the subtitle placeholder. I select the main text placeholder right click and choose Format Shape. Or choose the Format Pane in the Shape Format tab. From there, I choose the Text Options. Then click the Textbox tab.

In that section, I change the Text box vertical alignment to Top. I select Resize shape to fit text. Then I move the placeholder to be about 2 inches from the top edge of the slide. Then click the Home tab, change font size to 52 and remove bold, add italics and change the font color to dark gray.

Then click the Insert tab. Click Insert Icon. Search for Quotes. Insert the solid quotes. Move to the upper left corner. Change the size to 2.5. Change the Fill to medium gray. Change transparency to 80%. Duplicate the icon. Move to the lower right corner. From the Graphic Format tab, flip vertically and horizontally.

Next rename the new master layout. It helps you identify it in the New Slide button options. Use a name that reflects purpose of the layout. For this example, I will use the name Quotes.

To change the name, right click over the layout thumbnail in the Thumbnail Pane. Select Rename. Type in the new name. Click the Rename button. I like to drag and drop the thumbnail to the beginning of the layouts. That way it will show up first when I select the Insert new Slide or Slide Layout button menus.

Creating a Single Concept Master Layout

Next is the master layout for the single concept. I usually duplicate the Title Only master layout. Like with the Quotes master layout, I change the Text box vertical alignment to Top. And I select Resize shape to fit text.

I then move the text placeholder into the middle of the slide deck. This helps create a visual distinction from the Title Only master layout. I keep the font size and color but remove the bold setting. And then move it to the beginning of the master layouts.

Saving as a Template File

Once you’re done making modifications, click the Close Slide Master button to the far right.

The last step is to save the file as a template. This allows you to create multiple slide decks without modifying the original. When you start PowerPoint or choose New from Template, the template will be listed in the Personal section.

About the Author

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Jennifer Sharkey is known as the Virtual Presentation Specialist. Being passionate about seeing people shine and be heard, she leans into her 20+ years of public speaking experience and uses what she has learned from presenting, both in-person and virtually, to small groups all the way up to 5000 people. Jennifer draws from her experience as an associate professor, academic librarian, and coach to help holistic coaches master virtual presentations to grow their business. Her unique immersive program provides practical strategies and methods to build confidence, engage audiences, and generate authenticity and authority.

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