PowerPoint Themes

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A PowerPoint theme is a set of instructions that determines the following for your presentation:

  • The fonts
  • The colors
  • The effects
  • and the background style (you can see the 4 variants here)

PowerPoint themes are usually included as part of your PowerPoint template, and by default, all new PowerPoint presentations start with the Office Theme.

Note: If you are looking for a new PowerPoint template that includes a professional PowerPoint theme, you can see the 4 places I recommend looking for templates online in my guide here.

Here are the PowerPoint theme fonts that come with PowerPoint 2016:

From the Design tab, open up the More options in the Variants group to see the different Font styles you can use for your PowerPoint theme

Here are the PowerPoint theme colors that come with PowerPoint 2016:

From the Design tab, open up the More options for the variants group to see the different color options you have for your PowerPoint theme

Here are the PowerPoint theme effects that come with PowerPoint 2016:

To see the different Effects options available to you for your theme, from the Design tab open the More options and select Effets

Here are the PowerPoint theme background styles that come with PowerPoint 2016:

From the design tab, you can change your PowerPoitn background styles using the Backgrounds Styles gallery

Note: Keep in mind that PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 have a slightly different theme color palette than PowerPoint 2013 and later.

To see what your PowerPoint theme is, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to the Design tab
  2. In the Themes area, click on the downward facing arrow
  3. Hover on the theme under This Presentation

Notice that your PowerPoint theme is displayed for you in the Normal View and also in the Slide Master View:

Example of the Normal View in PowerPoint versus the Slide Master view in PowerPoint

These two places function exactly the same way – there is no difference whatsoever – and in both of these areas, you can edit your PowerPoint theme.

To learn how to create a custom PowerPoint theme, see details here.


What is the difference between PowerPoint themes and templates?

A PowerPoint theme is different from a template or a slide master.

A theme does not include any content, and it works across PowerPoint, Word and Excel.

To learn more about the differences between a PowerPoint theme and template, see our article here.


What makes for good PowerPoint themes

There’s no hard and fast rule for what makes good PowerPoint themes, but there are a few guidelines to follow:

  1. A color palette that is pleasing and not distracting.
  2. PowerPoint fonts that are easy to read and that match the presentation’s topic and tone (see our guide on the safest fonts here).
  3. Slide background that don’t distract from the message or make reading text difficult (see our backgrounds guide here).

Those are the essential things to keep in mind.

Beyond those key guidelines, if you can choose colors and fonts that match the tone and message of the presentation, that will not only make your presentation seem more modern, but it will help convey the message.there are a few additional things that will make an PowerPoint theme more professional.

The purpose of a PowerPoint theme is to keep the key elements of a presentation consistent, and to make your life easier while creating new slides.

So make sure that you pick your theme wisely, as it will determine the entire look and feel of your presentation, as well as the ease with which you work on it.


Cool PowerPoint themes

Here are some examples of what we think are cool PowerPoint themes.

The Basset PowerPoint template from Slides Carnival (to see a full review of this template, read my review here):

The Cymbeline PowerPoint template from Slides Carnival (to see a full review of this template, read my review here):

The Olivia PowerPoint template from Slides Carnival (to see a full review of this template, read my review here):

What makes these PowerPoint themes cool is that they are all modern and minimalist.

Notice that the colors aren’t overwhelming and the fonts are interesting, without being hard to read.


Can you download a PowerPoint theme?

There are actually no place to download free PowerPoint themes - or paid ones for that matter!

Instead, the theme is often included in whatever PowerPoint template that you are using. That means that if you buy a PowerPoint template, you will automatically get a new theme as well.

Once you have it, you can choose to either just use it for the template that it came along with, or apply it to your other presentations.

To see our recommended places to find good quality PowerPoint templates (and hence themes), see our resource page here.

What's next?

Updated on December 13, 2019

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