Whether it’s for classroom based training or for e-learning, PowerPoint is an excellent means of communicating topics. With a few steps, anyone can portray their message in a professional manner. Microsoft offers thousands of templates that can be chosen to get started quickly. I prefer to modify and save a PowerPoint template of my own so I can have a consistent look and feel to all my training lessons. I enjoy adding my personal touch to make the PowerPoint my own. This article gives step by step instructions for applying and personalizing an existing template. Have a look through this article that gives a few tips for keeping PowerPoint professional. Note: I’m using PowerPoint 2018, however, the steps are very similar across all versions.

PowerPoint – Applying a Template

Begin by opening a new PowerPoint. Under the view tab, select Slide Master. The slide master is where you set the formatting you want to apply to all of the slides that make up your presentation.

1 View - Slide Master

The Slide Master tab should now be visible. Select Themes.

2 Themes

Following the guidelines presented in our PowerPoint basics article, choose a theme that isn’t too busy and looks professional. Simple is better. The PowerPoint is to enhance the training, not distract from it. For this demonstration, I’ve selected the retrospect theme.

2.1 Select Theme

Select a text box to set the font and text size you prefer. Basic fonts like Calibri and Ariel are best because they are easy to read. Keep the text size 18 point or higher. The font should be consistent throughout the presentation. Some themes place the title banner to the side of the slide. I prefer titles at the top. Moving and sizing the title banner in the slide master view will make it appear in the place you want each time a new slide is added.

2.2 Select Font

Keeping the background a light color makes the text and images easy to see. I like to add a gradient to give the PowerPoint some depth. Select background styles – format background.

2.3 Background Styles

Select gradient fill and choose the lightest color available. Feel free to play around with the type and color selections to make it your own. You can also go up to the colors selection in the slide master tab and change the color scheme of the theme altogether.

2.4 Gradient Fill

Adding a logo, if applicable, will add a professional touch. Keep your logo small and out of the way. Select insert – picture to select your image. Resize the image and place it where you prefer. The text boxes in the footer can be repositioned as needed.

2.5 Logo

Saving a Custom PowerPoint Template

Take some time to experiment with the settings available in the slide master tab. You can always select undo if you don’t like something. Your personalized template can now be saved so it’s easy to use on multiple projects. Select file – save as. Select PowerPoint template potx as the file type. The default location should be documents – custom office templates. Your new theme can then be accessed from the slide master tab under themes – browse for themes.

2.6 Save Template

Creating and using themes is a great way to personalize your PowerPoint presentations. Remember to keep it simple and professional. Don’t let the PowerPoint distract from the instructor.

What personal touches do you like to add to PowerPoint? What have some of your successes been? Have you had any hard-learned lessons? Share your thoughts with us below.


Posted by Josh

I've been a Technical Training Instructor for over a decade, teaching a wide variety of classes across the globe. I have a passion for creating and delivering high-quality training content in a way meant to fully engage the learner. "Planet Speaking" is our version of a Train the Trainer model based on our experiences as trainers and instructional designers.

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