Category: PowerPoint


PowerPoint Templates – How to Apply and Customize Themes

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.

ClassroomCredibilityPowerPointTraining Content

PowerPoint – Three Areas To Keep You Looking Professional

PowerPoint for the Classroom

You know the phrase, “Death by PowerPoint”. Today we’re talking about what can be done to make our presentations more effective so we don’t subject our audience to this slow form of torture.

One of the many tools available to the training Instructor is presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint. When used effectively, PowerPoint can help reinforce the message, build instructor credibility, and increase the students’ retention of the topics. As with all forms of media used in the classroom, PowerPoint is there to guide the instructor, not distract from them. A well-made PowerPoint will give a professional feel to the overall classroom environment. I see people spend a lot of valuable time trying to make flashy PowerPoints with lots of animations and sound effects. What ends up happening is the students become focused on the screen and not on the instructor. If the students are distracted by the PowerPoint because they’re waiting to see what exciting thing will dance around the screen next, they’re not paying attention to the instructor. In this article we will identify some key aspects of creating a PowerPoint that will enhance the message and not distract from it.

PowerPoint – Making a Professional Standard

PowerPoint design can be part of your personal brand so take some time and make them your own. I like all my PowerPoints to look and feel the same. If there is a sudden change in the look of the PowerPoint, the students will notice and their attention can be lost.

PowerPoint Template

Microsoft offers thousands of free templates to choose from. I personally like to make my own and that process is covered here. Simple is better when choosing a template. Keep the background light so writing can be easily viewed. Feel free to add your brand or logo but keep is small and out of the way. Use the template to set up a standardized outline format and default text animations.

PowerPoint – Using Bullets

Bullet points should be viewed as a guide to remind the instructor what to talk about. There are many things the instructor needs to manage in the classroom and good bullet points are an easy way to keep lessons on track. Bullet points only need to be a short, succinct summary of what the students will see in their training material or student workbook. If the bullet points are too long, both the instructor and the students have the tendency to read them word for word. The information needs to come from the instructor, the bullet points serve only as a guide. Can you imagine four hours or longer, sitting in a classroom while someone reads long winded bullet points word for word? Bullet points should have a simple, consistent animation. “Appear” and “Wipe” are appropriate. A good instructor will advance to the next bullet, glance at it to make sure they’re on track, and then fill in the details verbally from there. The teaching comes from the instructor, not from the PowerPoint. When the topic has been discussed fully, the next bullet is brought up and the lesson continues. The image below shows how this paragraph can be summarized by bullet points. Notice the “>” symbol after the final bullet. This symbol indicates that we are on the last bullet of the slide.

PowerPoint Bullet Points

PowerPoint Images

Images that are relevant to the topic can help make the PowerPoint more interesting and reinforce the topic. Remember our rule of keeping media from being a distraction. Silly images and cartoons can be perceived as unprofessional and should rarely be used. Be prepared to get student questions regarding ANYTHING you put on the screen. If you don’t want to talk about something, don’t put it on display. Crop images and highlight areas to keep student focus where you want it.


Keeping your PowerPoints clean, consistent and concise will help project a professional image of yourself. We want the students focused on us and not staring at the screen. These basic guidelines will serve as our PowerPoint foundation. Don’t spend hours trying to make fancy PowerPoints, spend your time polishing your delivery.

What are the ways you customize your presentations to enhance the learning environment? Have you made mistakes in the past that made it difficult in the classroom? What lessons have you learned? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.