How to create a custom PowerPoint template.

5 minute read

Build your own custom PowerPoint template to boost your branding and give your presentations a bespoke feel that off-the-shelf templates can’t match.

Before we examine how you might go about creating your own custom PowerPoint template, it’s worth considering why. Why would anyone as busy as yourself contemplate doing such a thing? On first reflection, this might seem like a nice but misguided notion, one best left to people with more time on their hands and less important stuff to do.

Before you dismiss the idea outright, as if it were an elaborate and hopelessly impractical Instagram rainbow cake tutorial, you should be aware that making your own PowerPoint template is ridiculously easy (and it’s quick too, if you follow the advice we’re about to dispense).

Why create a custom PowerPoint template?

Presentations are an incredibly important business tool. They’re a piece of collateral that need to perform at critical face-to-face moments, such as meeting with prospects and communicating with key stakeholders. In this respect, they’re as important as your company’s website or other marketing materials, and should be equally high-quality and impactful.

Just as in other company communications, you’ll want to put your best foot forward with regard to visuals and messaging. A robust branded PowerPoint template helps everyone in your organisation do exactly that: it ensures opportunities aren’t dashed by poorly-formatted, lacklustre presentations.

So, let’s dive deeper into the advantages of investing in one.

Faster, more efficient presentation creation

Branded templates are put together within PowerPoint just like regular presentations, but they’re saved out as a different file format (more on this later). The resulting product is a pre-packaged, customisable tool in which the design and branding work has already been taken care of.

Users can employ the template to build their own presentations. Instead of starting from scratch every time they need to put something together, staff can pick from a selection of premade slide layouts to build upon. They can insert their content and imagery into the appropriate placeholders and, once they’re finished, save their competed presentations out as regular ready-to-go .pptx or .ppsx files.

What this means is greatly reduced time and financial cost for your department and company at large. With a branded presentation template in place, you can quickly turn around presentations to meet tight deadlines, and staff are freed up to focus on the really important stuff.

Maintain brand consistency across your teams

Does the thought of less design-conscious staff within your organisation throwing brand guidelines to the wind keep you up at night? It’s scary to think about what kinds of poorly conceived, brand-defacing slides the regional sales teams are putting in front of valuable prospects.

Luckily, a strongly-branded PowerPoint template is the perfect solution to this ‘too many cooks’ problem; it ensures that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet brand-wise across business functions. A dense set of brand guidelines can potentially confuse and intimidate users, but templates are an easy way of making sure staff are staying on-brand.

Corporate templates make the right brand visuals and assets easily accessible to the staff who should be using them. They act as catalogues of on-brand slides made for different purposes that staff can pick and choose from to complete their presentation decks.

Staff remain free to use the content and imagery accumulated within their teams, but they can simply drop it into pre-built slides that look fantastic and keep everything consistent and neat.

The flexibility offered here is a huge boon for organisations that are constantly producing and delivering presentations. Templates can be edited, copied and customised to suit an incredible number of use cases.

Okay, now we’ve sold you on the idea, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Without further ado, here’s how you go about creating a custom PowerPoint template.

How to create your own custom PowerPoint template

There are two things you need to customise to create your own template: the slide master and the slide layout. Using the desktop version of PowerPoint, open a blank presentation and then under View select Master Views > Slide Master.

Slide master is essentially One Slide to Rule Them All. The customisations you make to it filter through to all your remaining slides in the deck. This is where you get to make your impression on PowerPoint, showing off your flair, creativity and all-round good taste.

Get colourful, add fonts and effects and generally make it your own. Don’t go too overboard though – save some personality for yourself; you know, the person who’s actually gonna do the talking. For some simple PowerPoint design tips, see our previous blog on the matter.

If the prospect of starting with a completely blank page seems daunting, select one of the PowerPoint themes from the gallery and then edit at will. You can add a background colour and insert placeholder text, charts, videos and other objects. You’ll find all of these options under the top menu tabs when you’re on the slide master. Position and size your text to suit and create a custom slide size if you’d like.

Once you’ve designed your slide master and slide layouts, you might want to create a final slide to sign off with. The simplest way to do this is by returning to your slide master window and selecting New Layout. Delete all unnecessary text boxes, style it to your liking and then select Rename before calling it something like “End Slide Master”. Select Close Master and it will be added to your master slide collection.

When you’re happy with the how your template’s looking, save it for future use. Select File > Save As > Browse. Name your template and then under Save as type select PowerPoint Template (.potx). When you next go to use your template, you’ll find it in the Custom Office Templates folder.

Share the love

Now you have your shiny new template it’s time to share it with the rest of the office. This doesn’t mean that every slideshow will look identical, but there are colours and typefaces at least that can be replicated which are in keeping with your business logo and brand identity.

Because not everyone in the office will be a PowerPoint whizz, you might even decide to include instructions with your template by overwriting the default placeholder text with prompts such as “Insert your own text here” or “Write something witty here”. You can do this by accessing View > Slide Master. Then select Insert Placeholder > Text.

One final tip for creating a great custom PowerPoint template

So that’s the science behind creating a bespoke template. Now for a parting word of advice: do deviate from your template where appropriate. If you’re presenting regularly then even the slickest of custom templates will start to tire. Don’t be afraid to switch things up and to adjust colours and themes as you see fit.

If you’re a regular PowerPoint user, the time you put into assembling a custom template will pay off 100 times over. Not only will you earn this time back but you’ll seriously up the calibre of your presentations. You’ll also reduce the likelihood of introducing the sort of rushed errors that only become apparent when you flick onto a new slide and realise that you forgot to configure the font size or discover that the yellow background that worked on your laptop doesn’t fare so well on the projector.

After creating your own template, using someone else’s feels like stepping into a pair of bowling shoes. Once you go bespoke, you truly become woke.


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