PowerPoint tips

How to create a custom PowerPoint template

Build your own 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 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, there are two things to be aware of:

  1. Making your own PowerPoint template is ridiculously easy (and it’s quick too if you follow the advice we’re about to dispense).
  2. Not only will it make your slides look original, but it’ll boost your branding, which is ideal if you’re presenting to external audiences.

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 PowerPoint custom template.


Make your own 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. When you next go to use your template, you’ll find it in the Custom Office Templates folder.


Share the love

If you’re proud and protective of your shiny new template, you might be tempted to keep it all to yourself to the envy of all in the office. But if you’re the sharing type, you might wish to grant your colleagues access to your bespoke PowerPoint template. After all, you work for the same company and it makes sense for consistent branding to be applied to all your presentational materials. This doesn’t mean that every slideshow has to look identical, but there are colours and typefaces at least that it would be wise to replicate 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 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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