You can use your favorite social network to register or link an existing account:
Or use your email address to register without a social network:
Sign in with these social networks:
Or enter your username and password
Forgot your password?
Yes, please link my existing account with for quick, secure access.
No, I would like to create a new account with my profile information.
Today's post is the first of two parts covering a fairly large and important topic for PowerPoint: applying and customizing themes. We'll be focusing on the variety you can generate using the controls on PowerPoint 2007's Design Tab.
A good place to start is explaining why we have made our themes so customizable. You probably already know the answer: we get lots of customer feedback that we don't provide enough - surprise - variety in our design templates. People don't want their slides to look like anyone else's slides. Obviously many corporations use a branded design template for presentations to their customers; for these presentations being able to alter the design is expressly not the goal. Even in these cases Office Themes are valuable for maintaining consistent typography, color and layout. Themes can help presentation creators stay "on brand."
Back to the variety problem: people inevitably get bored with the designs that ship with PowerPoint. When that happens you can go to Office Online and download some new ones or find free ones on the web or go to one of the many third party companies that make PowerPoint Design Templates. Even with all that variety often you'll find one that's close to what you want doesn't have the right colors or feels too formal or informal, too dark or too light, etc.
When we began planning for Office 2007 we did a lot of research on the kinds of document designs and styles Office users wanted. We primarily looked at information workers as they comprise the largest segment of our users. We found that people are most affected by color when deciding whether they liked a particular document design. Fonts were important in dictating the formality of a document. The intensity of graphic effects was also important to control to be either more or less "flashy" depending on whether a presentations was for a customer or something internal such as giving a status report.
We rolled all of that new research and our experience with past releases of Office into our new theme model.
For Office 2007 the OfficeArt team built the new Document Themes platform. Themes extend the PowerPoint design template concept to Word, Excel and even Outlook email messages. Every Office Theme file works in all of these applications so you can coordinate formatting across slides, documents, spreadsheets and email messages.
Earlier this year I wrote a series of guest posts for Jensen Harris. These blogs provide a good introduction to Office Themes.
PowerPoint's user interface has the richest expression of the Office Theme model but nearly everything I'll show you also works in Word, Excel and Outlook email messages.
On the Design Tab we are going to detail the major controls in the Themes and Background groups.
I'll walk you through the surprising customization you can do to any presentation using this UI. To give you a better feeling for the variety possible for each control in the user interface we are going to show four possible variations. The one in the upper left is always the starting point and the one in the lower right will be the variation we take forward to the next step.
[Take to Next Step]
There are actually as many as twenty available variations at each step but we're just showing four to give you a sense of the variety.
When you choose a theme from the theme gallery you apply a complete set of new colors, fonts, effects, backgrounds and slide layouts to your presentation. You get it all in one click. In fact you can just hover over any theme and get a Live Preview before you click. Here are four themes applied to a simple slide.
The theme in the upper left is the default "Office Theme," the theme in the lower right is "Trek."
The "theming" of your slides goes way beyond past releases. Applying a new theme transforms your presentation down to the smallest details. Your titles can pick up WordArt effects and every table, chart, diagram and shape will update to have the correct colors, fonts and effects. Even the layouts of your slides can be transformed dramatically from theme to theme though that's not shown above. See my post on "Picture Layouts Explained" for a better demonstration of this.
Here's a surprising fact you may not have known: in PowerPoint 2003 textboxes and AutoShapes never updated their fonts when you changed slide designs. They do now.
If you like the way the theme looks when it's applied congratulations you are done reformatting your slides with that one click. If you want to transform your presentation further within your selected theme you've got some great options.
Background styles are unique to PowerPoint this release. They are incredibly powerful. In fact I had planned to do an entire post on them but they fit better into the overall story of theme customization.
Background Styles leverage our new theme color model which defines two dark and two light colors to be used for text and backgrounds. The two light colors are always visible over the dark colors when they are used as backgrounds. And vice versa. There are six accent colors which look good over any of the four possible background colors.
Further, inside the theme we provide three background fill definitions: "subtle", "moderate" and "intense". When you combine the four background colors with the three theme background you get twelve background styles.
The top row is always solid in the themes we ship, though it could be any valide fill based on those colors. Let's focus on just the bottom row of that gallery. If you apply those background styles you get the following four variations:
Notice how the dark and light background colors are automatically switched based on the background you choose. Many slide show projectors do better with a dark background and light text; you can use the background styles as a quick way to transform your presentation for better projection..
Let's take the dark brown variation in the lower right on to the next step.
In Part 2 we'll cover modifying Theme Fonts, Colors and Effects and the ability to save a customized theme.
Great post. Could you please do something thought about the RSS feed you distribute? It's currently a teaser of a few sentences with a (read more) button. It would be much more better if the full article was distributed via RSS (like all the other MSDN Office blogs). That would make it easy to read the article in Outlook 2007. Thanks! Patrick Schmid
6 accent colors on two combinations of light/dark is not easy to come up with over and over again. Give your designers a pat on the back.
Howard, this is so awesome. It's great because many users don't have to worry about creating pre-PowerPoint 2007 type Color Schemes any more, and they no longer have to squint their eyes looking at dark grey text over a black background. I also found that the older Color Schemes still show up in the Theme Color drop-down gallery if you open a pre-PowerPoint 2007 presentation. That's making everyone happy -- thank you.
This is great but why should presenter need to edit themes and backgrounds all by themselves if there are many backgrounds, themes and templates available on the web? Like what I found in www.free-power-point-templates.com... The site has many templates and themes all for free...