Tip: Build Spectacular PowerPoint Templates: Step by Step

About this lesson

Be bold & build your own PowerPoint template to stand out from the crowd. Don’t settle for tired Microsoft templates or the not-quite-right internet download templates.

Make your own template to perfectly match your topic and be better than everyone else! No matter what the subject, you can create a perfectly matching themed slide deck.

And once built, we will show you how to quickly customize your personal template over and over again in just a few minutes.

Invest the time now, and never ever have to search for just the right template ever again. All for FREE!


  • 02:42 What is a PowerPoint Template?
    03:24 Find an Awesome PowerPoint Background
    06:04 Making Photo Fill the PowerPoint Slide
    08:07 Transform Image to a PowerPoint Background
    09:11 Recolor Background Photo – Saturation and Tone
    10:17 Transparency
    10:48 Artistic Effects
    12:00 Save PowerPoint as an Image File
    13:27 Building the PowerPoint Template Presentation
    13:34 PowerPoint Slide Master Mini Class
    15:00 Working with PowerPoint Master Slides
    15:07 Changing the PowerPoint Background Image
    15:47 Change PowerPoint Topography Font
    16:17 Change PowerPoint Color Scheme
    16:45 How to Exit Slide Master View
    18:25 Skip Effects
    18:50 Modifying the Text
    20:42 Pro Trick: Smokey Glass See-Through Effect
    22:46 Changing PowerPoint Bullet Look
    23:51 Adding A Logo Everywhere
    24:58 Customize Just One Layout
    25:50 Create Reusable Slides
    27:44 Creating WOW Title Slides
    29:15 Adding Slide Transtitions
    29:37 Save as a Template
    31:24 BONUS: Speed Template Creation


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility Most Recent Versions


Course Completed

PDF Files There are not any files associated with this lesson.



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<Music> We’ve all seen these tired default templates before. <YAWN> Oh, I’m already yawning before I begin, what will your audience do when they see the same old backgrounds and layouts? How do you fix that tired look, you could spend hours searching the internet for free themes or even pay to buy one. But they might not be the exact match to your topic. Or they could turn out looking kludgy.

So what are you gonna do?

I say, build your own from scratch, make it match your topic, and stand out from the crowd. We’re gonna see how to make this template starting from blank whiteness to this.

Hi, this is Les McCarter from power-up.training, where I bring my decades of experience to you for free. This extended tutorial will teach you how to change your approach to creating presentation so that every slide deck you’re making going forward will be point on and unique. And as a bonus, at the end, I’m going to show you how to go from this finish line template to one of these variations here and here and here. And here. In just under three minutes per modification. You won’t find these techniques anywhere else, but here at Power UP Training!

Buckle up for “Build Your Own PowerPoint Template.”

So let’s make it!

At a high level, we will start with a blank slate using an empty presentation slide. The key will be finding just the right background to set the stage. And I’ll provide you some unique tricks only found here at power-up.training.

Then together, we will build the template using our special unique backgrounds and then fine tune the right combination of colors and fonts and any other enhancements to complete, complete our template.

Next to last, we will tweak a few slides including Another pro tip for our WOW title slide, then wrap it up and save it as a PowerPoint template for future use.

As an extra bonus, I will come back and show you how to do a three minute tweak to quickly create a completely new look, with just a little work.

But before we get going, let’s discuss what are the components of a template.

Basically, all the things that give it that special look, we will start off selecting the background to set the stage. Then find a matching color scheme that complements our background stage. Next, choose a typography font that conveys our message. And while effects are part of a standard template, I’m gonna discuss what is not really consequential. Then to complete the theme creation, we will cover what is the Slide Master, plus the supporting children layout, and how we can add specific standard slide pages to appear in all of our future use of the templates.

So off to create a new blank presentation. To insert a photo from the Microsoft online source of images. I’m going to create a new blank slide and change the layout to a blank layout. Now, the insert Ribbon Menu, insert picture, and we’re going to try Microsoft stock images. The more recent versions of PowerPoint 365 have some solid free images, but I find that they are lacking in diversity.

Look at the limited number of images when I search for currency. This step is critical. So we need to do much better than just what Microsoft has to offer. By goto solution is that free unsplash.com a huge collection of independent artists photograph that is easily searchable. Look at the choices I get when I type in currency. literally dozens and dozens. I could narrow the choice down to landscape, which is what we want for a slide background. And if so desired, I can even choose a color. This is a critical step to find a unique image to match our presentation topic. I typically will download several images to try on note that if you’re giving a public presentation that you should give credit to the artist But these are free to use. All my images used in this tutorial is from unsplash.com. And the file name has the artists name. On my blank slide, I’m going to do an insert from the Ribbon Menu. And from pictures, I’m going to choose from this device, and then navigate to the folder with the photos that I’ve already downloaded from unsplash.com. As I review my images, I do find that a more abstract overall pattern is a better background. And I will typically stay away from the more focus centralized images that make it covered up on our slides, or distract our viewers. By I will download model images to audition for my template, more of this at the end. But let’s go on to this slide, which I think may work out just grand. Almost all images that get dropped into PowerPoint will not fit the 16 by nine layout. So the next step is to expand and crop the image to fill the full slide page and remove any whitespace. If you have a recent version of PowerPoint such as 2019 or newer, then it’s easy look for the Design Ideas under the design. And it will almost always give you the design choice to fill the page. But I will undo this trick, just in case you have an older version of PowerPoint. If so, you need to crop the image and adjust it to fill the page. Before doing the actual crop. do change the aspect ratio to match the slide the actual page of 16 by nine stop. If your target presentation room uses the projector from 15 years or more, you will need to change all of your templates slides most likely to match this three by two aspect ratio in advance the build here template. I’ll point out where this is done in a few moments.

Okay, we’ve selected an aspect ratio of 16 by nine. And now we can crop the photo by dragging the corner bracket to the edge of the white slide corners. You just need to adjust to opposite corners to make it fit. Then, the next key step is to go back to the crop drop down box and choose fill to make it chop off the unneeded edges and enlarge the picture that fill the slide. If you need more details about cropping, then look above for link for tutorial dedicated to cropping and resizing of photos.

So this is a distinctive image but possibly a little too distinctive. If you plan to use this as a background, how will text stand out from the selected photo.

Let’s do this. I’m going to insert and drop in a text box, I’m going to add in some text, we’ll type in reference text for readability and then relocat to the center make it a little larger and bold. This is just for testing our template background. And obviously, the background is too much. Our text message will get lost in this distinctive photo. But this is where the magic comes in. As we’re going to transform the image into a more appropriate template background appearance.

We will look at three different techniques in our toolbox. But all of them require you to select the photo first, and then click the Picture Format context aware menu. The first tool to transform our photo to a usable background is color. Here we can do two things, we can change the color saturation or set a different color tone. color saturation will add more colorful punch or turn the image into black and white for backgrounds is typically more useful to tone down the colors so that our foreground text will stand out. Here I’m going to tone it down just a bit because we chose the photo for us variety of colors. Now, for color tone. You can cool an image by making it more blue or warming up by making it more golden. Let’s call for the warmest color temperature to the far right and give it a little more glow. Lastly, There is the recolor choice. But usually I select my photo because of its composition and color. So I rarely will recolor. But that is your creative choice. Our second tool is Transparency. This will fade the image to a muted Look, the earlier saturation taste color out, but this tool will evenly make the image lighter and lighter. You want to make it take the backstage but not become so dim this hard to make out the image completely. For our currency photo, I would choose 65% Transparency, it has all I wanted to do. But there’s a fancier tool to look at first, which is called Artistic Effects. Artistic Effects will let you try on some wild special filters to give your backgrounds some amazing and some ugly look. If you hover your mouse over the effect, and wait for a moment, then you do get a preview of how the filter will be applied.

Personally, I find these three effects most useful one line trying to cut out. And the third one photocopy. I’m gonna use photocopy. But

it is up to you to experiment on your own to see what may work with your selected photo. This is almost perfect. I want to go back to the Transparency tool, and now make it 50% to get the look to fade in the background. Remember, this photo is setting the backstage look. It is not the central part of your presentation, you should be setting a mood not turning it into the star performer.

We are now done with our sample text box. So let’s delete it and convert our slide into a usable image to import it into our creative template. Since we’ve yet to save this background working presentation, let’s do that now.

Do note that I will typically create three or more additional background slides, just so I can try them on in the future steps. But for now, we’re going to convert this PowerPoint slide into a standalone image. And to do that, we need to go back in and now do a Save as or in the older PowerPoint, save a copy this technique to save the image file. The important step when we save the file a second time is to do the drop down dialog box. To change the file format to an image file. You could use the common JPEG the JPEG, but I like the more detailed Portable Network graphic format of PNG, it is a little more detailed its color schemes.

Give it a name. And when I do click Save it asked if I want to save just this one slide or all. If I had a bunch of possible backgrounds slides, I would do them all. But in our case, we have just the one slide to say if you want a more in depth tutorial on creating backgrounds slides, go to this dedicated YouTube tutorial listed above. We have just completed the critical step of creating our background. So now let’s get to work. To create our custom template. I will start with a blank presentation. And our first step is to go to view on the Ribbon Menu and select Slide Master. This Slide Master mode is the behind the scene master controller of how all the slides look. Make a change here and it filters through the whole presentation. You should be familiar with slide layout, although you might not think of them. A slide layout is used for the most common items. That’s just the title slide, or the most often use title and content. The Masters like controls how these layouts work and look. Every slide in your presentation is based on a layout and the layout is controlled by the master slides. Change the master slide and they will change the layout, which in turn controls the actual PowerPoint slide. And what does the master slide control everything we need to create our personalized themes and templates, colors, backgrounds, fonts, and more. Before we dive into creating our template, we also need to know that within the Slide Master view, there is one parent master slide that controls all the children layouts change the parent and those changes flow down to all the children update just one child layout and it does not flow to any The other layout.

Let’s get to work. And this is going to go fast.

Step one is to change the background. Make sure to be on the top parent master slide and click background slide. Click picture or pattern fill, then go down to picture source and insert. Go with from a file, navigate to where we just created our PNG background file, and click on the image, choose Insert. And instantly our new template is transformed.

Next, choose a new typography font. Remember, we’re we’re in the Slide Master mode. So we’re going to use the font choice.

Typography fonts is a whole world of communication. Different fonts convey different moods, and vary in readability. That discussion is outside the bounds of my tutorial. But you can use the eye test of hovering your mouse over the different choices to see how it looks on your presentation. I like the clean and bolder look of Franklin Gothic. And we’ll go with that choice, which will ripple through our whole presentation.

Now on the color, we can attempt to try the same technique as we did with fonts. But there’s an issue. Almost all the built in color schemes start with black as the primary color. So just hovering over the list does us no good as nothing seems to change. So let’s pop out of the Slide Master mode and put in something that we can experiment with. To see how it interacts with our backgrounds slides colors. To exit Slide Master, make sure that the menu selected, and then look for Close Master View.

We get dropped into the blank presentation on what is called the Title Slide layout. Let’s add a new slide in that’s going to be a Title and Content layout. I will add in some placeholder text or color test. This is a test title with a chart. And then we look very, very closely, we will see that chart icon inside the placeholder click, and then I can use the first offer chart for our color experiment. If we were to return back the Slide Master view, we would lose sight of this colorful graph. So let’s explore the colors. Under the design Ribbon Menu, we’ll select the various drop down box. And there we can choose colors to see the list that we can go through. Now when hovering the mouse over the color themes, we get a better preview of how it might look. Since our currency background was set to a warmer color tones, let’s choose one of the oranges or reds schemes to complement the background. This change only impacted this slide. So we now want to go back with our new color knowledge and change it on the Slide Master. So we’ll go to View and Slide Master and then find the color action icon to be able to implement our reddish orange choices.

The fourth item that we get possibly change is effect which impacts just a few items. I will typically not change this and if I actually do need it in the presentation. I will apply it one at a time.

We have our background, our colors and fonts. So let’s start customizing the text placeholder.

Remember to start at that top parents Slide Master. and here we can change individual elements. Such as making the top level bullet lines bold. To get to bold we need to stay in the Slide Master view, but then click on the Home Menu. And there are all of our familiar font controls. Hide the first line and make it bold. highlight this second through fifth level of text. And let’s choose a different color. In real life, I might not do this, but it helps us understand in our tutorial how these changes ripple through change once see everywhere. On inspection, the second through fifth lines may still be hard to read. So let’s make them bold. Let’s test this out. Under Slide Master. I’m going to select exit Slide Master and then we can create a new slide we can add a title of main title slide and then I’ll zip through adding some lines in the main content placeholder. Note how any level line two and beyond now switches to the new color of our color scheme. As we set up in the Slide Master a few moments ago.

I still find they may be getting lost in the background. So back to the Slide Master.

And let’s increase the font of the title from 44 to 48. And make sure it is bold.

For the content text, when we click the placeholder, we see the font size is a strange 18+. The plus indicates that we have a mixture of different sizes. No problem, we can click on the big letter A to increase all the lines in increments, but still keep them relative to each other in size.

But it’s still obvious that those selected colors and those words may still get lost in our background. So on to the magical tricks to create a see through glass look.

To create this glass background. To make text or any object stand out, you must first select the placeholder box, then choose shape format. From there, look for shape fill, go ahead and select one of the theme colors. This is important to use the theme colors, because in the future, if you want to change the color schemes, you will want this selection to follow along to match the new luck. Notice how I choose a variation that is a lighter color distill from the scheme. Once done, our text is now very readable with no background image interfering. But we want to create a more subtle look. So under the format shape, let’s use Transparency. I earlier said that Transparency makes an image lighter, but in reality, it is letting the underneath object peek through at a small percentage of Transparency, and it starts to look like you’re peeking through a smoke that glass pane the image is visible, but the text becomes more prominent on top. I’m gonna repeat this for our top title. This is both a subtle and classy look. And because we tied it to the color scheme, it can easily be adapted to any new look that we use in the future. Let’s leave the Slide Master view. Click on the Slide Master menu and then close Slide Master. And we now see that the text is much more clear, but still preserving our background image.

However, this only works on our two text boxes. So if you want to add this same technique to other objects, repeat the steps on a slide by slide basis.

Let’s now add a few more distinctive features. It seems like every presentation uses the same bullet points of big dots. So going to the top parent master slide, I’m going to select all the bulleted lines and switch them to pointers. That seems simple enough. But wait look more closely. And we see this spacing looks too crowded between the arrow bullets and our text. But we can fix this by adjusting the margin and the tab spacing. First off, do you see the ruler bar on your version of PowerPoint. If not, click on View and then ruler checkbox. Be sure to be on the line you want to adjust that and move not the square because that will move both the bullet and the text as that group is dead. Grab the upward pointing triangle and move it slightly to the right to add some spacing between the arrow and the tech. Look for in depth bullet and margin tutorial listed above.

Let’s add some additional customization to the full slide deck and do some individual slide layout changes. The trick to adding an object such as the logo to the whole presentation at the start of the parent master slide. On the top master slide, I’m going to go to Insert Ribbon Menu select picture, and this device where I’m going to locate our power-up.training logo.

Once inserted, I can resize it and position on the page. Because we’re working with the parent master slide we do need to be aware that there may be a variety of content added to the future in our slide deck. So we need to find a strategic spot that won’t interfere. Watch how I do place it on the corner. But in the future. The problem will be if I turn on page numbering and they’re going to overlap. So either find a different spot for the logo or move the page number placeholder to a different location.

When working with templates, you always need to think ahead!

Let’s have another element but this Time, we’re going to do it to only one specific layout, not the parent master. Here on the title and content layout, I’m going to add a line, and then I’m going to adjust the width. When we exit out, we’re going to see that the standard title and content layout has this line apply to all three of the slides that’s based on titles and content. But if we change the layout to to contents, then the line is no longer there. Because it’s not applied to the to content layout on the master slide. If I want, I could then go in and customize each of my often use layouts in this Slide Master. But that’s going to take some extra effort. For now, let’s put this Slide Master aside and create some reusable slides. When we do save this as a template file, it’s helpful to know that it will also save any slides that we make, which is great if we want to create several reusable slides that we will use over and over again. Here’s a trick to create a slide with the SmartArt tool that’s been in PowerPoint since 2010. There are several ways to insert a smart art object into a slide, you could use the small icon and the placeholder or just go to the Insert Ribbon Menu and click SmartArt. We do have an in depth set of smart art tutorials, such as the intro class listed above. For our example, I’m going to add in the picture category and the radio picture list. This is both flexible and visually interesting. Let me add in some text in one of two ways. First way inside the graphics by clicking and typing. And the second way is I’m going to work in the text table on the left, they’ve accomplished the same thing. What I like about this particular SmartArt is that you can insert pictures or images for each of the categories to give both a text and picture representation of your topic. This one’s easy to use over and over again in future presentations. Once this slide page is saved in your template, you can use it as I say, in the future, changing the elements to match your topic, but only if it fits the presentation content.

As I finish up, look at how we can also recolor the SmartArt. And all the variations will match our color scheme and background photo, because we took the extra time upfront to set everything in partnership.

Now let’s make that title slide special. I’m going to go to the title slide I’m gonna type in a title and a subtitle. Once again, we are not working in the Slide Master mode, but the normal view as we want this to be part of the template that will be easy for us to customize by just clicking and change the title. But the final results are dull! If you’re running Office 2019 or Office 365. Then there is the cool Design Ideas tools to help design a fresh look. Click on the design Ribbon Menu, and then Design Ideas. And you’re presented with a variety of looks. However, they do not match our theme of currency. So we want to provide some inspiration just Design Ideas. I will bring in the original photo of the currency onto the page. Anywhere onto the page. It doesn’t matter. But pay attention. I’m using the original downloaded image in its full glory, no fading or Transparency. And you’re going to see why in just a moment.

Once the slide design sees the picture, Design Ideas comes up with a variety of stunning designs that still match our overall theme. And now your job is to pick one that you like.

And this is all about saving future keystrokes. Let’s also apply a slight transition to our template and make it go with every slide. I’m going to use REVEAL as that goes well with the background.

And now let’s see our slideshow in action. Trying imagine seeing this for the first time and not working with this for the last 25 minutes.

It is fresh and elegant with a splash of color. We have created our personal template file and we’re ready to use it over and over again.

But how do we save it? The easiest method is to use your computer file system to turn it into a read only file and that will force you to save it as a new name each time you open it up.

But the elegant solution is to save it as a Special template file under file, save a copy, or Save As for older versions of PowerPoint, and use the drop down box to select PowerPoint template which is a .POTX file.

Here’s the important step, you must save it in a specific location on your computer. And it’s slightly different between Mac OS and Windows.

Now, when you want to use the template, you’re going to go to File and New and click on custom and open custom office templates. But a cooler technique is to find that folder, locate the specific template, click the thumbtack icon and pin it.

So you’ll be able to display it as soon as you do File and New. I’ve already pinned this new template.

Now let’s watch. I click File and it’s already displayed. Once I click my euro class project template, PowerPoint previews it, if I click Create, I now have the template ready to use with a generic name so that when I do my first save, it will prompt for a name and not overwrite all of our hard work that we made into creating the template.

And yes, that was a lot of hard work to create your own custom template. But here’s the bonus. Once created, we can take about three minutes to transform this to a whole new look. Based on our euro template. Let me save it first. And this time, we’re going to work with a cookie colorful theme. So I’m going to give it a cookie name. Then we’re going to switch back to the Slide Master mode. And I’m going to change the background. I’ve already found my cookie image and transformed it into a muted background appropriate image. Then, we’ll go in and we’ll change the color scheme to match a more pastel colors of our cookies. Watch it goes from a golden look to a pink look by just changing the color themes. Now let’s go on to the font. And I’m going to change that to a more lighter more casual font of something called Tw Century. And when we exit out of the Slide Master mode, we see that we’ve almost completely

transformed the presentation. See how the new automatic colors and cleaner fonts are applied throughout all the slides. Now, let’s quickly fix the title slide to replace the euro’s with cookies. If I right click on the image, I can choose to change the picture from a file. And then I’m going to bring in the original brightly colored cookie photos, not the one that I muted for background. And presto, we’ve redone our whole presentation with minimal effort. And if you want, you can take the extra step of using Design Ideas to give a slightly different title. Just in case you’re worried that your audience might be clued in on your technique. And I did cut out the finding and altering the background photo. But everything else was updated in a lightning two minute round.

And now you have a brand new beautiful slide deck that looks like no other presentation.

You have graduated to a new loftiness in PowerPoint slide design. All of your future slide decks will be awesome.

If you have questions or comments or just want to show your appreciation, leave a comment below in the YouTube section. I do respond.

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