Power Tip: PowerPoint Theme vs Template | What's the Difference

About this lesson

What is the difference between Themes and Templates in PowerPoint?

See our video for a full explanation. Themes can apply a design look but the templates will let you do more, including a preset of slides.

Will they Make Me More Productive?

Speed up slide creation with PowerPoint Theme and Template tools. What are they and when do you use one vs the other? This deep dive tutorial will introduce both tools and explain the difference.

In this seven minutes deep dive tutorial, you will learn the difference why you might want to use only Templates or just use Themes or always use both. It will depend if you want to save the look just for you or if you need to share the templates and themes with other people in your group or from your communication department.

Let Power UP! Training teach you the difference between the two to make you more successful in your career!


Content with video timestamps

  • Intro: 0:00
  • Hands-On: 0:38
  • What is a PowerPoint THEME: 0:45
  • What is a PowerPoint TEMPLATE: 1:24
  • Saving and Reusing PowerPoint Themes: 2:24
  • PowerPoint Slide Master Mini Preview: 2:37
  • Saving and Reusing PowerPoint Templates: 3:48
  • PowerPoint File Extensions and File Locations: 5:51
  • Wrap Up: 6:10


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility PowerPoint 2013 and up to current Office 360

Level Tips

Course Completed Complete

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



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Rough Video Transcript of “PowerPoint Theme vs Template: The Differences |”


Hi, this is Les with another Power Up Training quick tip. 


Today, I’d like to discuss what our PowerPoint themes and templates. When do I use one versus the other? And as a bonus what kind of cover how are you can take both themes and templates and save them and share them provide consistency across your workgroup or your whole organization. 


So let’s power up. 


Okay let’s see that action Here’s an existing presentation We’re going to go to a second slide and we’ll see that a theme is just basically applying fonts and backgrounds. 


Themes are much more but you’ve used them already. If you go to design you’re going to see all the built-in Microsoft themes that I drag my mouse across you’ll see that they are applying the changes to the colors and the font so the background the margins and much more you’re used to seeing these what you may have not seen is the use of a customized theme. 


Let’s go back into the same location with themes are will do the drop-down list and In there; there’s a session called Custom you see I have a variety of custom themes, including one that we’ve built in a previous power-up training video on how to create slide masters. That was themes. 


So what about templates? 


Templates are similar to themes but they are more. They apply all the same colors and fonts, but you do this when creating a brand new slide deck. Things are applied to existing slides. And templates are used to create brand new presentations watch this. We’ll do file do new and in here we’re going to choose a custom template and in here. 


I’m going to select one that I use to create my quick tip powerpoint presentations. That looks good. We’ll go ahead and create it and what you’re going to see here is that in addition to having all the colors above. I actually have slides that I use over and over again. 


This is key in that templates have created that you can see a brand new name for a brand new set of slides. That’s supposed to themes. That are just applying a look to an existing presentation. Okay, let’s switch back to our original presentation of a few moments ago and talk about saving and reusing themes and templates themes, they’re easy. 


But before we go much farther I need to take a side trip and explaining the concept of slide masters. This is covered in a deeper dive session, but for the most part all of our presentations and our designs are based off something called slide masters that affects all the underlying changes. 


We’re gonna go to view I’m gonna slide master and we’re gonna see that in this magical view if I make a change on just this one parent slide is going to ripple through the rest of the presentation. Let’s go in and change the background. I’m gonna zip through changing the background and I’ll start choosing a new color theme do note that this is being done for demonstration purposes not for artistic purposes, but once I have the changes I can now get out of the slide master boom apply to the whole presentation the point though was for us to see how we could take a change theme and save it. 


I’m gonna go back to design I’ll do the drop-down list and there you’re gonna see save current theme at this point here we give it a brand new name so that will be able to apply this new theme to all future presentations on this. Specific computer. Sure enough we go back to drop down list, we’ll see that our new theme is listed under custom. 


So what about templates? 


templates are saved as a very specific file name dot POTX and if you want to use it on that specific computer, you can just save it in a very specific folder as we see here so let’s switch back to that presentation that we just created a few moments ago from a template to be able to do this. 


I want to modify this specific presentation so that we can see the change. And just like themes all of the colors the fonts the layouts those are controlled by the master slides, but let’s do something a little different in this specific case because templates include files and the presentation let’s create a brand new slide and in here make some modifications so with this brand new slide. 


I may insert a photo doesn’t really matter what the photo is we’re going to go online and put it in place for those that are wondering what is that strange greenness that are in my presentation, that’s the green screen that I used to have my video of me show up as you saw the Beginning and you’ll see at the end of the presentation. 


I’m going to choose a slide and then I’m going to resize it unlike themes that are saved easily under a menu choice template have to be saved as a file so when you file save as we’re going to go into the custom office template, and then hear the drop-down list is going to show us that we’re saving this as a dot POT x file and this case here, we’ll choose a, Great let’s test out our new template by going up to file and doing a new presentation now remember when we do a new presentation it should have the new slide that we added with the shell when we go to new I’m going to go to custom under my templates we’ll see we have one that’s called office example template that we just created. 


I’ll say yes, this is good we’ll choose to create and when we do we’ll see bingo that the extra slide is now included. So that’s what’s involved in saving eight mile as a template with the dot. POTX sharing is pretty straightforward both of these the themes and the templates have filed extensions of dot txMX for themes and dot POTX for templates locate the files and then you can put them on a shared network drive or share them through other file means. 


What? There you go. Now, you know what, the differences are between themes and templates and you can start dreaming how to use them to make your everyday life easier. If you want other quick tips from us, be sure to subscribe to the power-up training video channel. As we provide PowerPoint tips and detailed tutorials such as our master class on how to become a power user in PowerPoint from step one to step six in under two and a half hours. 


If you like this video, give me thumbs, Up likes encourages me to make more videos for you. And again a specific PowerPoint presentation video topic you’d like for me to cover leave it in the comments below and I will then look forward to seeing what I can do to help you. 


Until then power up.