PPT6: Applying Themes

Theme elements

Every PowerPoint theme—including the default Office theme—has its own theme elements. Those elements are:

  • Theme Colors: There are 10 theme colors, along with darker and lighter variations, available from everyColor menu.

    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

  • Theme Fonts: There are two theme fonts available at the top of the Font menu under Theme Fonts.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

  • Theme Effects: These affect the preset shape styles. You can find shape styles on the Format tab whenever you select a shape or SmartArt graphic.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

Why use themes?

If you're using a theme, you'll probably find that your presentation looks pretty good. All of the colors will work well together, which means you won't have to spend as much time formatting your presentation. But there's another great reason to use theme elements: When you switch to a different theme, all of these elements will update to reflect the new theme. You can drastically change the look of your presentation in a few clicks.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

In our examples above, you can see the effect of applying different themes to the same slide—each theme uses its own fonts and colors. But you may have also noticed that the font and colors of the logo in the bottom-right remained unchanged: This is because they're Standard Colors and Fonts rather than theme elements. Colors and fonts will only update if you're using Theme Fonts or Theme Colors.

Themes and slide layouts

As you can see from the two different Title Slides above, themes can also change various slide layouts. Some themes, like the Wisp theme in the example below, even include additional layouts.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

If you use a unique slide layout—such as Quote with Caption or Name Card—and then switch to a theme that does not include that layout, it may give unexpected results.



Applying themes

All themes included in PowerPoint are located in the Themes group on the Design tab. Themes can be applied or changed at any time.

To apply a theme:

  1. Select the Design tab on the Ribbon, then locate the Themes group. Each image represents a theme.
  2. Click the More drop-down arrow to see all available themes.

    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

  3. Select the desired theme.

    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

  4. The theme will be applied to the entire presentation. To apply a different theme, simply select it from the Design tab.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

Once you've applied a theme, you can also select a variant for that theme from the Variants group. Variants use different theme colors while preserving a theme's overall look. Some variants also use different textures, as in the example below.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013




  1. Open an existing PowerPoint presentation. If you want, you can use our practice presentation.
  2. Try applying several different themes. If you are using the example, try the Organic theme.
  3. Try selecting a theme variant