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How to Quickly Change Themes For Google Slides (Download & Import)

This post is part of a series called How to Use Google Slides (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
How to Convert Google Slides to PowerPoint Presentations on Export
30+ Cool Google Slides Themes (With Aesthetic Slide Design Ideas for 2020)

A less-than-memorable presentation could be the result of using the wrong presentation theme. Use the right professional theme with great design layouts and your presentation is likely to be a hit. But with the wrong theme, you could leave your audience with a bad impression. 

Change Google Theme
Change the Google theme that's built into Google Slides with a premium theme like Deviant.

If you use Google Slides to create presentations, there are plenty of professional Google Slides themes you can import. Making a great impression has never been easier.

In this tutorial, I'll explain in detail why choosing a high-quality Google Slides import theme is so important. I'll also show you how to find and download professional Google Slides themes using either Envato Elements or the GraphicRiver marketplace—two terrific sources of premium themes. Finally, I'll explain how to quickly apply customization to the Google Slides theme you chose after importing it into your presentation. 

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But, before you dive into this tutorial, be sure to download our free eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It's packed with professional strategies to help you master the complete presentation process.

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Why Presentation Theme Designs Are So Important

You may have a great message for your presentation. You may have done tons of research. You may spend hours practicing. But unless you're careful about choosing your presentation theme design, all that hard work may not come across to your audience or best represent your brand.

No matter what presentation software you use, the presentation theme you select and use is important. 

Change Google Theme - Sparrow Theme from Elements
A good Google Slides theme, like Sparrow (above), allows you to add your branding logo and colors.

A good presentation theme helps you to:

  1. Draw the Viewer In. Like it or not, we're all affected by what we see. Colors, images, fonts, and shapes—they all make a difference. The right theme makes good use of all these design elements to engage the audience through a presentation. The best themes come with great layout options and plenty of striking graphic features.
  2. Shape the Reader's Opinion. The way your theme looks impacts the reader's impression of you. A well-designed, professional theme leaves your audience with a positive opinion of you and your message. A sloppy, unprofessional presentation design does the opposite.
  3. Allow for Branding. A good theme lets you add your unique branding elements to your presentation, such as your color scheme and logo. It also helps tie the presentation to your brand in your audience's mind. This is important for in-person presentations, as well as when distributing your presentations online.
  4. Save Time. The right theme saves you time. No longer do you have to spend hours trying to develop the right look on your own. A good theme will be attractive and come with plenty of unique slide designs. It'll also be easy to customize for your needs with quick to edit professional slide setup.
  5. Avoid Common Mistakes. There are many common design traps for those new to presentation design. Using too many fonts or the wrong colors for your presentation are just a few of the things that can go wrong. A professional theme helps you get it right.

Browse through these posts for curated selections of the most popular Google Slides themes, with fresh, on-trend designs: 

Best Google Slides Templates on Envato Elements (With Unlimited Use)

One source where you'll find thousands of professionally designed Google Slides themes is Envato Elements. Here, you can download as many premium themes as you want for one low subscription. You'll get blown away by the variety and quality of the selections. But since you've got unlimited downloads, you don't have to limit yourself to only one theme. You can change Google theme for every presentation topic or audience.

Templates Unlimited Use

What's more, your unlimited downloads also include fonts, photos, icons, and other design and presentation elements you can use to make your presentation unique and effective. Want to add a video clip to your presentation? How about a soundtrack or sound effect? You get unlimited access to those in Elements, too—all for one low monthly fee. 

Each premium Google Slides theme from Envato Elements is made for the non-professional designer. This means you can easily change the theme on Google Slides and customize it without needing special skills and software.

How to Find & Download the Right Google Slides Theme

If you use Google Slides for your presentation, the good news is that you don't have to look far to find a good presentation template. There are many resources available, including some from Envato's own Elements and GraphicRiver marketplace.

In this section, we provide detailed steps on how to find and download a Google Slides theme for your needs.

Step 1. Start at GraphicRiver or Envato Elements

While there are many Google Slides templates available for download, our own GraphicRiver marketplace and Envato Elements are good places to start when looking for a professional theme.

GraphicRiver has a premium selection of presentation templates available. Here are our best-selling Google Slides themes from GraphicRiver that are available for download one-at-a-time:

Best Google Slides Themes for download on GraphicRiver
Find the best Google Slide templates on GraphicRiver, available for download and import.

Each thumbnail shown on the screen represents a different Google Slides presentation theme. To examine a theme more closely, click on a thumbnail. A screen appears showing more information about the Google Slides theme you clicked on:

Google Slides Themes Learn more
Use the scrollbar to see more information about a selected Google Slides theme.

Use the scrollbar to the right of the screen to scroll through the information about the Google Slide theme. You'll get plenty of slide design examples of the theme, information about the theme author, and details of what's included inside the download.

While we're using a theme from GraphicRiver in this tutorial, there are many advantages to using Envato Elements. Remember, you get unlimited downloads of Google Slides themes, design elements, and multimedia items at Elements. And so, it may be a better source of Google Slides themes for you.

Step 2. Use Search to Look Through Google Slides Themes

If you're having trouble finding the right presentation theme for you, use the search tool in the upper right corner to find a Google Slides theme more to your liking.

Change Google Slide - Search for a Google Slides Theme
Use the search tool to find a Google Slides theme.

When you've typed in your search phrase, click the Search icon (it looks like a magnifying glass) in the upper right. In this example, we're searching for the phrase, "google slides design." You'll see a list of thumbnails that meet your search criteria.

If you need to, use tools on the left to further narrow your search. Or, use the sort tools upper-right corner to change the order of your search results:

Narrow Search
You can narrow your search results with sort tools, categories, and tags.

You can also start in the Google Slides category page to find the newest Google Slides themes or sort those that are the best-sellers.

Step 3. Select and Download a Google Slides Theme

Once you've found a Google Slides theme you'd like to download, click on the theme's thumbnail to open it:

Select a Google Slides Theme
Click on a theme's thumbnail to open it.

Note: In this example, we're using the Swift Minimal Google Slides Template.

Details about the selected theme display:

Swift Minimal template Google Slides Themes
Details for the Swift Minimal Google Slides template appear.

In right sidebar, you'll see an Add to Cart button and a Buy Now button. Click the Add to Cart button to add the Google Slides theme to your cart and choose a license. Or, click the Buy Now button to go straight to check out with a Regular license (more on that below). 

When you click Add to Cart, the Customize Your Selection dialog box appears:

Customize Your Selection

By default, you're purchasing a Regular license. Click Change details to switch to an Extended license. 

About These Licenses

A regular license allows for a single use of the theme for yourself or an end client. With a regular license, you're not allowed to charge the end user for the use of the theme. 

An extended license also allows for a single use of the theme, but with an extended license you may also charge the end user for the theme and the end result may be sold. 

Learn more about these licenses

Go to Checkout

Click the Go to Checkout button.

If you're not already logged into your GraphicRiver account, you'll be prompted to log in or to create an account:

Google Slides Themes Checkout
Create an account or log in.

Once you're logged into an account, enter your purchase information and complete the purchase. A confirmation screen displays:

GraphicRiver Payment Confirmation
You've just paid for the Google Slides theme.

Click the Download button on the lower right to complete the transaction. A popup displays asking whether you wish to open or save your download. Select the toggle button next to the Save File option and click the OK button. Your Google Slides template ZIP file is downloaded onto your computer (most likely it'll be in your Downloads folder).

You can't upload a ZIP file to your Google Slides presentation. So, you need to double-click on the downloaded ZIP file to open the contents. Use the Extract All option, or other a similar tool, to unzip the ZIP file.

How to Modify the Google Slides Template to Create a New Presentation

If you don't have an existing presentation, get a head start on creating a new Google Slides presentation by opening the downloaded template file and editing it. Here's how:

Note: This example was created on a PC using the Windows operating system. For this example, I downloaded the Main - Swift Google Slides theme. If you use a different operating system or download a different Google Slides theme, your results may be slightly different.

Step 1. Drag Google Slides Theme File to Google Drive

After your template file is unzipped in your Downloads folder on your PC, drag the Main - Swift Google Slides folder to your Google Drive:

Change Google Theme - Upload Google Slides Themes to Drive
Upload Google Slides theme template files to Google Drive.

A notification of the file upload appears in the lower right corner of the screen. Click the X in the upper right corner of the notification to close it.

Step 2. Copy and Open the Template File

Double-click the Main - SWIFT Google Slides folder to open it. Double-click the Presentations subfolder. You'll see three presentations themes in PowerPoint PPTX format (these will convert to Google Slides format when opened). The screen should look something like this:

Change Google Theme - Files
Google Slides presentation themes.

Before you begin changing the default theme, copy it first. Right-click on the template you want to use, then select Make a copy.

Change Google Theme - Copy Google Slides Theme
Copy the theme before editing it so you retain the original file.

This creates a copy of the presentation without overwriting the original theme. This could be important if you decide to start over and return to the original theme.

Double-click the copy of the theme you wish to open. The file displays but doesn't open. Choose the Open with Google Slides option from the center of the screen. The selected theme opens with the default text:

Change Google Theme - Open theme in Google Slides
Your selected Google Slides theme is open with default text.

Step 3. Edit the Google Slides Theme

Type the title of the new presentation in the upper left corner. To replace the existing text in the presentation, highlight it and type over it. Your presentation should look something like this:

Change Google Theme - Rename Google Slides Presentation
Rename the presentation and type over the default text.

Click the plus symbol (+) at the left of the icon menu to add new slides as needed. Continue editing and modifying the presentation. You can change the fonts, colors, and make other formatting changes just as you would for any other presentation.

For more guidance on formatting a presentation, refer to the following Envato Tuts+ tutorial:

How to Change a Google Slides Theme for an Existing Presentation

Now that you've found a presentation theme that you wish to use, you're ready to apply it to an existing Google Slides presentation. Let's get started: 

Step 1. Open a Presentation

Go to your Google Drive and open an existing presentation in Google Slides. Here's an existing presentation:

Change Google Theme - Existing Google Slides Presentation
An existing Google Slides presentation

You can change the theme for several of the slides in the presentation or for all of the slides in the presentation.

Select the slides you wish to apply the new Google Slides theme to by clicking on them in the panel on the left. To select more than one slide, hold the SHIFT key while selecting consecutive slides, or the CTRL key to select slides that are apart from each other.

Note: To keep your presentation uniform, I suggest that you apply the same theme to all the slides in your presentation.

Step 2. Change the Theme

With your presentation open and the slides you wish to change selected, click Slide > Change theme. A side panel appears to the right of your presentation showing all the currently available themes:

Change Google Theme in Google Slides
You can change the theme of one slide or of several slides.

At the bottom of the side panel, click the Import theme option. The Import Theme dialog box displays:

Change Google Theme - Import Theme dialog box
Click Select a file from your computer.

To upload the theme from your computer, click the Upload option at the top of the dialog box, then click Select a file from your computer. If you're on a PC, File Explorer opens.

Go to the folder where downloaded template files are stored. Most likely, this will be your Downloads folder.

Open the Main - SWIFT Google Slides folder, which contains a Presentations subfolder. Double-click the Presentations folder to open it. The contents of the subfolder are visible:

Change Google Theme - Google Slides SWIFT Theme Contents
Select one of the available themes and click Open.

Click on the template file of your choice and click the Open button. The new theme is uploaded:

Change Google Theme - Google Slides Theme Uploading
The new theme is uploaded.

Another Import Theme dialog box displays:

Change Google Theme - Import Theme dialog box
Click the thumbnail and click the Import theme button.

Click on the Default Theme thumbnail and click the Import theme button in the lower right corner of the dialog box. The new theme is automatically applied to your presentation:

Change Google Theme - New Google Slides theme applied
The selected theme is applied to your existing presentation.

Note: Swift is a minimal style theme design, so the change here is subtle. Once you apply it to multiple slides in your presentation though, you'll notice a more dramatic style transformation with your entire presentation. 

Step 3. Make Adjustments

Notice that some formatting remains from your original presentation. For example, the border around the title and the white color on the font on the first slide remain the same. To get the full effect of your new theme, you may wish to change some of your original formatting.

For example, to make sure white text is visible against a white background, you may need to adjust the text color. Likewise, you need to make sure that black text is visible against a black background. Adjust the text color by highlighting the text and using the Format > Text color option. 

Text color is just one of many adjustments and edits you can make to your presentation after the new theme is applied. You can make other adjustments to the presentation as well.

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It'll help walk you through the complete presentation process. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully.

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Change to a Better Google Theme Today

The theme you use for your presentation is important. A professional presentation theme can help you to make the right impression. You've just learned how to change Google themes by importing one into your Google Slides presentation. 

You can find lots of professional Google Slides themes at either Envato Elements or GraphicRiver

Downloading a Google Slides theme and applying it to your presentation isn't difficult. And the right Google Slides theme can make all the difference when it comes to the impression you make on your audience.

Editorial Note: This post was originally published in 2017. It's been comprehensively revised to make current, accurate, and up-to-date by our staff—with special assistance from Lexi Rodrigo.

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