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How to Quickly Change PowerPoint Templates (Download & Import)

This post is part of a series called How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
How to Make & Give Great PowerPoint Presentations (In 5 Simple Steps)
How to Create a PowerPoint Presentation From a PPT Template

Microsoft includes a handful of PowerPoint themes built in by default. If you've seen enough presentations, you've probably seen each of the built-in themes used more than once.

A PowerPoint theme is a set of backgrounds, font pairings, color schemes, and slide designs. It's also commonly referred to as a PowerPoint template. Note: We'll use these terms interchangeably in this article. 

Changing your PowerPoint theme (template) can really help you to set your presentation apart and visually engage with your audience.

PowerPoint custom presentation
The Be theme is a great example of professional, custom PowerPoint templates.

Best of all, there are plenty of custom PowerPoint themes out there that you can download and use for your own presentations.

In this tutorial, I'll teach you three key skills for working with PowerPoint templates:

  • How and where to find custom PowerPoint themes
  • How to install custom PowerPoint themes
  • How to change PowerPoint templates

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How to Download & Change PowerPoint Templates Quickly (Watch & Learn)

In the screencast below, I'll give you a brief overview of how to download and install PowerPoint themes. The screencast will help you take a drab presentation and quickly add some much needed design style to it.


In the rest of this tutorial, I'll teach you how to download, install, and change custom PowerPoint template.

How to Download PowerPoint Themes

Downloading new PowerPoint templates helps set your presentation apart. You can build your own themes, sure - but you're probably focused on doing research and writing your own content. 

Designing a number of slides that work together and are visually engaging is time consuming. Using pre-built, custom PowerPoint templates will save you quite a bit of time and give you a professional set of presentation designs to work with. 

PowerPoint built-in themes
The built-in PowerPoint themes are a great start, but custom PowerPoint themes set a presentation apart.

When it's crunch time to finish your upcoming presentation, the best option is to purchase a professional PowerPoint template from a marketplace like GraphicRiver or Envato Elements. Browse through our curated selections of the best PowerPoint templates

You can certainly find some free PowerPoint templates by Googling and searching around, but these premium templates have unique advantages. The advantage of purchasing PowerPoint themes from qualified marketplaces like GraphicRiver and Envato Elements is three-fold:

  • Quality Control. The themes are reviewed by Envato and only qualified files make the cut to go online. Each PowerPoint template also includes detailed instructions on installing and using the theme for easy usage.
  • Premium Design. These are not the standard templates included with PowerPoint; authors spend considerable time developing slide designs that stand out from the crowd and help you present your ideas effectively. 
  • Professional Setup. Each set of Powerpoint themes comes with quick to customize setup, and a number of advanced presentation features you'd expect in a premium asset. 

In short: the built-in themes are a great start in PowerPoint, but purchased templates will give your presentation an edge over others. 

How to Import Custom PPT Templates

After you download a custom PPT templates, you'll need to install it so that you can use it for your own PowerPoint presentations. Here's how to import and install new PowerPoint themes.

1. Check the Documentation

Every custom PowerPoint theme is packaged differently, and the installation of the theme will differ as well. 

Take, for example, the Marketofy PowerPoint template that is available via GraphicRiver. The download package includes a variety of .PPTX formats in different sizes. You simply open up the PPTX file and add your own content to build out your presentation quickly.

PowerPoint Theme Documentation
Downloaded PowerPoint themes from GraphicRiver or Envato Elements include documentation that covers how to use each theme.

Well-documented themes from GraphicRiver or PowerPoint include specific instructions for how to install your PowerPoint themes. Make the documentation your first stop after you download new PowerPoint templates.

Custom PowerPoint themes typically come in two types of formats: PowerPoint files (PPTX files), or .THMX / .POTX theme templates. Here's how to work with each type of file:

2. Work With PPTX Template Files

Many theme makers package custom PowerPoint themes as simple PPTX files, standard PowerPoint presentation files. You can add these to PowerPoint by double-clicking on them, or choosing File > Open inside PowerPoint.

The advantage of this approach is that the theme author can package many ideas for layouts inside the file. You can then pick and choose the slides that have the layouts you want, and add your content to them.

Marketofy PPTX presentation template
The Marketofy PowerPoint template is an example of a PowerPoint template packaged as a PPTX file, where you can use built-in slides and drop your own content into the template.

The disadvantage of this type of theme is that it doesn't feel as re-usable. Each time that you work with the custom PowerPoint theme, you'll need to open the original file, choose the slides to use, and add your content.

3. Or Use .THMX and .POTX Theme Files

The alternative to pre-built PPTX files are .THMX or .POTX files. These are reusable themes that you can add to PowerPoint and apply to your current presentation with a few clicks.

The Simplicity PowerPoint theme is a great example of this. It includes .THMX files that you can add to PowerPoint and repeatedly use.

When you have .THMX files (or .POTX in earlier versions of PowerPoint), create a folder to store the files in. Move the .THMX files to that folder.

Now, find the folder path where your themes are stored, such as C:\Users\Andrew\Themes, for example. You can click in the address bar in Windows explorer to grab this path if needed.

PowerPoint THMX Files path
Create a folder and move your .THMX theme files to start your own custom group of themes.

Now, return to PowerPoint and go to the File > Options menu. Find the Save setting on the left side. 

In the Default personal templates location, paste the path where your custom themes are located.

PowerPoint personal template storage
In the Save settings in PowerPoint's options, paste in the folder where your PowerPoint themes are stored

Your custom themes are now available in PowerPoint. Now, let's learn how to use them:

How to Change PowerPoint Theme Designs - Quickly 

So, you've installed your PowerPoint themes and you're ready to begin using them. Let's look at how to quickly change your theme.

If your PowerPoint themes were PPTX files, you can start using them as soon as you open the file. As I mentioned earlier, simply drop in your own content and you're using the custom theme.

For THMX files, you'll see these in the Personal Section when you create a new PowerPoint presentation. On the File > New menu, click on Personal to see your newly installed themes. Click on one of them to create a new presentation with the selected theme.

PowerPoint Personal Themes
On the File > New menu choose the Personal section to apply your own PowerPoint themes.

You might be accustomed to changing PowerPoint's themes on the ribbon. Unfortunately, your Personal PowerPoint themes don't automatically show up on PowerPoint's ribbon. You'll need to add the themes specifically to PowerPoint's ribbon to make them available.

PowerPoint themes ribbon
Custom PowerPoint themes don't automatically appear on the PowerPoint Design ribbon.

To add PowerPoint themes to the Design tab, click on the dropdown arrow on the right side of the Themes section. Choose Browse for Themes, and browse to your custom .THMX files. Then, choose Save Current Theme after you've added the custom theme.

Browse for Themes in PowerPoint
To make your themes appear on PowerPoint's ribbon, you'll need to Browse for Themes and choose the .THMX files, then save your current theme.

Now, your custom PowerPoint themes will be available on PowerPoint's ribbon. Simply click on the thumbnail to choose the new theme design you'd like to quickly apply to your presentation.

Learn More About Using PowerPoint to Make Great Presentations 

PowerPoint presentations are just supporting tools for speaking and sharing information, but that doesn't mean that we can't style and customize the look of them.

Check out these tutorials to learn more about PowerPoint presentations and check out top PowerPoint themes and templates. 

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We have just the right compliment to a professional PowerPoint template, that will help you learn the complete process of how to write, design, and deliver great presentations.

Download The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations now for FREE with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. Get your ideas formed into a powerful presentation that will move your audience. 

What are your favorite PowerPoint themes? Which ones do you turn to when you need to give an impactful presentation? Let me know in the comments.

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