When you've been asked to speak in front of an audience, you're likely going to prepare speaking aids to show on screen and guide your presentation. But building out those slides takes time - time that you may not have while also writing all of the content for your presentation!
In this tutorial, what I want to show you is how easy and quick it can be to customize a PowerPoint presentation. You don't have to create your presentation from scratch, thanks to custom PowerPoint themes.
We're going to use a custom PowerPoint theme in this tutorial and customize it to appear the way we want. That includes our own branding and adding our own content to custom PowerPoint templates.
I'm also going to share my favorite tips to make it easier to build presentations quickly, so that you can spend more time preparing content and less time working in PowerPoint.
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Now, let's dive in to the tutorial.
Why Use PowerPoint?
PowerPoint doesn't always have the best reputation. Many forward-thinking presenters are now eschewing using slides at all and focusing on the spoken presentation instead.
While it's true that some PowerPoint presentations distract from the message at hand, I still believe that it's one of the best tools that you can use to enhance the presentation that you're giving.
Your slides can't be the tail that wags the dog; the purpose of slides is to supplement your presentation, not stand in for it. Well-constructed slides are aids and assistants, not the presentation itself.
The biggest reason that PowerPoint sometimes has a bad reputation is because presenters lean on it too much. Instead of explaining ideas to the audience, the slides have entire paragraphs on them. Or, presenters will stare at the screen the entire time instead of the audience.
This isn't the only way to use PowerPoint. When you know more about the features that it includes, I think you'll see why it's still a great tool to build confidence in the presentation.
Here are three reasons that I use PowerPoint for all of my presentations:
1. It's Friendly to Presenters
Using a presentation tool should serve you by making it easier to give the presentation by putting the right information in front of you instead of giving you something else to think about.
When it comes to using PowerPoint, three of my favorite presenter-friendly features include:
- Presenter view. Most of the time, you'll have two screens while presenting: a computer in front of you, and the larger screen that your audience will watch. Presenter view treats those screens differently and puts the information you need front and center.
- Speaker notes. Instead of writing out note cards and scrambling to read through them, add speaker notes to your slides to keep your prompts close.
- Rehearsed timings. If you know how long you want to stay on each slide, or how much time to wait before introducing animations onto a slide, rehearsing your timings really can automate the flow of your presentation.
These features combine to supplement the presentation process by keeping everything you need in one place.
Presenter View is perhaps the most important feature in this list. Check out a more complete guide to using it below:
2. It's Easy to Use
Few apps rival PowerPoint's ease-of-use. You can simply insert new placeholder boxes, drag-and-drop to reposition, and add your own content to quickly build supporting slides.
Even better, if you use other Microsoft apps like Excel or Word, there are easy ways to integrate the apps together. You can copy and paste a chart from Excel right into PowerPoint, for example.
Furthermore, PowerPoint is commonly accepted. Many people already know how to use it, so it's easy to send your slides to others for review and adjustment. That commonly-accepted aspect means that PowerPoint takes less work to collaborate.
If you haven't used the app extensively, make sure to check out our beginners' guide to using PowerPoint below:
- Microsoft PowerPointWhat Is Microsoft PowerPoint? +How to Start Using It For Presentations (Now)Andrew Childress
3. A Community of Custom PowerPoint Themes
You don't have to recreate the wheel when you're building out a PowerPoint presentation. I always start off by using someone else's pre-build PowerPoint template.
One of my favorite ways to grab custom PowerPoint themes is with my subscription to Envato Elements. Elements is an all-you-can download service that includes almost 1,000 different PowerPoint custom templates. You can use any of these to create your own presentation.
At the time of writing, Elements has over 900 Custom PowerPoint themes that you can download and use, all as part of a single subscription.
In this tutorial, we'll use one of these custom themes as an example to learn how to quickly customize a PowerPoint template. You'll see how you can use a presentation like this and substitute your own content into the theme. You can also find some great custom PowerPoint themes on GraphicRiver.
PowerPoint has some built-in designs. But they're a far cry from the professionalism and ease-of-use that these custom themes offer. In this tutorial, we'll learn how to customize one of those PowerPoint themes to build an example presentation.
Make sure to also check out the round-up below to see some of the best custom PowerPoint templates:
How to Build and Customize a PowerPoint Presentation
In this tutorial, let's walk through building an example PowerPoint presentation. I'm going to use a fictitious business case to show you how I approach building presentations.
Let's use the Buxe PowerPoint presentation theme that's available as a part of Envato Elements. This template is flexible enough to be used for practically any purpose, and even includes ten different color schemes for a variety of options.
If you're regularly giving presentations, a subscription to Elements is a no-brainer. Not only do you have access to that massive library of PowerPoint templates, but you also have plenty of other assets included that can really supplement the presentation. That includes stock photos, graphics, and more.
The reason that you should consider Buxe is that it includes plenty of ideas for building your own presentation. There are over 100 pre-built slide designs that you can simply add your own content to for easy slide design. You don't have to be a graphic designer to just add your own content to the slides.
I'll build out a showcase of my new fictional company using Buxe. No matter what your presentation is about, this will show you ideas for using a custom PowerPoint theme to create a presentation.
If Buxe isn't your type of style, check out our guide The Ultimate Guide to the Best PPT, which features an ever-updated selection of the best design options.
1. Build the Introductory Slide
Every presentation needs to get off to a solid start to grab the audience's attention and hold it. Buxe has a few options for this exact purpose, but I'm going to start off with a simple presentation that won't distract the audience.
For this slide, let's use the very first slide design in Buxe. It's simple enough that it's not going to distract the audience while my presentation kicks off.
In the lower left corner of many of the slide designs, the slide reads "The BUXE Company." We need to update this to our own details. You might notice that we can't simply type over the boxes in the main view. This is because those boxes are part of the Slide Master.
Simply type into the placeholder boxes on the Slide Master and the changes will apply to every slide that uses the master.
Check out the quick screencast below to learn how to use Slide Master view.
2. Show Off Your Services
No matter what your company or team offers, one of the best techniques is to showcase your work is to give a few examples of what you've done in the past. Again, Buxe has perfect slide designs that you can use to show off your work easily.
For this showcase, I'll use slide design 26 to drop in some brief details about what the company does. A couple of key services alongside screenshots can help support what you explain to the audience.
3. Share a Success Story
Even though we've already shown off some of our services, we can continue the conversation by showcasing a specific success story. This could help potential clients envision their own project and lead them to hire you.
Let's use slide design 91 to do just that. It's a simple and clean slide that we can customize easily. It's a simple text box and screenshot combination. For my example, I'll just add a screenshot of a specific project and a text description to showcase it front and center.
4. Continue the Conversation
Clients will frequently turn to companies and teams that they know, like, and trust. While many technical experts exist in every niche, getting hired is about starting a conversation with the clients. You may not sell your service during the course of the presentation, so you need to give them a chance to follow-up.
The Contact slide is certainly one of the most important ones that every presentation features. Leaving those contact details might lead to an audience member reaching out and hiring you. I used slide design 113 to drop in my own logo as well as the contact details.
These are just a few of the slides that you might build out as part of your presentation. Keep using the slide designs in Buxe to build out your presentation.
Recap & Keep Learning
This tutorial showcases how easy it is to make your own PowerPoint presentation with the help of custom themes. It's a huge advantage to take one of those custom PowerPoint templates and use it as the starting point for your presentation.
This tutorial used a custom PowerPoint theme from Envato Elements, but that's not the only option for themes. You can also find single PowerPoint themes that you can use on GraphicRiver, for example.
To continue learning PowerPoint, check out some of the other tutorials below to help conquer the learning curve quickly:
- Microsoft PowerPoint35 Best Infographic PowerPoint Presentation Templates—With Great PPT Data SlidesSean Hodge
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Learn PowerPoint Quickly (Complete Beginner's Guide)Andrew Childress
- Microsoft PowerPointPowerPoint Online vs Full PowerPoint 2016 on Your DesktopAndrew Childress
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You've just learned how to edit a PowerPoint template to make your own PowerPoint. Using custom PowerPoint templates can save you a lot of time. How do you reduce the time involved with building a PowerPoint presentation? Do you use custom themes or have designs of your own that you've built out? Let me know in the comments section below.
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