Making a Theme for a PowerPoint Presentation in Office 2011 for Mac - dummies

Making a Theme for a PowerPoint Presentation in Office 2011 for Mac

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

Whether you work alone or with a design team, PowerPoint 2011 for Mac has the tools you need to ensure consistency throughout your Office 2011 creations, while making it easy to customize and save your work so you can re-use your best ideas again later. With PowerPoint 2011 for Mac, you can use built-in and downloaded themes, as well as make your own.


It’s easy to customize a Theme Color set using the Create Theme Colors dialog. Follow these steps:

  1. Open any PowerPoint presentation.

  2. Choose Format→Theme Colors from the menu bar; alternatively, on the Ribbon’s Themes tab, in the Theme Options group, choose Colors→Create Theme Colors.

  3. Double click a color square.

    The Mac OS X color picker displays.

    Alternatively, you can choose a color square and then click Change Color to display the color picker.

  4. In the Mac OS X color picker, choose a color.

  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for each color you want to format.

    Your Theme Colors set is ready to be saved.

  6. In the Name field, type a name for your new theme.

    Clicking Cancel closes the Create Theme Colors dialog without making a new theme.

  7. Click Apply to All.

Your new Theme Color set is applied to your presentation and is automatically saved as a Theme Color set. You can find your new Theme Color set in the list of themes in the Colors pop-up menu (on the Ribbon’s Themes tab, in the Theme Options group, click Colors) the next time you start PowerPoint. In addition, these customized color themes also show up in Word and Excel on your computer.

Before you can see a saved theme in the Themes tab of the Ribbon, you must quit and then re-open an Office application to refresh its Ribbon tabs.

Use black and white for the first two colors and then use alternating light and dark colors for the third and fourth colors in the Create Theme Colors dialog. Contrasting colors should be used so that people with impaired vision can discern text from the background. Using close shades of a color for text and background may be trendy, but this is unreadable for many people. Using equal color values for red and green, or blue and yellow is also a bad idea, as colorblind people can’t discern any difference within these color pairings.

Theme Colors are stored as XML files in this directory:

Hard Drive/Users/UserName/Library/Application Support/
Microsoft/Office/User Templates/My Themes/Theme Colors