Just about anyone can create a PowerPoint presentation, but coming up with one that is really good is a different ball game entirely. That’s because piecing well-organized slides together from scratch is not the easiest thing to do, and it gets worse if you have to do this every single time you create a presentation.
Here’s free advice: ditch the blank slide and work with templates instead. Don’t know how to use PowerPoint templates? Not to worry. This quick guide will show you the basics.
But the tips here won’t make much sense if you’re new to Microsoft PowerPoint. If you’re not too familiar with the application program or you’ve forgotten the fundamentals, click here to read this easy-to-understand tutorial for a quick brush up.
What is a Microsoft PowerPoint Template?
A PowerPoint template is a professionally developed presentation that saves you time. Think of it as a blueprint containing a group of slides with pre-arranged layouts, background styles, fonts, colors, effects, and, in many cases, content.
Instead of starting a presentation design from a blank canvas, use templates to skip ahead and get things done faster and better.
Tip: Templates are presentations, so if something doesn’t sit well, open it and adjust or change it.
Creating a Presentation Based on a Template
You can learn all you want on how to use PowerPoint templates, but if you don’t know what to show or say to your intended audience, it can be difficult to choose a template that matches the idea you want to put out.
Therefore, the first step in creating a presentation based on a template is deciding what type of presentation you want to give.
Are you trying to be persuasive, or do you want to deliver information? Perhaps you are trying to introduce an idea or drive a decision. Whatever your purpose, make sure you have that figured out, then form a statement that captures the entire presentation.
When you’ve done that, write an outline that captures the key points of your presentation. Next, develop supporting points that connect to your initial statement. Make sure that each slide in your presentation can tie back perfectly to the overall goal of the presentation.
Microsoft PowerPoint comes with plenty of templates. Some of them include:
- Award certificates
- Business cards
- Expense reports
- Design slides
- Fax sheets
How to Apply Templates
Here’s how to choose and apply a template that matches the presentation you want to give.
- In PowerPoint, click File > New
- Do one of the following:
- Click the Featured tab to choose a template that comes with Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Click the Personal tab to choose a template that you have created (see how to create a new template in the next section).
- Search online for a template that matches your presentation by typing a phrase or keyword in the appropriate field. For example, to look for a business plan template online, type “Business plan” (without the quotation marks) in the Search for online templates and themes field.
Press the enter key and choose a template.
- Click Create once you have found your preferred template.
Creating a New Template
Sometimes, you just can’t find a template that appeals to you from the options that come with Microsoft PowerPoint. Fortunately, you can create your own.
All it takes is to create a presentation in the Slide Master with the color scheme, slide layouts, and every other setting you want. Save it as a PowerPoint template (.potx) file, and voila! You can share it with colleagues or reuse it anytime you wish.
Tip: If you are creating your own template, you can save yourself a lot of time and stress by purchasing a professional template from online sources and then customizing them to suit your unique needs.
How to Store Templates
If you got a template somewhere, make sure it is configured so that PowerPoint can find it. This will also make it easy for you to apply the template. To do this:
- Choose File > Options
- Click Save
- Enter the path where you want to save the template
- Ideally, you should select the default personal template folder
- Click OK
You can now create a new presentation based on any of the templates you have stored. To select your personalized template:
- Choose File > New
- Click Personal to see a list of all your personal (created or bought) templates
- Click on the one you want to use and follow the blueprint to design your presentation quickly
PowerPoint Template Tips and Tricks
Keep the following quick tips and tricks in mind when working with PowerPoint Templates:
- Remember to add guides around your placeholders. Doing this in the Slide Master will help maintain consistency.
- Add specialized placeholders that match the slide layout you are creating. For example, a picture placeholder works better for photo slides. It will automatically resize and crop itself more efficiently than if you used a multi-content placeholder.
- Do not embed custom fonts in your template. They may not display on all the computers that will use the template.
- It might be tempting, but don’t remove the bullet points inside the text placeholders. Other users might add bullet points when using your template and mess with your formatting.
- Don’t forget to add sample slides and user instructions to your template to make it easy for others to use it. Never assume that everyone knows how to use your template.
Templates are the ultimate shortcut to creating professional-looking presentations. They will save you hours of design work and give you the best finishes ever.
Now that you’ve learned how to use PowerPoint templates, why not give it a try and see if you can come up with some awesome presentations. If you design instructional materials, you can even upload them to YouTube (if you’re really proud of your work) to reach a greater audience. Wondering how you can do that? Check out this quick post.