PowerPoint Formatting:
Save As Template

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101

Did you want: Working with Presentations: PowerPoint 2007,2010,2013,2016 or español

Once you put together a look that you really like for a presentation, you might want to keep it handy to use again. PowerPoint can save your design as a custom template.

Template files use the extension .pot, for PowerPoint template.

Location of Design Templates

WarningA custom template may not show in the usual list of templates, depending on exactly where it was saved.

Original templates:
The templates that come with PowerPoint are in a folder called Templates, in the folder where Microsoft Office was installed, which is usually-
 c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\Presentation Designs.

Custom template:
The templates that you save are probably not in the same folder as the templates that come with PowerPoint, even if they show in the same lists! For recent versions of Windows, your custom templates are probably in
 C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

Save in: box showing folder tree to custom templates- c:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

Your custom templates may be saved to a different location by default, if you are using an older version of Windows or Office or if you upgraded from an older version of Office.

Of course, you can save a custom template to whatever folder you want. You will just have to remember where that was and navigate to it when you want to use the template later.

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Presentations

Before you start...

Project 1: PowerPoint BasicsTo subtopics

Project 2: PowerPoint Formatting
    Design Issues
    Templates To subtopics
    Icon: Step-by-StepContent Template
    Icon: Step-by-StepDesign Template
    Icon: Step-by-StepSave As Template
    Transitions & AnimationsTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 3: Advanced PowerPointTo subtopics


What a Design Template Controls:

  • Slide:
    • Background of slide
    • Color scheme
      • Background
      • Text & lines
      • Shadows
      • Title text
      • Fills
      • Accent
      • Accent & hyperlink
      • Accent & followed hyperlink
  • Text:
    • Font
    • Font size
    • Font color
    • Bullet
    • Line spacing


  • Placeholders:
    • Display/hide placeholders
      • Title
      • Bullet text
      • Date/time
      • Slide number
      • Footer
    • Size
    • Lines (i.e. borders)
    • Background of placeholder
  • Slide transitions
  • Animations


We will hold off on transitions and animations until the next lesson, but you will work with most of the other features in the Step-by-Step below.

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step:Save As Template

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to modify a design template:
     color scheme
     font and font size
to remove and restore placeholders
to format a placeholder - fill, lines, size, position
to copy placeholder formatting with Format Painter
to format text directly
to save as a custom template with a new name
to apply a custom template

Start with:  Icon: Class diskAnniversary Trips Offer2.ppt from the previous lesson

Master: Change Color Scheme

  1.  If necessary, open Anniversary Trips Offer2.ppt from your Class disk.
  2. Open the Masters view. [View | Master | Slide Master]
    At the left are thumbnails of the title and slide masters for the two design templates being used in this presentation.

    View: Masters - Anniversary Trips Offer.ppt with two design templates being used

  3. If necessary, click on the bottom thumbnail at the left, the new title master.
  4. Pane: Color Scheme - blue selectedIn the Task Pane, click on the Color Schemes link at the top of the pane. Some standard colors schemes appear. Different color schemes are available for different templates.   The default color scheme is at the top. The thumbnail of the color scheme being used right now will have a dark blue border.
    None of these schemes are better than what we already have. But you can modify a color scheme in many ways. Let's make a change!
  5. If necessary, click  on the color scheme with the dark blue background, at the top of the pane. Unfortunately, these color schemes do not have names.
  6. Click on the link Link: Edit Color Schemes at the bottom of the pane, Edit Color Schemes...
    The dialog Edit Color Schemes appears with two tabs, Standard and Custom. The Standard tab repeats the same schemes you saw in the Slide Design task pane.

  7. Dialog: Edit Color Scheme - Custom tabClick on the Custom tab, if necessary.
    There is a list of aspects of a slide for which you can choose a color. We are interested only in the Background this time.
    Dialog: Background Color: Standard tab  
  8. With Background selected, click on the Change Color... button. A new dialog appears with an interesting palette of colors in a hexagon shape.
  9. Click on the first hexagon in the second row, a dark blue green, and click on OK to close the dialog and then on Apply to close the Edit Color Scheme dialog.
    Title Master with new background color
    The Title Master has changed to use the new background color, but it still has the color gradient. Super cool. How do they do that!???

    TipTry to use one of the colors in the color scheme when you format text or objects manually. That way, if you change to a new color scheme, your formatting will change automatically to match.

Master: Fonts

Changing the fonts in the Slide and Title Master will change all of the slides automatically. Very slick feature!

  1. Title placeholder text selected on MasterIn the new Title Master, click in the Title placeholder to select it.

  2. Button: Font - dropped with Franklin Gothic Heavy selectedOn the Formatting toolbar, change the font to Franklin Gothic Heavy.

    Icon: TroubleIf you do not see Franklin Gothic Heavy in the list of fonts, choose a similar sans-serif font with a wide stroke, like Arial Black.


  3. Master Title slide after changing fontSimilarly, change the font for the Subtitle placeholder to Franklin Gothic Heavy.

  4. Thumbnails of masters - #1 selectedSwitch to the Slide Master.
  5. Click on the first thumbnail in the Slides at the left.
  6. Click in the Slide Title placeholder to select it.
  7. Change the font to Franklin Gothic Medium
    Icon: Trouble Use Arial if Franklin Gothic Medium is not available.
  8. Click the Bold button.
  9. Click in the Text placeholder with the bullet list items.

  10. Slide Master after changing font to Franklin Gothic styles and bullet list size to 36Click the placeholder's border to select all of the bullet items at once.
  11. Change the font to Franklin Gothic Medium
    Icon: Trouble Use Arial if Franklin Gothic Medium is not available.

  12. Change the font size to 36.

Master: Bullets

You are not stuck with the choices of bullets for the different bullet levels in the template. You can change any of them to any symbol or picture that you have access to. So many choices!

  1. If necessary, open the Slide Master.
  2. Context Menu: Bullets and Numbering...Right click on the second level of bullets, which has a dash as its bullet shape.
  3. Dialog: Bullets and NumberingFrom the popup menu, select Bullets and Numbering... . If necessary click on the tab Bulleted.

  4. Click on Button: Customize the Customize button or Character button at the bottom right. The Symbol dialog appears. The Font box lists only fonts that PowerPoint recognizes as symbol fonts.

  5. Dialog: Symbol - Font control with Wingdings selectedScroll the Font list and select Wingdings. The characters in this font appear in the dialog.

  6. Dialog: Symbot - Wingdings font, small diamond selectedSelect the smallest size diamond.
    Icon: TroubleYour dialog may be smaller so that the smallest diamond appears in a different row and column.

  7. Master with new bullet shape appliedClick on OK to close the Symbols dialog and on OK again to close the Customize dialog. Your new symbol is now what you will see for all second level bulleted text on all slides. So cool!

Master: Remove Placeholders

PowerPoint shows all of the possible placeholders by default: Title, text, date/time, slide number, and footer. If you don't want to see one of these placeholders, you must delete it from the Master. If you change your mind, to add it back you must use the Master Layout checkboxes.

  1. If necessary, open the Master View again and select the Slide Master.
  2. Click in the Date/Time placeholder at the bottom left of the Master and press the DELETE key. The placeholder vanishes. So simple!
  3. Slide Master after deleting placeholders for Date/Time, Footer, and Slide NumberRepeat for the Footer and Slide Number placeholders.
    Let's change our minds and return the Footer, but this time you will put some text into it.

Master: Restore Placeholder

Once a placeholder has been deleted, you can get it back from the Master Layout dialog.

  1. Dialog: Master Layout - footer checkedFrom the menu select  Format  |  Master Layout . The Master Layout dialog appears. The gray boxes are already being displayed.
  2. Click in the checkbox for Footer and click on OK. The footer placeholder reappears with its default position, size, and formatting.

  3. Footer with textClick in the Footer area and type PowerPoint Formatting -  and then type your name. The text will wrap since the placeholder is not wide enough to hold this much text unless your name is really, really short!
    WarningOnly slides that use this master will now show the footer. You must format all of the slide and title masters if you want your footer on every slide.
    WarningTo see your new footer, the dialog Headers and Footers must also select to show the footer. Confusing!

Master: Format Placeholder

Placeholders are a special type of textbox, so they can be formatted with fill color and lines. Their length and width can be changed, too.

  1. If necessary, select the footer placeholder on the Slide Master again.
  2. Button: Fill - palette open - Accent Scheme Color selectedFrom the Drawing bar, open the Fill palette and choose the Accent Scheme Color. 

  3. Button: Line Color - palette opened, White selectedFrom the Drawing bar, open the Line Color palette and select White, which is the color for Text and Lines in this color scheme. Hmm. Guess this one was already chosen!

  4. Button: Line Style = 1 pt.From the Drawing bar, open the Line Style palette and select the 1 pt. solid line.

  5. Context Menu: Format PlaceholderRight click on the Footer placeholder and choose  Format Placeholder  from the popup menu. The Format AutoShape dialog appears with a number of choices, some of which you could also do from the Drawing bar or manually.
  6. Dialog: Format AutoShapeIf necessary, click on the Size tab.
  7. With the Lock Aspect box not checked, change the width to 200%.
    The placeholder stretches out to the right, but is now not centered. There is no automatic way to center a textbox!
  8. Click on OK to close the dialog.

    Slide Master footer extends to the right after increasing the size.

  9. Drag the placeholder back to the left until it seems centered again.

Slide Master footer centered again

Ruler shows mouse positionTipCenter a placeholder:
When the ruler is showing at the top [View | Ruler], a dotted line shows where the mouse is. To check the centering of the placeholder, position your mouse pointer over the top center handle of the placeholder Pointer over top center resizing handle changes to double arrow. and see if the dotted line is near the 0 on the ruler.

Placeholder: Copy Formatting

Format Painter can copy formatting from one textbox or placeholder to another. A great time-saver when you need to do the same formatting on different slides or masters!

  1. Footer placeholder with dots as border, showing that it is selectedSelect the Footer placeholder on your Slide Master. (The border should show as dots.)
  2. Click Button: Format Painter the Format Painter button on the Formatting bar. The mouse pointer changes to Pointer: Format Painter the Format Painter shape.
  3. Switch to the Title Master. This master still has the default placeholders across the bottom.
  4. Click on the Footer placeholder. The placeholder formatting is copied.
  5. Footer turns lavender on Title MasterUse Format Painter again on the second Title Master (the bottom thumbnail in the Slides pane).
    Surprise! The formatting is not the same as on the Slide Master! What happened??
    When you selected the blue for the footer background for the Slide Master, you selected from the colors in the Color Scheme. That blue is the color for Accents, as the popup tip showed. In the color scheme for the Title Slide, Accents are lavender, not blue. So Format Painter did its job right, just not the way we expected.
    Not to fear. It is easy to get the color we meant to use.
  6. Button: Fill - palette open with soft blue as Automatic colorWith the footer still selected, open the Fill palette. Our blue is the Automatic color! Click on Automatic. TaDa. The background is blue at last.
    Icon: TroubleIf the color you want is not in view, click the link More Fill Colors... to get to the palette of colors.
  7. Type the same text as before: PowerPoint Formatting - your name
  8. Close the Master View.
  9. Run the slide show again.
    Icon: TroubleFooter does not show: From the View menu select Headers and Footers, the Slides tab. Check the box for Footer. Do not type anything in the textbox. You put the text in the master.

    Icon: QuestionEvaluate: Does this new background color blend well with the other slides? Do the new fonts and font sizes work well? How does the new bullet shape do? Do you like the footer? Is it annoying? What would you change about this presentation to improve it??

  10. Open the dialog Headers and Footers from the View menu. Uncheck the box for the Footer and then click Apply to all.
    Now the footer will not show on the slides, but it is still part of the Master.

Slides: Fonts

Sometimes you want different formatting for just a couple of slides or even just certain words. It's easy to make formatting changes directly on the slides. Such changes are not saved to the template.

PowerPoint does not have a way to remember your formatting for just words or phrases. There are no character styles like Word has. Formatting from a Master is applied to a whole placeholder. At least the manual ways of formatting still work!

If you want to use a different format on more than just one slide, you might want to create an additional master.

  1. View Slide #9: What Went Wrong in Normal view. The text is running close to the bottom of the slide.

  2. Slide #9 after changing master and font size to 32Click in the bullet list area and then click the border to select the text placeholder.

  3. If necessary, change the font size to 32.

  4. Select the word "two" in the line "Difficult to work on two contests..."


  5. Button: Font Color - palette with Gold selectedChange the color to gold using the Font Color button's palette. Two in gold color

    The popup tip over the Gold color square does not name the color as usual. Instead, it tells you the what part of the current color scheme the color is, Title Text in this case. Is this helpful?


  6. Slide #10: Recommendations after changing bullet font size to 32If necessary, on Slide #10: Recommendations change the font size of the bullet list to 32.

  7. Icon: Class diskFrom the menu select   File | Save As . Use the name  Anniversary Trips Offer3.ppt  to save your changes as a new file on your Class disk.

    Full floppy disk How to handle a full Class disk

Save As Custom Design Template

You can save your changes to your Masters as a new template that you can use later.

WarningBe sure you saved your presentation first!

Where will it be saved? That depends!
It depends on the version of Office you are using, the operating system, and on whether you have enabled different logons for different people for the computer. Confusing!

  1. From the menu, select  File | Save As . The Save As dialog appears.
  2. Scroll the list of files types in the Save as type: box and select Design Template (*.pot). The Save in: location changes automatically to where PowerPoint expects to see custom templates. This is not necessarily where the original templates are!
    WarningSave location remembered temporarily: If you save to a different location and then start to use Save As again for this template, the dialog will not bring up the standard location. It remembers where you saved before. Once you close the presentation or else start a new one, then the dialog goes back to the standard template location. It's useful but scrambles your brain until you figure out what is going on!

    The default name for the template is the same as for the presentation itself. That is probably not a good plan!
  3. Change the File name: box to read Anniversay-xxx.pot, but replace the xxx with your own initials.

     Dialog: Save As - template

    Your dialog may show previously saved custom templates.

  4. Dialog: Save As - Templates - folder tree showingOpen the Save in: list at the top of the dialog to see where your template is going to be saved. Your PowerPoint may show a different location than the illustration at the right, which is from a WinXP computer and Office XP.

  5. Write down the full path to the custom templates. For the illustration the path is:
    C:\Documents and Settings\Jan\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

  6. Icon: Class diskClick on Save.
    The dialog closes.
    The title bar of your window changes to show the template name instead of the presentation's! Did you expect that? In most programs when you use Save As, the document on display changes to be the one you just saved.
    The Normal view still shows all the slides and text that you created before, so they must be part of the template. Will those parts be applied if you apply this design template to a new presentation?? No! Just the masters.

    WarningIf you keep working, any changes you made now would be saved to the template not to your presentation! You will have to open the presentation back up to work on it some more.

  7. Close the template but do not close PowerPoint.

Apply Custom Template

  1. Task Pane: Slide Design - Design Templates - showing new custom templateOpen a new blank presentation by clicking Button: New the New button on the toolbar.
  2. Open the Slide Design task pane to Design Templates. Your new customized template may show as a Recently used template. Or it may be in the section Available for Use.
    Thumbnail of custom template with multiple mastersTipThe thumbnail of the template has an icon at the bottom left of two overlapping slides. This indicates that the template has multiple slide masters. Smart!

    But what if it has been too long since it was used. How do you find it again? Depending on where it was saved to, it may be one of the thumbnails in the Design Templates pane. These are apparently arranged in alphabetical order, by location. What if you cannot find it there either?

  3. Click Link: Browse... the Browse... link at the bottom of the pane. The dialog Apply Design Template appears. PowerPoint brings together a list of templates that may actually be in different folders! Your custom template should be in this list. The templates that came with this version of PowerPoint are in the folder Presentation Designs. You might see other custom templates along with the one you just saved.  This could work out well!

    Dialog: Apply Design Template

    If you saved your template to a folder of your own choice, you can navigate to it from here. Whew! So many variations can be confusing!

  4. Select your custom template and click on Apply. A message box tells you that there are multiple masters in this template. PowerPoint will apply the first one automatically. Click Yes to include all of the masters from your custom template. The initial slide of the new presentation is formatted with your design template.
     Message: This design template has multiple masters. PowerPoint has applied the first master in the template...
  5. Close your new presentation without saving it.

Save As Custom Content Template

Once you have saved an existing presentation as a design template, you can add it to the list of Content Templates that appear in the AutoContent Wizard. Open the AutoContent Wizard and click the Next button. Select the category that you want your template to appear in. Click the Add... button and select your template. You're done! You can Cancel or continue with the wizard to create a new presentation that will show all of the text and images in your slides. So easy, when you know how!

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Last updated: 30 Apr 2012