PowerPoint 2003: Applying a Design Template

PowerPoint 2003 offers design templates that provide professionally designed layouts, colors, fonts, effects, and more to quickly create an attractive presentation. These templates can be applied to new or existing slides.

Benefits of Using Design Templates

Using design templates in PowerPoint 2003 has several key benefits:

  • Saves time – Applying a pre-made template is much faster than designing slides from scratch. The templates have coordinated designs that look professional.
  • Provides consistency – Using the same template across your presentation or for multiple presentations gives a consistent and branded look.
  • Offers variety – PowerPoint provides a diverse gallery of templates to match different presentation needs. More are available online from Office.com.
  • Easy to apply – It only takes a few clicks to apply a template. This makes it simple even for novice users.

Accessing Design Templates

There are a few ways to access design templates in PowerPoint 2003:

  • Slide Design task pane – The quickest way is through the task pane on the right. Here you can browse templates, see previews, and apply them.
  • Browse command – At the bottom of the Slide Design pane is a “Browse” button to search for more templates from Office.com.
  • New Presentation dialog box – When creating a new presentation, you can select “From Design Template” to start with a template.

Applying Templates

Applying a design template in PowerPoint 2003 is very simple:

  1. Open the presentation you want to apply the template to.
  2. In the Slide Design task pane, browse the available templates.
  3. Hover over a template to preview how it will look.
  4. Click on the template you want to apply.

The template will automatically be applied to all slides in your presentation.

Applying to Selected Slides

You can also apply a template to only certain slides:

  1. On the Slides tab, select the slide thumbnails you want to apply the template to.
  2. In the Slide Design pane, point to the template you want.
  3. Click the arrow next to the template and select “Apply to Selected Slides”.

This will apply the new design just to those slides you selected, leaving the rest unchanged.

Switching Templates

It’s easy to switch to a different template:

  1. Select the slide(s) you want to change.
  2. Click on the new template you want in the Slide Design pane.

The slides will be updated with the new template’s design.

Modifying Templates

While design templates provide coordinated designs, you may still want to modify them:

Color Schemes

Every template has several pre-made color schemes to choose from. To change the scheme:

  1. In the Design tab, expand the Color Schemes gallery.
  2. Select the color scheme you want.

This will update the colors across your presentation.

Background Styles

You can show or hide background graphics on a template:

  1. Right-click on the slide background.
  2. Select “Format Background”.
  3. Check/uncheck “Hide background graphics”.

Customizing Masters

For more advanced changes, you can edit the Slide Master:

  1. View the Slide Master through the View tab.
  2. Make changes like adding/removing content or changing font styles.
  3. Select Close Master View when done.

The Slide Master controls the default design of all slides using that template.

Saving a Custom Template

Once you have customized a design template, you can save it to reuse again:

  1. Click File > Save As.
  2. For file type, select “Design Template (*.pot)”.
  3. Give your template a name and save it.

The template will then be available to select under custom templates.

Best Practices

When working with templates, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Start with an accessible, blank template if possible.
  • Use a single, consistent Slide Master as the base.
  • Set fonts, colors, positions in the Slide Master.
  • Only hide background in layouts when necessary.
  • Don’t delete placeholders as they control formatting.
  • Check accessibility after customizing a template.


Applying a design template in PowerPoint 2003 allows anyone to quickly create professional-looking and consistent presentations. With just a few clicks, you can apply ready-made coordinated designs. While templates provide great starting points, you can also customize colors, backgrounds, masters, and more to adapt them further to your needs. By following template best practices, even novice users can build presentations as polished as design experts.