PowerPoint 2016: Modifying Themes

Want to make your PowerPoint 2016 presentations stand out with a custom design? Modifying existing themes is an easy way to create a unique, professional look without starting from scratch.

Why Customize Themes?

PowerPoint comes packed with built-in themes that provide color schemes, fonts, effects, and layouts designed by professionals. So why bother tweaking them? Here are some key reasons:

  • Tailor the look for your brand: The default themes are versatile, but modifying a theme to match your company’s branding ensures consistency.
  • Fix themes that are “almost right”: Sometimes you like a theme but want to change an element or two like the colors or fonts. Customizing is faster than hunting for the perfect theme.
  • Make templates more useful: When you save a theme to use as a template, modifying it first means your templates will better suit your needs.
  • Unleash your creativity: Mix and match theme elements to give presentations a unique, creative flair.

The rest of this article will cover the ins and outs of modifying PowerPoint 2016 themes on Windows.

Access Theme Elements

To customize a theme:

  1. Go to the “Design” tab
  2. Click “Variants” > “Customize”

This opens a sidebar with the theme’s elements:

  • Colors
  • Fonts
  • Effects
  • Background Styles

PowerPoint customize themes

You can change any element, mixing and matching from other themes too.

Start with a Theme

Start by applying a theme from the gallery you want to modify before customizing it.

The effect options also depend on the theme. It’s easier to tweak theme elements than create totally custom effects.

Change Theme Colors

  1. Click “Colors” to view swatches of the 12 theme colors
  2. Click a swatch to change that color
  3. Select a new color from the dialog box
  4. Repeat for other colors you want to change
  5. Click “Apply to All Slides”

Change theme colors in Powerpoint

Theme colors include:

  • 4 text/background colors: Primary slide text/background
  • 6 accent colors: Secondary slide elements
  • 2 hyperlink colors

Aim for colors that coordinate. Custom combinations may look disjointed.

Save a Custom Color Theme

Once you’ve got the perfect color scheme, save it by:

  1. Clicking the “Themes” dropdown
  2. Choosing “Save Current Theme”
  3. Naming your color theme
  4. Clicking “Save”

The custom theme will appear in your theme list for easy access later.

Modify Theme Fonts

PowerPoint themes specify a heading and body text font. To change them:

  1. Click “Fonts”
  2. Click the dropdown under “Headings” or “Body”
  3. Select a font family and weight

Change fonts in PowerPoint themes

The entire theme updates to preview the font change. Not all text will switch though:

✅ Text using the previous theme fonts updates
❌ Manually formatted text keeps custom fonts

Aim to use fonts that pair well together and suit your brand style.

Change Theme Effects

Theme effects control the visual styling applied to shape and graphic elements. They impact the:

  • Shadows
  • Reflections
  • Glows
  • Bevels
  • 3D rotations

To modify effects:

  1. Click “Effects”
  2. Point to an effect thumbnail to preview changes on the slide
  3. Click an effect to apply it

Changing theme effects in PowerPoint

The variants list also shows effect combinations saved with the theme.

Tweak the Background Style

Theme backgrounds include color fills, gradients, images, textures and more that appear around slide edges and components.

To change them:

  1. Click “Background Styles”
  2. Point to a thumbnail to preview the background
  3. Click a background to apply it

Customize backgrounds in PowerPoint themes

Be mindful of backgrounds that obscure text or overwhelm the overall design.

Final Touches

A few extra tips for modifying themes:

  • Change slide layouts in Slide Master view to alter placeholders and arrangements
  • Reset theme elements by right-clicking slides and choosing “Reset Slide”
  • Save a custom theme by clicking “Save Current Theme” on the Design tab

Take advantage of modifying themes to make presentations uniquely yours without having to format everything manually. A little customization goes a long way!