Why is My PowerPoint Presentation Black and White?

There are a few common reasons why your PowerPoint presentation may suddenly appear black and white instead of color:

You switched to Grayscale view

PowerPoint has a Grayscale view option that allows you to see your slides in shades of gray. This is useful for visualizing how your slides will look when printed in black and white.

To check if you’re in Grayscale view:

  • Click the View tab
  • Check if the Grayscale button is highlighted blue. If so, click it to return to color view.

Your color theme changed

If you applied a new theme with a grayscale color variant, it can make your entire presentation appear black and white.

To fix this:

  • On the Design tab, click Colors
  • Select a theme with color instead of grayscale
  • The presentation will now display in color again

You flattened your background graphics

If you flattened your background graphics, PowerPoint will automatically convert them to grayscale when printing to conserve color ink. The setting carries over to your on-screen view as well.

To undo this:

  • Right click the flattened graphic
  • Select Format Background
  • Uncheck the Print backgrounds in grayscale option

Your printer settings changed

If your printer is set to print in grayscale, PowerPoint will preview your slides in grayscale even though you see color on screen.

To change this:

  • Go to File > Print
  • Make sure your printer is set to print in color mode
  • Your on-screen view will also return to color

Corrupted theme colors

In rare cases, your theme colors may become corrupted, causing everything to appear black and white.

To restore your colors:

  • Go to the Design tab
  • Under Variants, choose Colors > Customize Colors
  • Click the Reset button at the bottom to restore default colors

Conflict with graphics card drivers

Issues with your graphics card drivers can also sometimes cause black and white previews in PowerPoint.

To troubleshoot driver issues:

  • Update your graphics drivers to latest version
  • Disable hardware graphics acceleration in PowerPoint’s options
  • Use integrated graphics instead of discrete video card

Preventing Black and White Presentations

Here are some tips to avoid having your PowerPoint deck suddenly appear black and white:

  • Be careful when applying new themes – preview color variants first
  • Don’t flatten backgrounds until you’re ready to print
  • Always present in color view instead of grayscale
  • Confirm printer is set to color mode before PowerPoint preview
  • Keep graphics drivers updated to latest version

What to Do If Fixes Don’t Resolve the Issue

If you still see black and white slides after trying the fixes mentioned above, here are some additional things you can try:

  • Repair your Office installation to fix corrupt files
  • Update Windows and PowerPoint to latest versions
  • Try a different computer to isolate hardware/driver issues
  • Create a new presentation and move slides to test if it’s file corruption
  • Contact Microsoft Support if available through your Office license

While unusual, black and white issues can stem from theme files becoming corrupt. Creating a brand new presentation and moving your slides over is a reliable way to rule out file corruption issues.

Key Takeaways

Having your colorful PowerPoint presentation suddenly appear black and white can be alarming. But in most cases, it takes just a few simple steps to resolve:

  • Check if you’re in Grayscale view and switch back to color
  • Select a different theme with color instead of grayscale
  • Confirm background graphics and printer settings are configured for color
  • Update graphics drivers and PowerPoint/Windows to eliminate software conflicts

Paying attention to your color theme, background graphics settings, and printer options will help prevent black and white surprises when presenting your PowerPoint slides.