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Change the Default Theme in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to change the default Theme in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2011
OS: Mac OS X







Launch PowerPoint 2011 and you will typically see the Presentation Gallery -- you can accept the default Theme that shows up first or even click the Cancel button in this gallery to open a blank presentation with a new slide based on the same default Theme. When you type text within the placeholders of this slide, the text shows up in black over a white slide background. Most of the time this default look works, but you can change the defaults to something else -- for example, you can use any other PowerPoint Theme, including a custom Theme as the default.

You must make sure you save the new Theme in the right place, and also provide right name – and we explain how you do that later in this tutorial. Before we explore how to change the default Theme, let's see how the blank presentation looks, as shown in Figure 1.

PowerPoint 2011 interface with blank presentation
Figure 1: PowerPoint 2011 interface with a blank presentation

To change the default Theme, you first need to identify which Theme is applied to the active presentation. To find out the applied Theme name, explore our Identify the Active Theme in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.

Follow these steps to save any Theme as the default Theme in a specified location and also provide it with the right name:

  1. Open any existing presentation that is based on the Theme you want to save. You can make any changes to the formatting, such as changing the background color or text color, etc.

  2. Click the File | Save As menu option, as shown in Figure 2.

    Save As option to be selected
    Figure 2: Save As option to be selected

  3. This brings up the Save As dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.

    Save As dialog box
    Figure 3: Save As dialog box

  4. Within the Save As dialog box, select Office Theme (*.thmx) from the Format list, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4.

    Save as type list
    Figure 4: Save as type list

  5. PowerPoint automatically chooses the correct folder for you when you choose to save as a Theme:

    MacintoshHD:Users:<UserName>:Library:Application Support:Microsoft:Office:User Templates:My Themes

    You substitute <Username> with your computer username.

    Notice the area highlighted in blue within Figure 5, below. Can't read the folder path? Just click on the area to see the actual path (highlighted in green within Figure 6, below).

    Accept the folder location and provide a name to the Theme. Remember, the Theme must be named Default Theme, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5.

    Name the Theme as Default Theme
    Figure 5: Name the Theme as Default Theme

    Click to find out the path to the folder
    Figure 6: Click to find out the path to the folder

  6. Hereafter, when you choose the File | New menu option -- then a presentation will be created based on your new default Theme.

Note: To return to the original plain default Theme, just delete the Default Theme.thmx file you saved.

Here's an alternative way in which you can save an open file's formatting as the default Theme:

  1. With your presentation open, access the Themes tab (highlighted in red within Figure 7) of the Ribbon.

    Themes tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 7: Themes tab of the Ribbon

  2. Within the Themes tab, locate the Themes group. Hover the cursor over these Theme previews to make a down-arrow visible, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 7, above. This brings up the Themes drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 8.

    Themes drop-down gallery
    Figure 8: Themes drop-down gallery

  3. Now, click on any of the Themes to apply it to the presentation -- explore more in our Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2011 -- Mac tutorial.

  4. Within the Themes tab, now click the down-arrow within the Save Theme button (highlighted in blue within Figure 9). This will bring up the menu shown in Figure 9. Within this menu, choose the Save Current Theme as Default option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 9.

    Save Current Theme as Default
    Figure 9: Save Current Theme as Default

  5. Behind the scenes, PowerPoint automatically chooses the correct folder and saves the active Theme within that folder. The Theme is saved as Default Theme.thmx, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 10.

    Default Theme file within the appropriate location
    Figure 10: Default Theme file within the appropriate location

  6. Hereafter, when you choose the File | New menu option -- then a presentation will be created based on your new default Theme.

Note: To return to the original default Office Theme, click the down-arrow within the Save Theme button (highlighted in blue within Figure 9) -- and from the menu that appears choose the Reset Default to White Theme option.


Where are these folders?

Below is the correct folder for the default Theme (Default Theme.thmx) -- substitute your user name for <UserName>.

Office 2011 on Mac OS X: MacintoshHD:Users:<UserName>:Library:Application Support:Microsoft:Office:User Templates:My Themes

If you are not taken to one of these folders automatically, navigate there manually. The best part about knowing these folder locations is that once you have created the Default Theme.thmx file, you can easily copy this from one computer and then place it within the same location in any other computer -- you end up setting the default Theme without even launching PowerPoint!

See Also:

Change the Default Template or Theme in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Change the Default Template or Theme in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Change the Default Template or Theme in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Change the Default Template in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows

 

Office 2008 for Mac All-in-One For Dummies Office 2011 for Mac All-in-One For Dummies

If you liked this tutorial, do look at this book, authored by Geetesh Bajaj and James Gordon.

This book is the single most comprehensive content for Microsoft's latest Office suite offering for Mac users.

Check the book on Amazon.com...




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