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Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2016 for Windows

Learn how to apply Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2016.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
OS: Windows 7 and higher






Applying a Theme to All Slides in a Presentation
Applying a Theme to Selected Slides in a Presentation
Applying Themes in Microsoft Word and Excel


Essentially Themes are like a style sheet for your Office documents -- they define how your text appears, where it appears, and also the layouts of your slides. Themes also influence how charts look within Excel and PowerPoint -- and also how your tables appear in all Office programs. You can also change the Theme for an Office document, sheet, or slide and watch how this simple task can change the overall appearance of your content.

Applying a Theme to All Slides in a Presentation

Applying a Theme to an existing presentation is easy -- and you'll find that plenty of Themes are already contained inside Office 2016. In PowerPoint 2016, these Themes can be found within the Design tab of Ribbon, as you can see in Figure 1.

Office Themes
Figure 1: Office Themes

Tip: If you want to learn more about the PowerPoint 2016 interface, look at the Ribbon and tabs and PowerPoint 2016 interface articles. Also learn about PowerPoint 2016's Super Themes.

Follow these steps to apply a new Theme to a presentation:

  1. Open an existing presentation, or create a new one in PowerPoint 2016.
  2. Now access the Design tab of the Ribbon. As you can see in Figure 2, there are thumbnail previews of several Themes available within the Themes gallery. To view the Themes drop-down gallery that contains even more thumbnail previews, click the More button (highlighted in red within Figure 2).

    Themes group within the Design tab
    Figure 2: Themes group within the Design tab
  3. This brings up the Themes drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 3.

    Themes drop-down gallery
    Figure 3: Themes drop-down gallery
  4. Now you have to just hover your mouse cursor over any of the thumbnails to see a live preview of the Theme on the open presentation -- once you have selected any of the Themes, click on it to apply. If you clicked by mistake, press Ctrl+Z to undo the last action.
Tip: You can also apply any PowerPoint presentation or template as a Theme -- even if it doesn't show up within the Themes drop-down gallery. To do that, select the Browse for Themes option (highlighted in red within Figure 3, above) and navigate to wherever the given presentation, template, or Theme is located. Select it, and click the Apply button.

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Applying a Theme to Selected Slides in a Presentation

Follow these steps to apply a Theme to selected slides in a presentation:

  1. Open an existing presentation, or create a new one in PowerPoint 2016.
  2. Select the slides in Slide Sorter view (or within the Slides pane on the left side of the interface) that you want to apply a new Theme to.
  3. With these slides selected, access the Design tab of the Ribbon. Choose any Theme within the Themes drop-down gallery, and right-click on the thumbnail of the Theme to bring up the context menu that you can see in Figure 4.

    Context menu within Themes drop-down gallery
    Figure 4: Context menu within Themes drop-down gallery
  4. In this context menu, choose the Apply to Selected Slides option (refer to Figure 4, above). Alternatively, you can simply click on the thumbnail to apply that Theme to all of the selected slides.
  5. Figure 5 shows the Theme applied to 2 of the 4 slides in the presentation (see the Slides pane).

    Theme applied to selected slides
    Figure 5: Theme applied to selected slides

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Applying Themes in Microsoft Word and Excel

The same Themes that you apply in PowerPoint can also be applied in Word and Excel -- in both of these programs, the way of accessing Themes gallery is different from that of PowerPoint. Follow these steps to apply a new Theme to a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet in 2016:

  1. Open an existing Word document or Excel spreadsheet, or create a new one.
  2. In Excel, access the Page Layout tab of the Ribbon, and click the Themes button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6.

    Themes button within Excel 2016
    Figure 6: Themes button within Excel 2016

    In Word, access the Design tab of the Ribbon, and click the Themes button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7.

    Themes button within Word 2016
    Figure 7: Themes button within Word 2016
  3. Clicking the Themes button (highlighted in red within Figures 6 above for Excel) reveals the Themes drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 8.

    Themes drop-down gallery in Excel 2016
    Figure 8: Themes drop-down gallery in Excel 2016
  4. As you can see above in Figure 8, Office is the default Theme for new documents and workbook (note the highlight surrounding the active Theme). In this gallery, click on the thumbnail of any other Theme to apply it to the open document or workbook.

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When you apply a Theme in PowerPoint, you add a set of coordinated backdrops, layouts, fonts, effects, colors, etc. Let's just say you want to change just the colors and fonts, and retain everything else in your presentation -- can you do that? Sure you can -- and we'll show you how to do that in subsequent tutorials.

See Also:

Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2013 for Windows
Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2011 for Mac
Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2010 for Windows
Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2008 for Mac
Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2007 for Windows

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences ebook.



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