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Change the Default Template or Theme in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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 a 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.
    3. Save As option to be selected
      Figure 2: Save As option to be selected
    4. This brings up the Save As dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.
    5. Save As dialog box
      Figure 3: Save As dialog box
    6. Within the Save As dialog box, select Office Theme (*.thmx) from the Format list, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4.
    7. Save as type list
      Figure 4: Save as type list
    8. PowerPoint automatically chooses the correct folder for you when you choose to save as a Theme:
    9. MacintoshHD:Users:<UserName>:Library:Application Support:Microsoft:Office:User Templates:My Themes
    10. You substitute <Username> with your computer username.
    11. 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).
    12. 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.
    13. Name the Theme as Default Theme
      Figure 5: Name the Theme as Default Theme
    14. Click to find out the path to the folder
      Figure 6: Click to find out the path to the folder
    15. 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.
    2. Themes tab of the Ribbon
      Figure 7: Themes tab of the Ribbon
    3. 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.
    4. Themes drop-down gallery
      Figure 8: Themes drop-down gallery
    5. Now, click on any of the Themes to apply it to the presentation. Explore more in our Applying Themes in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
    6. 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.
    7. Save Current Theme as Default
      Figure 9: Save Current Theme as Default
    8. 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.
    9. Default Theme file within the appropriate location
      Figure 10: Default Theme file within the appropriate location
    10. 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:

    Themes Basics: Change the Default Template or Theme in PowerPoint (Index Page)

    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 or Theme in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows

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