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Theme Builder Anomalies: Make Themes compatible with PowerPoint 2010 and 2011

Learn how to make the Themes saved in Theme Builder compatible with PowerPoint 2010 and 2011. This will help you resolve issues before you encounter them.

Working with Themes in various versions of Microsoft Office (and PowerPoint), we stumbled into a huge road-block: Theme THMX files saved in Theme Builder refused to be applied in PowerPoint 2010 (Windows) and 2011 (Mac). Strangely, these THMX files continued to work in PowerPoint 2007 (Windows) and 2008 (Mac). We compared the THMX files created by Theme Builder to those saved from within PowerPoint, and realized that Theme Builder actually removes content from THMX files. Worse, it does so without warning, and you can easily lose all your Slide Layouts, Slide Master, basic presentation info, and even the THMX file's thumbnail by just opening a perfectly good THMX and re-saving it within Theme Builder! Unfortunately, there are some parameters of a THMX file that are not exposed in PowerPoint. You must edit these either using an XML editor or Theme Builder.

If you have created or edited your Theme in Theme Builder, and want to use it in PowerPoint 2010 (Windows) or 2011 (Mac), there is a way out. You need an installed copy of PowerPoint 2007 for Windows (or PowerPoint 2008 for Mac). Follow these steps thereafter:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2007 or 2008. Make sure that you choose PowerPoint's basic blank presentation option:
  2. PowerPoint 2007 typically opens with a new slide in a presentation. This is based on the default "Office" Theme.
  3. PowerPoint 2008 brings up the Project Gallery. Just click Cancel in this gallery to open a blank presentation with a new slide based on the default "Office" Theme.


  4. Apply the broken Theme you have saved/edited in Theme Builder to this presentation. Explore these individual links if you don't know how to apply Themes:
  5. Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2007 for Windows
  6. Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2008 for Mac
  7. After applying the required Theme, save it as a Theme file. Explore these individual links if you don't know how to save Themes:
  8. Saving Themes In PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2007 for Windows
  9. Saving Themes In PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2008 for Mac
  10. You should save this as a new Theme, and not overwrite any existing Theme, to be on the safe side.
  11. Now, you can directly apply this new Theme in PowerPoint 2010 or 2011.