Changing PowerPoint Templates

We are often asked how easy it is to change our PowerPoint templates.   Everything in our templates can be moved, sized, copied or deleted from the template.   I thought I would show some of the things you can do with our templates.  In order to make these changes you will need to be slightly familiar with the Slide Master and how it works to control the layout and the design of a PowerPoint template.

You can access the Slide Master by clicking on the view tab on the PowerPoint Ribbon.

Slide Master View in PowerPoint

Under the Slide Master you will find all the elements we have used to create the overall design of the template.  If you are editing an animated template, you will find the video files here that we use.  Also each swoosh, swoop, design box or divider we use in the template is located here as well.

Note: one exception is the 3D clip art we use is placed directly on the individual slides and is not part of the Slide Master.

There are typically several elements layered on top of each other, so you’ll want to have the selection pane open as well.

Opening the Selection Pane In PowerPoint 2010

Under the home tab in the ribbon, choose Select > Selection Pane.  The selection pane gives a list of all the elements that are on the slide and in what order they are stacked on top of each other.  Tip: This is a great way to get to an element that might be hidden beneath a text box or other element.

Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2010

For this tutorial I’m using the Global Energy template by PresenterMedia artist Josh Doohen.

Download Global Energy PowerPoint Template here.

By selecting different elements, moving and deleting, it was simple to create these distinct slide looks from the original title slide.

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19 Responses to “Changing PowerPoint Templates”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this great tip! You can learn all sorts of new tips and tricks about the latest PowerPoint 2010 at the PowerPoint page on Facebook. I recommend joining the community and conversation to learn more about it at

    Thanks again!
    Microsoft Office Outreach

  2. mark says:

    I have PPT 2010. I click on “slide master” under “view” and none of the options you display appear.

    Why do you make it so difficult to change and edit a template? PPT 2010 is so over designed it doesn’t work.

    • Art Holden says:

      Hi Mark, I am sorry to hear of your frustration. I’ve found PowerPoint 2010 the best version of PowerPoint so far, and I think as you get used to it, you will too.

      Based on your comment, I’m guessing that you didn’t find the selection pane. It’s located under the Home tab, at the very far right side of the ribbon.

      When we design our templates, we include the elements that are not normally changed in the Slide Master. This keeps the elements from getting in the way when adding your content to the slides. Editing the slide master is an advanced PowerPoint technique and I understand how it can be come frustrating. But once you have the slide master open and the Selection Pane open, you will be able to select all the design elements and move them around, delete them, or substitute different imagery.

      Art Holden

  3. Our company is still using 2007 version. Can you do a Help Series for those?

    • Art Holden says:

      Hi Dennis, In 2007 things are going to look just about the same as the screenshots in this tutorial. The way the SlideMaster works is the same in both 2010 and 2007 and the selection pane is in the same place, on the home tab, on the far right.

      Art Holden

  4. Mike says:

    How can I change the template/background of a 2007 presentation to an new template that my company issued – without having to redo the presentation?



  5. Mike says:

    I found out how to import slides to a new template.



  6. Piyush says:

    I was trying to change a mistake in the template provided by company’s branding team, but didn’t find any option. Did google and your article came as first link – and it solved my problem less than a minute.

    Many thanks.. Piyush

  7. Achilles says:

    I just downloaded a design template for powerpoint from

    The problem is that I’m unable to remove animation from any of the slides..i’ve tried master view and selection pane but the animation doesn’t show up anywhere..tried activating custom animation panel but it’s all greyed out.

    Tried disabling animations in slide show setup yet the problem persists

    Any answers?

    • Kara Jones says:


      You can get to the Master Slide and then if there is an animated video, right click the video and “save as picture”. Then delete the video and insert the picture in its place. Unfortunately the PowerPoint templates on the site do not have the same level of customization as our templates on our website.

  8. Jackie Jurkovich says:

    I used the Maze Arrow template today. Due to time restrictions, wanted to speed up the flow of the arrow. Through Slide Master, I was able to make some changes in the animation, but the actual speed of the arrow was not available. Is there any way to speed up the graphic that I did not find? Due to time constraints, we had to go to a static opening slide because the least amount of time I could get it down to was ~14 seconds. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but we were looking for about 7 seconds! Too much information/too little time!

    • Kara Jones says:

      Download the video directly from here and then manually adjust the timing using Windows Live Movie Maker or something similar (increase the speed by 1.25, 1.5 etc.) and save it back out, then replace the original video in the template.

  9. Tammy says:

    Thanks for this great info… I have inherited a template from a company. They keep providing updates to their template and sending it to apply to about 50 presentations. I save the newest version as a theme to hopefully quickly convert all existing PPT to these new updates. However, it is not working and acts erratically on each presentation. One example is that the font size suddenly increases on the layout master once the theme is applied. I have checked the content placeholders – they are set to 28 pt, but when the layout is applied to a specific size, the font sets to 30 pt… Reset does not impact because the layout itself has suddenly bumped up to 30 pt. How is this possible? If the layout of the saved theme was 28 pt, then when applied it should stay at 28 pt. This is happening on another text slide as well except the font goes from 20 pt down to 19 pt…. it just is making me question my skill set! Thanks for any direction you can provide.

    • Kara Jones says:


      Thanks for your question. Is it possible that the “parent” master layout is set differently than the lower hierarchy of master slides? That might be causing it to jump around a bit. also make sure that you don’t actually have two sets of master slides, a lot of the time there will be 2 “large” slides that look the same, but each has its own group under it. Also, it is reliant on the theme that you are bringing in. It might work best to save out the new “theme”/template, then copy+paste the older presentation into the new one without keeping the older presentation’s formatting.

  10. Ana Garrido says:

    Hi! I’m trying to use the Road to Success template but need to change the graphic on the content slides as it’s taking up too much room. I’d like to shrink it down to about half its size. I’ve found the Master Layout and the Selection pane but the graphic isn’t one of the things it’s letting me select. Is it possible to edit that graphic? Thank you!

  11. Jeffry B. Weidner says:

    Is there any way to select and edit the default background image supplied in a standard PowerPoint template? It’s the only element in the Slide Master that cannot normally be selected. I’m using PowerPoint 10, Windows 7. Thanks.

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