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Create your own default presentation

Normally when you start PowerPoint you can create a new blank presentation or start a presentation based on one of the included templates. But what if you want PowerPoint to base all new presentations on your own template?

You can, and it's easy. You just need to open your template or a presentation based on it, save it in the correct location and give it the right name. The exact locations and names are a different for each version of PowerPoint, so choose the version you use:

For help creating your own template, visit Creating PowerPoint Templates by PowerPoint MVP Geetesh Bajaj.

PowerPoint 2013

Unlike earlier versions, PowerPoint 2013 no longer automatically takes you to the correct folder when you choose to save as template. Instead, you have to take it firmly by the hand and lead it there.

Open a template file or a presentation based on the template you want to use as your default, then.

  1. Choose File | Save As.
  2. Click Computer then click Browse.
  3. Choose PowerPoint Template (*.potx) in the Save as type: dropdown list box. PowerPoint automatically takes you to C:\Users\[YourUserName]\Documents\Custom Office Templates. Which isn't what we want. So ...
  4. Browse to C:\Users\[YourUserName]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates instead. Substitute your user name for [YourUserName].
  5. Name the file Blank (or Blank.potx) and click Save.
  6. Try it out: Choose File | New and choose the new Default Theme to make sure PowerPoint uses your new template (yep, PPT wants to call it Theme, but it's a template).

For a more detailed explanation, see How to set a default template in PowerPoint 2013 on Echosvoice.com.

PowerPoint 2007 and 2010

Open a template file or a presentation based on the template you want to use as your default, then.

  1. Click the Office Button (PPT 2007) or File (PPT 2010) and click Save As.
  2. Pick PowerPoint Template (*.potx) from the Save as type list box
    • PowerPoint automatically chooses the correct folder for you when you choose to save as a Template. Accept the folder it suggests. Write down the full path to the folder; you may need it later.
    • These are the correct folders:
      • Windows Vista:
        C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates
      • Windows XP:
        C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
      • If you are not taken to one of these folders, navigate there manually. Substitute your user name for UserName.
  3. Name the template Blank.POTX
  4. Click Save

Now when you choose Office Button (or File) | New | Blank Presentation, PPT bases the presentation on your new blank.potx template file.

To return to the original plain default blank template, delete the BLANK.POTX file you saved above.

PowerPoint 2007/2010 Alternate Method

If you like one of the themes in the Themes Gallery and would like to set it as your default:

  • Start a new blank presentation.
  • Click the Design tab on the ribbon.
  • In the Themes group, right-click the design you want to use as your default then click Set as Default Theme on the pop-up menu that appears.

(If you don't see the theme you want, use the scroll arrows at the right of the themes thumbnails to scroll through the available themes. Custom themes are listed at the top of the pane.)

Now new blank presentations will be based on the theme you just set as Default.

For more details directly from Microsoft, including information about templates for the other Office 2007 programs, please see How to manage templates in 2007 Office programs. Most of this information will apply to Office 2010 as well.

PowerPoint 2003 or 2002 (XP)

Open a template file or a presentation based on the template you want to use as your default, then.

  1. Choose File | Save As.
  2. Pick Design Template (*.pot) from the Save as type list box
    • PowerPoint automatically chooses the correct folder for you when you choose to save as a Template. Accept the folder it suggests. Write down the full path to the folder; you may need it later.
    • These are the correct folders:
      • Windows Vista:
        C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates
      • Windows XP:
        C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
      • If you are not taken to one of these folders, navigate there manually. Substitute your user name for UserName.
  3. Name the template Blank.POT
  4. Click Save.

PowerPoint 2002/2003 will automatically use your BLANK.POT when you start a new blank presentation.

To return to the original plain default blank template, delete the BLANK.POT file you saved above.

For more details directly from Microsoft, including information about templates for the other Office 2003 programs, please see How to manage the Office 2003 templates in Office 2003 programs.

For more details directly from Microsoft, including information about templates for the other Office 2002 programs, please see How to manage the Office XP templates in Office programs.

PowerPoint 2002 (XP) or 2003 Alternate Method

If you'd like to use one of the templates in the Available for Use section as your default:

  1. On the Slide Design task pane locate your template in the section labeled Available for Use.
  2. Click on it to see an arrowhead appear on the right side.
  3. Click on the arrowhead and select Use for all new presentations.

PowerPoint 97 or 2000

Open a template file or a presentation based on the template you want to use as your default, then.

  1. Choose File | Save As.
  2. Pick Design Template (*.pot) from the Save as type list box.
    • PowerPoint automatically chooses the correct folder for you when you choose to save as a Template. Accept the folder it suggests. Write down the full path to the folder; you may need it later.
    • The correct folder is:
      • Windows XP:
        C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates
      • Note: it may be different for Vista; Vista may not permit users to create files in this folder.
      • If you are not taken to one of these folders, navigate there manually. Substitute your user name for UserName.
  3. Name the template Blank Presentation.POT
  4. Click Save.

When you choose File | New, one of the available templates will be your new template, and whenever PowerPoint starts a new Blank presentation, it'll use your template

To return to the original plain default blank template, delete the BLANK PRESENTATION.POT file you saved above.

For more details directly from Microsoft, including information about templates for the other Office 2002 programs, please see How Office 2000 manages templates.

Mac PowerPoint 2011

To save a default template for PowerPoint 2011, set up your formatting, masters, etc. the way you want them and then save the presentation as Default Theme.thmx. As soon as you choose Office Theme (.thmx) next to Format, PowerPoint should automatically set the save-as location to this folder, but make sure it does before saving:

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

You can also cause an open file's formatting to be saved as the Default Theme.thmx.

On the Ribbon's Themes tab, click the down arrow next to the Save Theme button, and choose the Set Current Theme as Default. Note: if the current theme is already set as default, this option will be grayed out.

Mac PowerPoint 2008

To save a default template for PowerPoint 2008, set up your formatting, masters, etc. the way you want them and then save the presentation as Default Theme.thmx. As soon as you choose Office Theme (.thmx) next to Format, PowerPoint should automatically set the save-as location to this folder, but make sure it does before saving:

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

You can also set a presentation's theme to be the default theme in 2008 by doing this:

  • Choose View | Toolbox | Formatting Palette to display the toolbox.
  • In the Formatting Palette, click Save Theme.
  • In the dialog box that appears, don't change the location but choose Default Theme.thmx as the name for the new theme.

Mac PowerPoint 2004 and PowerPoint X

  • Start with a new, blank presentation.
  • Choose View | Master | Slide Master. Whatever you do on the slide master becomes the basis for any new slide in the presentation. Format it to suit your needs.
  • Click the CLOSE button on the little toolbar.
  • Now you are looking at the Title slide. This slide can be formatted any way you like and is independent of any slides that are added. Added slides will be like the slide master.
  • If you wish, you can add a Title Master while you're in Master view; newly added Title layout slides will follow the Title master, if there is one. To add one, choose Insert | New Title Master and format it to taste.
  • You might want to format the Handout master and Notes Master while you are in the formatting mood.
  • Once you have finished your formatting, choose File | Save As. Change the Format to Design Template which changes the extension to .pot.
  • By default, PowerPoint saves the template in My Templates; if you store it there, it'll appear in My Templates in the Project Gallery. If you save it to the Design folder (navigate to ...Microsoft Office 2004:Templates:Presentations:Designs) it will appear in the Designs folder under Presentations in the Project Gallery.
  • If you want the template to be the default whenever you open PowerPoint, save it to the Designs folder as above but click on Blank Presentation (that will correctly name the file - don't change it at all), then click Save and when asked, choose Replace.
  • The file called Blank Presentation (it has NO file extension) is the one that PowerPoint uses when it starts up and whenever you click the New Presentation button.

Thanks!

Thanks to Mac PowerPoint MVPs Jim Gordon and Mickey Stevens for the Mac instructions.

Thanks to PowerPoint MVPs Echo Swinford for the near-total rewrite and re-organization of this FAQ and Geetesh Bajaj for the updates for Mac 2008 and 2011.


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Create your own default presentation
http://www.pptfaq.com/FAQ01010_Create_your_own_default_presentation.htm
Last update 23 March, 2013
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