There are times when you need to take a blank piece of paper (or, in this case, a blank presentation) and create your own design. There are other times when you have to use a design you have been given, such as a company template.

But on other occasions, perhaps you haven’t got time to start from scratch and, after all, why reinvent the wheel! Thankfully with PowerPoint you don’t have to! PowerPoint comes with ready-made themes that you can apply and modify to suit you, and a selection of templates that you can use and adapt, taking someone else’s design and making it your own.

What is the difference between a Theme and a Template? hear you ask?

Good question! Glad you asked

A Theme includes:

A collection of Slide Layouts

Set Fonts

Set Colours

It helps give your presentation a cohesive look and saves you time with formatting, keeping you on brand.

A Template, on the other hand, includes all the elements in the Theme and also standard slides with set text or images on them.

Start from the File Menu

Here you can choose to start with a ready-made design or one you have saved yourself.

PowerPoint presentations – where do I start?

At the top of the screen are designs that you have used before. You can also pin your favourite ones here.

  1. The New area
  2. Blank presentation for when you need a blank canvas
  3. More recently used designs or templates
  4. Office or Custom: the Office tab contains Templates and Themes designed by Microsoft, while the Custom tab is where your Templates and Themes are stored
  5. Search for more templates online – there are so many to choose from.

When you choose one of the templates from the Office tab (4), you will often be offered a choice of Themes. Here I have chosen a template called Circuit. You will see that I can choose one of four colour schemes:

PowerPoint presentations – where do I start?

Alternatively, once you have created the presentation using the template, take a look at the available choices in the Variants group on the Design tab.

PowerPoint presentations – where do I start?

Search for a Template

Under the Search box, you will see a list of categories to search in, i.e. Education, Business, etc. This helps narrow down the choices offered.

Another option is to type what you are looking for into the Search box. I typed in Teaching and this is the choice offered.

PowerPoint presentations – where do I start?

Having chosen one of the templates, I downloaded it and can now modify it to suit my needs.

PowerPoint presentations – where do I start?

I hope this has given you some ideas for when you are designing your presentations. As we all know, PowerPoint is a powerful tool – but it can also be fun to work with.

To learn more about using PowerPoint go to the Course Directory and choose from the PowerPoint Courses there.

Or better yet, get The HUB and get access to ALL my courses. You also get any new courses as they are added! The best value!

Shelley Fishel

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes