How to Create a Custom Color Palette in PowerPoint

I always recommend using a color palette when you build slides. You will get your work done faster, enjoy building slides more and the slides will look more professional. One of the best places for creating a color palette is Kuler.

After you’ve created your color palette, you’ll want to program it into PowerPoint. Let me show you how. First, here is the color palette I use.

To build a custom color palette, the first thing you’ll do is go to Design > Colors > Create New Theme Colors. You’ll meet an interface that looks like this. It’s a bit confusing, so let me explain what you’re looking at.

 

1. Accent 1. This will be the default color when you draw lines and shapes. I recommend using gray for Accent 1, or whatever color you want your shapes to automatically contain.

 

2.Accent 2-6. The 5 colors from your color palette go into Accent 2-6. If you have more than 5 colors in your color palette, you can add them as Text/Background colors (described later).

 3. Hyperlinks. For hyperlink colors, choose one of your darker accent colors. For followed hyperlink, choose a lighter version of that accent color. Light colors indicate it’s been “depleted”

 

4. Text/Background – Dark 1 and Light 1 are your text colors. Dark1 can be black. Light1 can be white. These colors show up in the first two columns of your color menu and if you choose black and white you’ll end up with a complete range of grays in increments of 10%. Or you can choose different text colors if you prefer.

5. Text/Background – Dark 2 and Light 2 are your background colors. To be honest, these are a bit of a mystery to me since I use a white background for business slides or one of my accent colors if I need a color background. If you have more than 5 colors in your color palette, you might add them here, or just choose 2 extra colors you think you might need.

Now just name your new color theme, click “Save” and you’re done. Once your new color theme is saved, you can select it any time and your Color Picker pull-down menu will show your custom color palette, ready for use.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

Even More Ways to Print White Lines in PowerPoint – PowerPoint Video Tip #14

In a previous video, I showed you white lines in PowerPoint are printed as black lines. And I showed you a workaround.

Then presentation designer Krzysztof Baszton contacted me to tell me there are more elegant ways to accomplish this. Watch.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

Cheat Sheet for Creating Numbers Inside Circles

Sometimes it comes in handy to use numbers within your text to refer to numbers in your diagram. Like this slide.

You might just use a circle shape with a number inside it. But then, when you update the text, you also have to move the circle around manually. Time-consuming!

Instead, use the Windings2 font. It creates a number inside a circle that stays in place even as you update your text. You can also change the font size without having to resize the circle. Here’s a handy printable cheat sheet.

 

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

Changing PPT Defaults to Not Resize Text

After a workshop at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, I got this email question from one of the workshop attendees:

One of my biggest annoyances with the software is that it automatically resizes text, with the result being inconsistent and distracting font size issues. Do you know of a quick fix for this?

This is a common complaint and the solution is a bit kludgy. But here’s how to change the defaults so text boxes don’t resize and automatically change your font size to fit the text box.

1. First, right click on the text box and select Format Shape in the pop-up menu

2. Click on the “Text Box” tab

3. Click in the Autofit section “Do not Autofit”

donotautofit

Now you’ve changed the defaults on THAT text box. We’re now going to make THAT text box the default text box for this PowerPoint deck, and all future PowerPoint decks.

4. Type a word into that text box.

5. Copy that text box and paste it onto the slide.

6. Now you have two text boxes on the same slide. Delete the original text box leaving only the new text box you just pasted. (you might want to resize the original text box before you paste the second text box)

7. Right click on the text box and select “Set as Default Text Box”

setasdefault

Now, all new slides will be created with your new default text box that doesn’t resize text.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

Copying and Pasting Excel Graphs

When you copy a graph from Excel, don’t just paste it into the slide using Control-V. This will paste it as a graph still linked to the original data. If you change or delete the original data, even accidentally, the graph will also change. And if you email the PowerPoint to someone else you’ll also need to email them the Excel file with the data.

The best way to paste it is as a Windows Enhanced Metafile. This preserves the sharp edges of the image and it looks very professional. To paste, press Control-Alt-V and a window will open. Scroll through to find Windows Enhanced Metafile. This will save it with a border around the graph. I actually don’t like the border and use the cropping tool to remove it, but that’s more a personal taste.

The only problem with Windows Enhanced Metafile is you can’t change the colors of the bars, the text, or anything else. It’s just a picture. 

If you want to be able to manipulate the chart after you paste it, then paste it in a “vector” format (basically means in an editable format). Press Control-V and then select the little drop-down menu that appears in the lower right corner and select “Excel chart (entire workbook)”. In addition to being editable, the image also has no border around it and the background is transparent. Perfect for placing on top of slides with colored backgrounds.

copy-graph

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.