CPS100 • Introduction to Computers

Lakeland College • Japan Campus

Layouts & Themes: Not in This Class

In this class, we will focus on creating original content. For that reason, we will almost always begin with blank slides. However, it is useful for you to know that PowerPoint has pre-made designs you can use, if you need to.

For better or worse, PowerPoint is pretty much universal these days. It is ubiquitous in offices around the world. Any time anyone wants to create a presentation with visuals, they reach for PowerPoint. If you work for a company which holds frequent meetings, be prepared to encounter PowerPoint often.

For people in a hurry, or those who don't feel they are creative, PowerPoint provides tools that do the designing for them. Slide Layouts allow people to simply type text and add graphics in pre-made boxes within the slide, and Themes create colorful designs which can look professional.


There is a problem: PowerPoint only has about 20 themes built-in, and only perhaps half a dozen of them are actually very nice. This fact means that most users will use the same themes--over and over and over again. You will soon begin to recognize themes, and even if they look professional, you will see them as a sign of laziness or a lack of creativity. You will see the same design and layout, and realize that this person spent perhaps three minutes making the slideshow.

Because PowerPoint presentations are so common, you will want to be as original as possible when making your own slide show, with creative backgrounds, original layouts, and interesting or even fun designs & animations.

Dilbert, by Scott Adams, 8/16/2000


When you first open PowerPoint, you will see a slide that look like this:

This is the Title Slide layout. There are two text placeholders, the one on top (for the main title) being larger (44 pt., black) and the one on the bottom (for the subtitle) being smaller (32 pt., grey). These text boxes have pre-set sizes, colors, and fonts; all you have to do is click inside them and type.

When you create subsequent slides, they will look like this:

This is the Title and Content layout, which has a slide title and a larger placeholder for a bullet list, though you have the option of inserting media, such as an image or chart, instead. There are more layouts, but those are the standard two.

In order to change the layout of a slide, you must go to the Home tab in the Ribbon, and look in the Slide group; you will see a button named "Layout." Click on the button and a visual menu drops down.

Here you can choose any layout. In our class, that choice will most often be "Blank." In fact, when you create a new presentation, I would ask that you automatically switch to a Blank layout, unless I tell you otherwise.

It is possible to create your own custom layouts in the Slide Master, which we will study later in this unit.


PowerPoint 2010 comes with 40 built-in themes (2007 had 20). They can be found in the Design tab in the Ribbon:

To see all themes, click on the "More" button at the far lower-right of the themes area:

This will make the "All Themes" menu drop down:

When you choose a theme, you will notice that certain things change. Each slide now uses custom fonts, font sizes, font colors, dividers, and backgrounds; there are even sometimes special graphics for some slides (such as image bullets for lists). Each layout will have a different version of the theme according to that layout.

The layout menu, with no theme, and with a theme; note how not only the colors change, but also the alignment, effects, fonts, bullet points, and other small details:

A bullet-point slide, with no theme, and with themes:

As I mentioned above, we will not use themes for this class. If you use a theme, you do not learn how to use PowerPoint fully, because PowerPoint will be doing the work instead of you. We will learn to create our own layouts and styles using PowerPoint's basic toolset.

If you use a theme in your presentation project, you will lose points.

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