How to Customise Theme Colours in PowerPoint

PowerPoint has default colours built-in to any new presentation or template. The bad news is that they aren’t great, but the good news is that you can change the colours to whatever you want. You can choose from a selection of alternative Office options:

Built in options

Alternatively, you can customise theme colours in PowerPoint to match your branding or a specific project or department.

First, make sure you have your brand colours to hand as RGB values. If you only have them in CMYK, you can convert them easily enough in InDesign or there are online conversion tools such as this one.

Customise Theme Colours in PowerPoint:

  1. Go to the Design tab
  2. Click on the down arrow in the Variants group
  3. Select Colors and click Customize Colors
  4. Edit custom colours to match your branding

Theme Colour dialog box

Create new Theme Colours

This allows you to change accent colour, hyperlink colour, and backgrounds for a look and feel that match your branding. The first of these colours will change the default font text colour and the second is for the default slide background. We find it’s best not to load colours into the first 4. Stick to text and background colours only.

The next 6 colours are Accents 1-6. These are important as they are used for charts, in order. Consider which colours you want to appear next to each other in a pie or bar chart, and load in as Accent 1-6 accordingly. These Accent colours also are used in the default table design options in PowerPoint (and Word/Excel).

Finally the hyperlink / followed hyperlink colour: it’s always a blue and dark magenta by default. So if you prefer something more in keeping with your branding then definitely specify different colours.

Adding additional colours with a VBA hack

For the more technical out there you can go one step further with this and add an additional row of custom colours to the palette. This involves editing the VBA of the PowerPoint file. It’s not simple, but you’ll find more information online, for example here.
We can do this for you of course, so get in touch if you need more than 6 accent colours in your PowerPoint template!