PowerPoint Tip – Get Rid of a Template

Have you ever wanted to redesign an existing PowerPoint template from scratch? And get rid of that awful template?

One solution is to design your own template and apply that to the presentation. I provide steps for creating a template in another tip.

But what if you don’t want any template at all? You just want to start with white space? Many presenters don’t use templates these days. Instead, they use a lot of white space, add a small amount of text and perhaps an image. It’s a minimalist style, sometimes called the Takahashi or Lessig Method, after two presenters that used this style. One or two words per slide, keep the pictures simple.

For another concept of a background-less presentation, look at this presentation on the Web, by Dick Hardt of Sxip Identity. I recommend that you watch it.

So, how do you start from scratch? Simply attach the Blank template. In PowerPoint 2002 and 2003, follow these steps:

1. Choose Format > Slide Design to open the Design task pane.

2. Under the Available for Use section, choose Default Design.pot.

Note: Even though the tooltip says Default Design.pot, the name of the file is blank.pot.

In PowerPoint 2007, choose the blank slide from the Themes group of the Design tab. Its tooltip is Office Theme.

To remove the current free powerpoint templates for one slide in PowerPoint 2002 or 2003, select the slide in the left pane, and then open the Design task pane. Instead of clicking the image of Default Design.pot, click its down arrow and choose Apply to Selected Slides. In PowerPoint 2007, right-click the Office Theme image and choose Apply to Selected Slides.

Unfortunately, PowerPoint hides the actual file, which is called blank.pot in 2003. If you look in the default location for templates, you won’t find this file! The default location in Windows XP is c:Documents and Settings[username]Application DataMicrosoftTemplates. In Vista, it’s c:Users[username] AppDataRoamingMicrosoftTemplates.

Earlier versions used blank presentation.pot. In PowerPoint 2003, the default template must be named blank.pot.

If for some reason you can’t find it in the Design task pane, you can probably open a new template based on it, as follows:

1. Start a new presentation .

2. In the New Presentation task pane, under New Presentation, choose Blank Presentation. In 2007, use the Design tab and choose Office Theme.

3. You can change this any way you like.

4. Save the file.

5. In the Save As dialog box, choose Design Template (*.pot) from the Save as Type drop-down list. (In 2007, choose PowerPoint Template (*.potx). When you do this, the folder automatically changes to the default free ppt templates folder.

6. Type blank in the File Name text box. (The file name extension is added automatically.)

7. Click Save.

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