Color Schemes in PPT can be either a help or a hindrance–and sometimes both! The trick to making them more helpful than not is to understand how they work– what colors are being applied where, and why.
If you’re using PPT 97 or 2000, use Format–>Slide Color Scheme to get to the PPT color schemes.
If you’re using PPT 2002 (aka PPT XP), the color schemes are under Format–>Slide Design. Even if you don’t want to apply a design template, you need to use Format–>Slide Design to be able to get to the color scheme.
After you’ve applied a slide design by clicking on one of the thumbails and choosing “Apply” from the arrow on the right of the thumbnail, you can change the color scheme of that design by clicking on Color Schemes at the top of the taskpane. The design templates will be replaced by different color scheme options.
By default, the color scheme that’s applied to your slides is the one in the top left of the color schemes taskpane, as that’s what the actual design template is based on.
This is very similar to the Format–>Slide Color Scheme tab that shows up in PPT 97/2000, but it seems different at first because it’s stretched out on the right.
Now, in PPT97/2000, you can hit the “Custom” tab in Format–>Slide Color Scheme to get to where you edit the color scheme. In PPT 2002, that command is at the bottom of the Color Schemes taskpane; it’s a smallish “Edit Color Schemes” textlink.
Click on “Edit Color Schemes,” and you’ll get something similar to the picture below.
In this case, I changed the Shadows color, the Title Text color, and the 2nd Accent color. (Just click the box, hit the “Change Color” button, select the color you want using the standard color wheel or the Custom options, and OK your way out of there.) You can see the results below.
Notice that my modifications have been saved in the taskpane as a new color scheme.
You might be wondering why, when I changed the Shadows color, the background of the template changed. Well, this is because this particular template’s background was created using the Shadow color as the 2nd gradient color for the background.
You can see this by going to Format–>Background. If you navigate your way to the Fill Effects, you’ll see the following:
Notice that the third swatch is one of the gradient colors. The third swatch is only labeled “shadows” because shadows are set to pick up this color by default. But you can use the color for anything you want.
Notice that the colors from Edit Color Scheme match the swatches in your paintbucket, line and text tools.
Selecting different color schemes from the ones in the thumbnails also works like in PPT97/2000.
Here’s design template “Azure” with the default selected. (Had to use this one somewhere–Azure is my sister’s name, hehehe.)
And here it is with one of the alternative schemes selected. Notice how the swatch colors change, too.
I know this thing has gone on forever, but it’s important that you understand this stuff in order to know how and why colors will change when you drag a slide with one template into a presentation based on a different design template. That’s covered on the next page.