How to Set a Default Template in PowerPoint 2013

Categories: PowerPoint 2013, PPT 2010, and Themes and Templates.

In previous versions of PowerPoint, you could save a default template so that when you started PowerPoint or a new, blank presentation, you’d get the template of your choice rather than the default (blank white) Office template. This can be very helpful if you are required to use a corporate template, for example. (Here are instructions to save a default template in PowerPoint 2010 and prior.)

It’s not quite as simple in PowerPoint 2013, but it’s not difficult, either. You still have the same two requirements as always: it must be in the right place, and it must have the right name. Here’s what you do.

First turn on Hidden Folders in Windows.

To do so in Windows 7, open a folder and click Organize | Folder and Search Options.

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On the View tab, click Show hidden files, folders and drives.

To do so in Windows 8, open a folder (on the desktop – if you don’t have one, make one by right-clicking on the desktop and choosing New | Folder),

Click the View tab at the top of the folder.

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Check Hidden Items

Once hidden folders are showing, do the following to set your default template:

1. Open the presentation or template that you want to use for your default template.

2. Choose File | Save As | Computer | Browse

3. At the bottom of the dialog box, choose PowerPoint Template (*.potx) in the Save as Type dropdown menu.

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4. PowerPoint no longer takes you to the correct folder when you choose POTX as the file type. So navigate to C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates. This fulfills the “right place” requirement.

5. Name the file Blank (or Blank.potx). This fulfills the “right name” requirement.

6. Click Save.

Test by going to File | New or by re-starting PowerPoint. Your default template will be the first file listed on the start screen, where it will be labeled Default Theme – but it’s actually a default template, complete with any sample content slides you included.

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Note: PowerPoint also lets you set a default theme, but you can only have one or the other. If you’ve already set a default theme, then your default template won’t appear as described above. Biggest difference between a theme and a template? A template has sample slides. A theme doesn’t. (Well, there are other differences, but that’s the most important one in this situation.)

If you want to set a default theme, go to the Design tab, right-click the theme you want, and choose Set as Default Theme.

Comments

  1. Thank you. Your step by step instructions worked perfectly!

    Why Microsoft continues to make this so difficult, I’ll never know.

  2. Maria Olsen

    Hello,

    Thank you for this helpful set of steps.

    I have my blank.potx working fine and where I want it. My problem is that I would like to rename “Default Theme” to something of my choosing. Does anyone know how to do this?

    Regards
    Maria

  3. Pink

    Hi, thank you so much for your help. I tried the above steps but it keeps saving the file as forming a power point presentation rather than a template. I am not sure how should i savethe slides. Should i change fonts for all layouts then save or one slide is enough. Appreciate your help and thanks for your time.

  4. Echo Swinford

    Pink, there are a lot of places folks go wrong saving a file as a template, and it can be difficult to troubleshoot without a lot of back and forth. I suggest that you turn on file extensions in Windows as described. I also suggest that you manually navigate to the folder where you need to save the file. And don’t forget you must name it BLANK.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “Should i change fonts for all layouts then save or one slide is enough,” but one slide is sufficient for a template. If you need more help building a template in the first place, get the basics here https://support.office.com/en-US/Article/Create-and-save-a-PowerPoint-template-ee4429ad-2a74-4100-82f7-50f8169c8aca?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US or check my book for more advanced instruction http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0789749556/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&tag=echos-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0789749556

  5. Margo

    Is there no way to make this template the “default” in the sense that every time you open PowerPoint, it uses this template by default? I only seem to be able to make it labeled as default and the first option when I go to File > New, but it isn’t a true default in the sense that PowerPoint always creates all new presentations with this template.

    Is there a way to do that?

  6. Margo

    Nevermind! I figured it out. I thought Blank.potx was just a title the tutorial was using as a placeholder and it could be named anything, as long as it was a .potx. I renamed the file “Blank.potx” and it worked!

    Sorry for the other post!

  7. Echo Swinford

    Glad you figured it out, Margo. That happens to a lot of people. They don’t realize PowerPoint really is looking for a file specifically named BLANK.potx.

    Now that you’ve got it working, you can also open FIle | Options and untick “Show the Start screen when this application starts” to bypass that start screen altogether. (That’s what I thought you were asking at first, to be honest.)

  8. Ross

    Thank you. Brilliant. This material, and your customized color post and the resources you posted there, must be at the top, or near the top, of the resources available on the web for these matters.

  9. Barbara

    Hello, thanks for the clear instructions but I can’t seem to get this to work. I have followed the directions to the letter a few times. It seems to be defaulting to the location in Documents\Custom Office Templates to save the Blank.potx file. I am typing in your address “AppData\Roaming…”. Once I hit save it changes the location to the Documents folder. I can see my new blank template when I navigate to the Custom Templates folder, but it is not coming up as my Blank new template. Once I got a message that I was not allowed to access the folder and to contact an administrator. I am on my personal computer, a bootcamped Mac, operating on the PC Windows 8 side. Can you tell me how to solve? Many thanks in advance.

  10. Echo Swinford

    Hi, Barbara,

    When you save as and change the file type to POTX, the folder might change. Try navigating back to the app data\roaming … folder before hitting the Save button.

    Alternatively, copy the blank.potx file from the custom templates folder to the app data \ roaming … folder.

    If you’re getting a message to contact an administrator when you try to access a folder, try logging on as administrator and then copying the file to the correct folder.

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