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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


  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


    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?


  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 or check my book for more advanced instruction

  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.

  11. Eva

    I’ve followed all of the directions as stated here in this article but I cannot get this to work.
    I essentially am looking to have a certain powerpoint saved so that when I open a new presentation, it is automatically loaded with proper fonts, images, etc when I add a new slide. This should also show up in the proper formatting when you go to the slide master as well. I’m still not getting this. I have Windows 10 and Powerpoint 2013.
    Thanks for your help!

  12. Eva

    I have also unchecked the “Show the Start screen when this application starts” in the options section, and now all that it is doing is showing the presentation by default when you open, but when you add a new slide it adds from a blank template, and the design is not showing in slide master either. Where did I go wrong?

  13. Echo Swinford

    Eva: It sounds to me as though the presentation you want to use as the default template hasn’t been formatted properly.

    You must format the slide masters and layouts in order for those designs to be applied when you click File, new. This post is simply about how to set your (properly formatted) template or file to serve as the default file so that it opens by default when you open PowerPoint or start a new “blank” file in PowerPoint.

  14. elise


    Like many who’ve written, I’ve followed your directions. I’m especially frustrated because I’ve made a custom template before and am trying to just change something small in it (not resizing text size to text box).

    In any regard, I’m saving in “Users…Roaming\Microsoft\Templates” and it is not working for me. There’s only one “blank” template saved in there–and it’s the one I want! But when I open PPT, the correct one does not load.

    Is there some secret folder where the old blank file might be hiding? I can’t even find it on my computer anymore … but ppt manages to find and load it.


  15. Echo Swinford

    Hi, Elise,

    I’ve had that same problem, so you’re definitely not alone. Problem is, I don’t know exactly where the problem actually lies. Here are some thoughts, though.

    First, head to File | Options in PowerPoint. What’s listed on the Save tab under Default Personal Templates Location? By default it is something like C:\\Users\\Documents\Custom Office Templates\, but you may have changed it. Look for Blank.POTX in the folder listed.

    Also, your “Blank” file is POTX, right? Not PPTX?

    The other thing is, maybe you can opt for a default theme instead of a default template? Open the file you want to use as the default, choose File | Save As, and then in the save as type dropdown, choose Office Theme (*.thmx). That file goes in this folder (where PPT definitely will take you by default): C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Document Themes. This is just one level lower than where you’d save the default template.

    Once the THMX file is in that folder, you’ll see it in the gallery on the Design tab. You can right-click its thumbnail in the gallery and choose Set as Default Theme. You won’t get any sample slides and a couple of other minor things, but for the most part it’s the same, and it seems to be more reliable than saving a default template.

  16. Many thanks. Perfect I can now do what I did with the old powerpoint, quickly and efficiently. Yes good old MS at it again.
    The galling thing is that my company is paying handsomely for a “corporate” license, and the first time you use MS latest 7 greatest ( repaired) version of powerpoint, you run into a set of screens that forces you to go browsing on the web.

  17. Di Schuler

    First, thank you.
    Second, I love you and the work you do.
    Please keep doing it.

  18. Heithcliff

    The instructions do not seem to work for PowerPoint 2016. One cannot right click on the themes to save as the default theme. Any suggestions?

  19. Jill

    Thank you – this was so helpful! Remember to name the template “BLANK” for this to work (I missed that the first time).

  20. Elaine

    This works great for creating a NEW presentation, however what if you want to add a custom template to an EXISTING presentation? I cannot seem to get this to work. …I went to Design tab > Browse for Themes… and chose the template I created, however it did not apply the color and graphics that were embedded into the Slide Master.

  21. Echo Swinford

    re applying a custom template to an existing presentation

    How did you embed the color and graphics into the slide master in your custom template? It could be that none of the layouts match up, so you need to go through the existing slides and apply the correct layouts to them.

    As a test, what happens if you apply one of the stock Microsoft themes to your existing presentation?

  22. JP Cummings

    Nope. Didn’t work.

    I appreciate your effort, but I had already done this (and re-did it just to make sure) but I still get the gawd-awful MSFT default presentation

  23. Pradeep Kumar V

    Can’t we replace the Blank Presentation with our Blank.potx. File -> New shows default theme for blank.potx and also we have Blank Presentation. Even when I click Blank presentation, the powerpoint should open our Blank.potx.. Please assit

  24. Echo Swinford

    Hi, Pradeep —

    Yes, you can use your own Blank.potx as the default template.

    It must be named Blank.potx, though — you can’t name it, for example, MyCompanyTemplate.potx. PowerPoint looks for a file named Blank.potx

    You knew that already! But what isn’t so obvious is …

    In some versions of PowerPoint, when you go to File –> New, your Blank.potx will be named Default Theme. But it is still really your template. :-)

    I think that Blank Presentation also appearing here might actually be a new-ish thing. Microsoft keeps making changes in this space, so it’s hard to say for sure, but Blank Presentation is the true blank stock Office theme. If you replace the stock theme with your own blank template or theme, PowerPoint still keeps this “true blank” Blank Presentation so it’s always available just in case.

    The short answer is:
    Blank.POTX goes here: C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\
    in File –> New, it will be named Default Theme

    I know, I know. Don’t shoot the messenger!

  25. Thomas

    I managed to make this work, thanks!
    My question is: isthere a way to make the template available for use as a master in any presentation? What I’d like is always have my company’s template available in the master view.

  26. Echo Swinford

    Hi, Thomas —

    If you want your company’s template to always be available but you don’t want to make it the default template, then put it in folder designated for custom templates. By default, that folder is C:\Documents\Custom Office Templates\.

    To see where that is on your own system, open PowerPoint and go to File | Options | Save. Look at the path listed in Default Personal Templates Location. Then save the corporate template there.

    Now when you open PowerPoint, on the screen with all the stock theme thumbnails, you should see FEATURED and then CUSTOM or PERSONAL just above the thumbnails. Click CUSTOM or PERSONAL, and your company template should be there.

  27. Alex

    Usually, I will “right click-New-MS office PPT” to creat a ppt file. It not working use above method.


  1. WP says:

    […] 2. How to Set a Default Template in PowerPoint 2013 […]

  2. […] For more detailed step-by-step instructions, click here for PowerPoint 2010 or (PowerPoint 2013). […]

  3. […] How to Set a Default Template in PowerPoint 2013 | … – 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 …… […]

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