Quickly copy a design theme from one PowerPoint presentation to another

How many times have you started a PowerPoint presentation and then realized you needed to use a different template? Fortunately, there's an easy way to copy over the theme from one presentation to another.

This works in both PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2010. First, open both your source and destination documents (and close any others if more decks are open). Go to the View menu and click the Arrange All button so you can see both at the same time:

Arrange All

Now, select the source deck (pictured at right below) and then click on the thumbnail of the slide you want to copy the theme from. Once selected, click the Format Painter icon directly above it on the Ribbon:

Use Format Painter in source deck

Now click on the destination deck and then click the thumbnail of the slide you want to receive the theme:

Apply format to thumbnail in destination deck

You may need to click twice: Once to select the target deck and a second time to apply the format to the thumbnail.

This technique works best if you use it on a new presentation, since all new pages will be based on the new theme. But you can apply the format to all slides of an existing presentation if needed. Just double-click the Format Painter button before selecting the destination deck and then click on each of the slide thumbnails individually to apply the theme.


Comments (14)
  1. Frank Young says:

    THIS DOESN'T WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. AP says:

    Thanks, Suzanne!  This worked great for me and saved a lot of time.

  3. Bryan says:

    Frank, It worked just fine for me. One think I noticed though was if I applied a Title Page format to a non-title page slide, it wouldn't change that slide into a title page. I had to manually select a different slide layout.

  4. Anon says:

    This is really annoying. It copies the color scheme, but it also copies the entire Slide Master template for the imported slide. All I want is the color scheme.

  5. ST says:

    Thanks, Suzanne!  This worked great for me and saved a lot of time.

  6. Ed C. says:

    Thanks, you totally saved my bacon!

  7. chrispbarlow says:

    This saved me so much time last week! Thank you!

  8. Amolu says:

    Worked first time. Nice clear instructions. Thanks Suzanne.

  9. MM says:

    This was fantastic – THANK YOU!  PERFECT, CLEAR and EASY TO FOLLOW!  

  10. Pinyo D. says:

    Thank you, Suzanne. It saves my time.

  11. daisy4 says:

    Thanks Suzanne! great tip!

  12. Gerry says:

    Thank you, works perfectly.

    Was trying for ages to do this.

  13. JP says:

    Worked like a charm.

    In fact, I had selected all in my target document (Ctrl+A), and then just copied one page from the source document, and that formatted the entire target document in one go. Saved me 1-2 days of re-formatting.

    Thank you!!!

  14. That helped me quickly!

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