Working with Custom Color Palettes in PowerPoint 2010

When designing PowerPoint templates or slides it is recommended to work with color themes and palettes. This will give you the flexibility to edit the overall graphics and colors globally without going over each slide at a time.

Here we will show you some examples how you can take advantage of the color themes to match your brand colors.

How to use the color themes in PowerPoint 2010

Using the color themes in PowerPoint you can match your brand or visual identity colors as well as finding very good color schemes for your diagrams or customize your templates in a way that the end user can change the color tones easily.

This figure above shows where to change the active color scheme in PowerPoint.  From the Color menu you can change to the Built-in color schemes to use any custom color scheme which will be available for the active presentation. You can also create a new color theme or reset the slide theme colors.

This is how the custom diagram we have created looks after we changed the color scheme.

Defining a new Color Theme from Online Color Toolboxes

There are plenty of resources where you can get nice color schemes to use in your presentations and PowerPoint templates, but if you are looking to generate a simple set of colors then Kuler can be a good source. Kuler is a tool from Adobe that let you generate different colors based on rules. If you are a color theory expert then you will understand this easily, even better than us, but for the only purpose of creating a custom PowerPoint presentation design using a custom color scheme, we have created a simple color scheme based on Compound rule.

Then, in PowerPoint we need to go to Colors and create a new Theme.

Here we can choose the Accent colors from 1 to 6 which will be useful for the colors used in diagrams, graphics and tables. We can manually edit each color, unfortunately there is no any other way to do that in PowerPoint 2010 unless you use a plugin (the time we wanted to use the Swatch plugin we got a search installer which is discouraged, so we won’t recommend it).

In the Red, Green, Blue values you need to enter the values you got from the Kuler generated colors, as shown in the figure below.

Then, manually apply each custom color RGB values from Accent 1 to 6 and then save the changes.

Now, here for each element in your diagram or chart choose the Shape Fill color. But the important step here is to avoid choosing a color from the standard bar. Of course you can do it, but if you use the Theme Colors then the slide colors will change accordingly if you decide to change the theme in the future. This helps to make customizable templates in PowerPoint and other team members or even designers can later change the slide colors easily.

For each component or shape we can assign a different Accent N color from the Themes palette, where N is the value from 1 to 6. Moreover, you can choose from different color schemes that are auto-generated, which will help to select a similar color for header and content in our example (see the arrows).

Finally, in the figure above you can see the resulting process diagram created in PowerPoint and using custom color schemes.

How to create your own color schemes and palettes

If you want to create your own color palettes then there are plenty of sites (free resources) that you can check. For example, Makeuseof reviewed 10 color websites to create color palettes that you can use.

For example, you can use ColorExplorer as an online toolbox for working with color palettes. You can create your own palettes of find color schemes and get ideas for your next presentations. With ColorExplorer you can quickly and easily create, manage and evaluate color palettes for use in graphic design, web designs, layouts, presentations, etc. Kuler from Adobe is maybe one of the most popular color toolboxes.

You can also use color picker tools like Color Cop or use other resources to find the best color schemes for PowerPoint presentations.




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