How To Install Color Theme XML Files in PowerPoint

Colors can be a very subjective topic. That is also true when it comes to colors that you use in PowerPoint, or any other presentation solutions.

There is a wide consensus on how you should use colors in a presentation though: select a color palette of your choice, and stick with it all along your presentation. Indeed, coherence, consistency, and harmony are key factors when it comes to presentation design.

Color palettes in PowerPoint

Color schemes in PowerPoint are predefined sets of colors that can be used to apply a consistent color scheme throughout a presentation. PowerPoint already comes with a selection of 20+ built-in color palette variants. These available palettes typically include a primary color, secondary colors, and accent colors, which can be applied to text, shapes, backgrounds, and other elements within a presentation. They are essential for creating visually appealing and professional-looking presentations. Color customization is also a powerful tool for designing unique presentations that reflect your brand, theme, or your personal style.

But if that selection does not fit your needs? Well, you can still customize your own color palette, and save your custom color schemes as themes or templates.

You have basically 2 ways of adding or customizing a color scheme. The first method, not detailed here, is via the color palette in-built tool (in the “Design” tab). The other alternative option that you have to customize a color palette – or to add a new palette to your built-in collection of palettes, is to import a specific XML file.

What is an XML file (for PowerPoint), in a few words

XML files for PowerPoint are a type of file format that uses the Extensible Markup Language (XML) to store data and information related to PowerPoint presentations. These files can contain information such as the layout, content, and formatting of slides, as well as other metadata about the presentation.

The XML files for PPTX color schemes contain data about the RGB or HSL values of individual colors, as well as information about the relationships between colors in a palette. They are quite easy to edit with a basic word editor like Notepad, but creating one from scratch takes some coding knowledge.

Or the easiest way, is to download an already-formatted XML file from an external source, and then to import it (or install it…).

Import an XML file in PowerPoint

The XML color palette files for PowerPoint are typically stored in a subfolder of the user’s “AppData” folder, which is a hidden folder on the Windows PC. The exact location of this folder may vary depending on the version of Windows and the user’s configuration, but a common path is:

For Windows PC

If you are a Windows user, you can save or copy/paste your XML file in the following folder:

  • C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Document Themes\Theme Colors
In this path, “username” refers to the name of the user account on the PC. To access this folder, you may need to enable the “Show hidden files and folders” option in the Windows File Explorer settings.

For Mac OS

In the Mac OS X Finder, look for the “Theme Colors”, and store the XML file in that folder.

Once you imported the XML file in the folder, you may need to close and open PowerPoint again in order to visualize your new color palette.

Apply the new color palette to your presentation

Now that you have linked your new color palette to your Office application, you can apply it to your presentation.

Again, there are different ways to get to the same results. Either you go to the Master slide (View > Slide Master), or you simply stay in normal view and follow these easy steps:

  • Go to the “Design” tab.
  • Click on the “Variants” drop-down menu and select “Colors.”
  • Finally, select your new color palette
Applying a new color palette to a PowerPoint presentation - by TutsGo and PresentationGO

That’s it! Your slide backgrounds, text, and other design elements will be updated with the new colors.