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Fine-Tuning Color Schemes

If we type the word "Title" for our new slide in our design presentation and select it to format it with the Font color tool, as shown in Figure 2-12, we see a set of eight color swatches to choose from directly in the Font color tool, along with a choice for More Colors.

Figure 2-12

Figure 2-12 The Font color tool dialog box shows the eight basic color swatches that are currently set in the slide's Color Scheme.

The default Title text color right now is the darker blue, but we could be sure that if we left this color for a corporate template, someone somewhere would say something like, "That's not exactly the shade of blue we use in our logo!"

We could use these swatches to try to match it visually, but it would apply only to this one slide, and even then, it wouldn't truly be exact.

But for our corporate template, we want to make sure that the major elements in our slide are covered by the Color Scheme:

  • Background
  • Text and lines
  • Shadows
  • Title text
  • Fills
  • Accent
  • Accent and hyperlink
  • Accent and followed hyperlink

All of these elements will follow the specified set of colors that we select so that all the color choices in our slide will be uniform going forward. So how do we determine these colors with complete precision?

The secret is in the RGB values, or the numerical values assigned to the shade of red, green, and blue in any color. Unfortunately, PowerPoint has no color picker or eyedropper tool that lets us suck a color out of an image (like our logo) and make sure that this precise color is what we'll be using for Title text in our template.

We need to go outside of PowerPoint for the first time; we'll use Adobe PhotoShop, but any good image editor will let you determine the RGB value of a specific color.

In Figure 2-13, we click the eyedropper over part of the logo's roof in PhotoShop (or the trim below the roof), and that color becomes the Background color for the PhotoShop composition.

Figure 2-13

Figure 2-13 Most image editing programs, like PhotoShop, enable you to establish the RGB value of a specific color in your logo or other part of your collateral material.

More important, in the Color tab of the Color palette, the RGB values are available:

  • R—9
  • G—54
  • B—119

Now you're in business. When you return to the Edit Color Scheme dialog box for our Custom Color Scheme (refer to Figure 2-11), you click on Title text to select it, click on Change Color, and go to the Custom tab in the Title Text Color dialog box, as shown in Figure 2-14.

Figure 2-14

Figure 2-14 Entering the RGB values for the color you picked in PhotoShop can assign that color to any of the elements in your Custom Color Scheme.

Now, by entering those RGB values from the logo's trim color into the settings, you will exactly match the color in the logo for the default color for all of your Title text in the new custom Color Scheme.

We're almost done. Now when we click Apply and OK to close out, the new Custom Color Scheme has taken its place at the bottom of the Slide Design—Color Schemes Task Pane.

We can switch to Slide Sorter view to see all of the slides in our new template, click on the drop-down arrow in the new Color Scheme, and choose Apply to All Slides, as shown in Figure 2-15.

Figure 2-15

Figure 2-15 Applying your new Custom Color Scheme to all slides ensures that all elements in the subsequent slides based on that Design Template have the same color attributes.

In this case, all we've done is apply a slightly different shade of dark blue for the title. To see more dramatic results, apply any other Color Scheme, but remember to Undo (CTRL+Z) after you see the results.

A professional designer would then assign other colors from the collateral material or logo to the specific elements in the slide that should reflect them. This would create complementary colors for fills, lines, and other text.

So now let's imagine that we've matched our colors exactly, assigned them within our Custom Color Scheme according to their RGB values, and applied the Color Scheme to our newly created Design Template.

What we've accomplished is to simulate the process of a professional designer in matching the characteristics of a nice clean template that is not based on any of the PowerPoint templates in the Slide Design gallery.

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