Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Applications

This chapter is from the book

Understanding Theme Effects

If you’ve used a newer version of PowerPoint, you’ve most likely seen theme effects in action. When you open the Shape Styles, Chart Styles, SmartArt Styles, and Table Styles galleries, you can see how the current theme effects influence graphic fills, lines, bevels, and shadows. More importantly, you can change the theme effects to better suit your template design.

PowerPoint’s built-in theme effects include pre-programmed settings that specify degrees of intensity for fills, lines, and special effects such as shadows and bevels. Effects are grouped into three style levels: subtle, moderate, and intense. Subtle effects typically consist of flat color fills without shadows. Moderate effects take things up a notch by including gradients or shadows, perhaps. Intense styles usually have the most effects, including bevels and texture fills. See Figure 3.25 for examples of the three levels of effects. These levels are combined to create the styles you see in the various galleries throughout PowerPoint.

Figure 3.25

Figure 3.25. The settings for theme effects are grouped into three style levels: subtle, moderate, and intense.

PowerPoint includes 40 built-in sets of theme effects. Every theme has a different set of effects, each with its own unique characteristics. For example, some themes have a metallic look; others look frosted. The Equity theme (see Figure 3.26) has a vertical line pattern fill. The Paper theme (see Figure 3.27) includes a texture fill.

Figure 3.26

Figure 3.26. The Equity theme effect features vertical line fills.

Figure 3.27

Figure 3.27. A texture fill is included in the Paper theme effect.

You cannot edit the built-in theme effects using PowerPoint, nor can you build custom theme effects with PowerPoint. If you’re interested in building custom theme effects, see Chapter 12.

You can often make do by selecting one of the built-in effects schemes. Just choose one that works well with the look and feel of your template design.

When you’re developing a new template, you have to consider what style of effects best suits the template design. Think about how shapes, charts, tables, and SmartArt will look when different levels of effects are applied to them. Ultimately, the people creating slide content will be able to apply any style available in the galleries. You can determine which styles will populate these galleries by selecting an effects scheme that complements the template.

To see the differences between the built-in theme effects, try creating a sample slide with various types of content (see Figure 3.28). Include shapes, a chart, a SmartArt graphic, and a table with different levels of effects applied to this content. When completed, you can roll over the theme names in the Effects gallery to see how different themes look with this content.

Figure 3.28

Figure 3.28. A sample slide with various types of content and fill styles can help you determine which built-in effect theme works best with your template design.

To build a sample slide like the one shown in Figure 3.28, follow these steps:

  1. Add a new slide using the Blank slide layout.
  2. Draw a rectangle, select the Format tab, and open the Shape Styles gallery. Apply one of the styles from the second row (demonstrating subtle fill effects).
  3. Copy the rectangle you drew in step 2 and apply a style from the fifth row (moderate effects).
  4. Copy the rectangle you created in step 3 and apply a style from the last row (intense effects). Move the rectangles (if necessary) to make room for the rest of the sample content.
  5. Insert a chart, using the default data. Resize the chart and move it to a corner of the slide.
  6. From the Chart Tools Design tab, open the Chart Styles gallery and apply a style from the third row. This style features moderate effects.
  7. Insert a SmartArt graphic. The Basic Block List works well for this purpose.
  8. From the SmartArt Design tab, open the SmartArt Styles gallery and select the first style in the 3-D category (Polished), which includes intense effects. To get a better look at the effects applied to various accent colors, select Change Colors and apply the first style from the Colorful section. Resize and move the SmartArt graphic as needed.
  9. Insert a table. The example slide includes a 3 × 5 table. Including sample text in your table can help you check legibility when effects are applied.
  10. From the Table Tools Design tab, open the Table Styles gallery and apply a style from the Best Match for Document section. Resize and move the table, if necessary, to complete the sample slide.
  11. On the Design tab, click Effects to open the gallery (see Figure 3.29). Roll over each of the thumbnails to preview the effects on your current slide. You must click on an Effects scheme to apply it to the current file.
Figure 3.29

Figure 3.29. Roll over the thumbnails in the Effects gallery to see how each theme changes the settings on your sample slide.

Some of the theme effects include bevels, and others have glows or reflections. A few have texture fills. If your template is more suited to a subtle graphic style, consider choosing a simpler theme, such as Foundry or Pushpin (see Figure 3.30). Be cautious when choosing a more intense theme (for example, Equity, Flow, or Metro). Some intense effects make fills lighter, which can make text harder to read. Also, when all the graphics in a presentation include extreme special effects (glows, bevels, shadows, textures, and so on), the results can be visually overwhelming and distracting from the content, as shown with the Opulent theme in Figure 3.31. When in doubt, test the theme effects on a wide range of slides with different types of content.

Figure 3.30

Figure 3.30. The Pushpin theme effects feature a more subdued design style.

Figure 3.31

Figure 3.31. The Opulent theme features a high gloss gradient fill for moderate and intense effect styles.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020