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A uniform design in Office - using themes and template files

Tobias Kablitz
March 5, 2018

Tip of the month by Tim Tuerger, Senior Sales Manager (EU) at Made in Office

You can embed settings such as colors, fonts, and formatting in order to create documents with a uniform design in Office. If you have already created a PowerPoint master, you may want to make these design settings available in Word and Excel. In this guideline, we will show you how to do this in a few simple steps. This way, you can ensure that all your desired design settings are set up automatically as soon as you launch an Office application.

Let’s begin with the themes file. The themes file – or .thmx – does not store the content of a file, but instead all design settings such as font, color, and effects. The advantage is that this file allows you to transfer this design to other documents and application with a few clicks.


What do we need to do to transfer our PowerPoint design to Word and Excel?

  1. Save your PowerPoint file containing the desired design settings as a .thmx. The save location will be automatically adapted once this file format is selected and should be similar to the path below:

    C:\Users\YOUR USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Document Themes

    Enter a name for your design and click on Save.

  2. The new design template can now be access in Word via the Design tab in This design can now be directly applied to your document by simply clicking on it. In Excel the Themes are located in the Page Layout tab.


How do you ensure that this design is automatically selected when you launch an Office application?

PowerPoint, Excel, and Word contain a file type, which serves as a template for all new presentations, documents or spreadsheets. In PowerPoint, this template file is a .potx, in Word a .dot., and in Excel a xltx. Much in contrast to the .thmx, these template files are not limited to design settings but can also store content such as a presentation, a document, or a worksheet.

To create a template file, follow these steps:

  1. Open the file that is to become a template.

  2. If this file does not contain the required design settings at this point, you can apply the .thmx following the steps above in order to embed the design in your document.

  3. Save the file as a template. In PowerPoint select the file type .potx, in Word .dotm, and in Excel .xltx.

    uniform design office templates

    If you wish to open the templates automatically at launch of PowerPoint, Word, or Excel follow the steps below:

  4. Name the template as follows:

    PowerPoint template: Blank.potx
    Word template: Normal.dotm
    Excel template: Book.xltx

    Please note that the name of the Excel template depends on the language of your system. If your language is set to German, please change the name of the Excel template to Mappe.xltx.

  5. Now save your PowerPoint and Word template at following path:

    C:\Users\YOUR USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

  6. Save the Excel at following path:

    C:\Users\IHR BENUTZERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART

Please note that in Word and Excel the setting Show the Start screen when this application starts has to be deactivated. This setting is located in File > Options > General > Startup Options.

When you now start either PowerPoint, Word, or Excel the embedded template files with your settings will be automatically opened, and you can immediately begin working on your document.

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