PowerPoint OOXML Training



If you spend a little time playing around in PowerPoint, you’ll quickly discover that there is much more you can create and accomplish with it than you might have initially realized.


Add in OOXML, and advanced PowerPoint users have a whole new set of tools for customization that are effective for improving presentations, enhancing templates and files, and even troubleshooting some common error messages.


While most PowerPoint users may not need to learn how to edit the XML markup of a file, it’s actually easier and more useful than you might initially think.


Read on to dive into our guide to OOXML in PowerPoint, and you’re certain to learn some new ways of elevating your PowerPoint presentations.


Table of Contents

  • What is OOXML?

  • Tools

  • How to remove recently used colors

  • How to add an additional custom color palette

  • How to program custom theme fonts

  • How to remove unwanted fonts

  • How to customize guide colors

  • Additional resources

What is OOXML?

Introduced in Office 2007, XML files are a format for Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint.


Chances are, you are using a version of Office that uses these file types by default. But even so, it’s worth understanding a bit about why this became the standard, and what the benefits are.


Open XML files essentially offered two overarching benefits, along with a range of user-driven enhancements. Here are a few of the benefits to end users:

  • Compact files

  • Better damaged-file recovery

  • Advanced features

  • Privacy controls

  • Improved interoperability

  • Simpler detection of macros

In addition to these overall user and file enhancements, XML documents give you the power to manually edit some settings of the file to refine and customize aspects of your document. If you’re a PowerPoint creator, this is likely where you’ll get the most out of this feature.


Tools

To get started with editing XML, you’ll need a tool. Our presentation designers use the open Office XML (OOXML) editor Google Chrome extension.


Step 1: First, you’ll need to download and install the tool.


Step 2: Next, open the editing program via the Extensions dropdown in Google Chrome.

Step 3: Finally, drag and drop your PowerPoint file into the editor to open the XML files.

That’s it! You’re now ready to start editing XML.


How to remove recently used colors

If you are working with a lot of different PowerPoint presentations, particularly from different brands/clients, you may find that the “Recent Colors” palette isn’t as helpful as it should be.

Step 1: Drag and drop your PowerPoint file into an editor to open the XML files. Then, open the “ppt” folder.

Step 2: Open the presProps.xml file

Step 3: Near the top of the file, find and delete the entire <p:clrMru> section,

Step 4: save your file and download to a local folder. When you reopen your PPT, your recently used colors will be gone!


Our best practice for this tip is to use it at the end of your work, as the Recent Colors list will repopulate if you continue to use colors outside of the theme palette.


How to add an additional custom color palette

While PowerPoint offers the ability to set Theme Colors, there may be times when you want to include more options. By adding to your PowerPoint’s XML, you’ll be able to create a Custom Colors palette that can include up to 50 colors using HEX values. These will appear in 5 rows of 10 colors each.

Once you’ve built this into your theme, the additional palette will travel with that theme and reappear anytime the theme is applied– including in MS Word.


One note: there’s no open XML available for editing out the shades that are automatically generated below theme colors, or for the Standard Colors palette.


Step 1: Drag and drop your PowerPoint file into the editor to open the XML files, and open the ppt folder.

Step 2: Open the theme.xml file



Step 3: Select theme1.xml. A file may have more than one theme if there are multiple top masters. In most cases you’ll only need to update theme1.

Step 4: Scroll to the very end and find the line <a:extraClrSchemeLst/>

Step 5: Insert a return after the line <a:extraClrSchemeLst/>. This should be before the line <a:extLst>).


Step 6: Paste in the following XML code, which will cover your first 8 colors.


<a:custClrLst>

<a:custClr name="Insert color name here">

<a:srgbClr val="Insert HEX value here"/>

</a:custClr>

<a:custClr name="Color name">

<a:srgbClr val="FFFFFF"/>

</a:custClr>

<a:custClr name="Color name>

<a:srgbClr val="FFFFFF"/>

</a:custClr>

<a:custClr name="Color name">

<a:srgbClr val="FFFFFF"/>

</a:custClr>

<a:custClr name="Color name">

<a:srgbClr val="FFFFFF"/>

</a:custClr>

<a:custClr name="Color name">

<a:srgbClr val="FFFFFF"/>

</a:custClr>

<a:custClr name="Color name">

<a:srgbClr val="FFFFFF"/>

</a:custClr>

<a:custClr name="Color name">

<a:srgbClr val="FFFFFF"/>

</a:custClr>

</a:custClrLst>


Step 7: Finally, customize the HEX values and naming for each color you want to add. You can include any number of colors, with a max of 50, by adding or subtracting from this list.


Note: Unlike theme colors, custom colors are not automatically applied to charts. Custom colors can be used anywhere, including in Word.


How to program custom theme fonts

You can add a new level of polish to your presentations by matching your theme font to the font you’re using in your template. If this font is custom–or isn’t the standard Calibri, Arial, Garamond, etc.–you’ll need to do this by editing the XML.

Step 1: Drag and drop your PowerPoint file into the editor to open the XML files. Open the ppt folder.

Step 2: Open the theme.xml file


Step 3: Select theme1.xml. A file may have more than one theme if there are multiple top masters. In most cases you’ll only need to update theme1.

Step 4: Scroll down to <a:fontScheme…>, then…


Step 4A: Change your <a:majorFont> to whatever you want your custom “headings” font to be.


Step 4B: Change your <a:minorFont> to whatever you want your custom “body” font to be.



How to remove unwanted fonts

Occasionally an unwanted font can be introduced into your PowerPoint presentation, and you’ll end up with fonts you’re unable to remove or a deck you’re unable to save. If this happens, you can try any of the following fixes:


Step 1: If you’re using a universal font like Arial or Calibri in a deck, you can deactivate font embedding since it isn’t needed.


On a Mac, you can do this by going to PowerPoint > Preferences > Save > Font Embedding > and uncheck Embed fonts in the file


Step 2: Next, go to Format > Replace Fonts.


On the ‘Replace’ drop-down menu, click the font that you want to replace.


On the ‘With’ drop-down menu, click the new font that you want to use, and then click Replace.


Step 3: If you still have unwanted fonts in your deck, you’ll need to open your PowerPoint’s XML to search for them.


To search for unwanted fonts, follow these steps:


Step 1: Drag and drop your PowerPoint file into the editor to open the XML files, and open the ppt folder.

Step 2: Open the folder > .xml file and do a Find & Replace search.


Step 2A: In the ‘Find’ field, enter typeface=“Font Name”


Step 2B: In the ‘Replace’ field, enter typeface=“Font Name”. This font name should match the rest of the deck.

Fixing common font error pop-ups:

Regular PowerPoint users on Mac will likely be familiar with the following error:

Luckily, the fix for this common error is simple.


.AppleSystemUIFont needs to be removed in the XML. This signals that there was an Apple System font embedded somewhere within the file.


Apple symbols are tied to bullet styles. You may need to check each bullet to

find this error and update to a standard system font to fix.


How to customize guide colors

PowerPoint’s built-in guides are a fast and easy way to align objects to a grid. While PowerPoint offers a functional 10-color default palette for your gird lines, you may find situations that call for a different set of colors. Fortunately, it’s easy to customize these colors in the XML.

Step 1: Drag and drop your PowerPoint file into the editor to open the XML files. Open the ppt folder.


Note:

Guides that have been built on the slide master are located in the slideMasters folder.

Guides that have been built on a slide layout will show only on slides based on that layout and can be found in the slideLayouts folder.


Step 2: Open the slideMasters folder.

Step 3: Select slideMaster1.xml. If your template contains more than 1 slide master, you’ll need to repeat this for each master.

Step 4: The xml for guides are located toward the bottom of the page. Scroll down to find <p15:sldGuideLst>


Then, change your <a:srgbClr val=XXXXXX”> to whatever you want your custom color to be, using HEX values.


Repeat this step for all remaining guides in the template.


Additional resources

There’s lots more you can do with XML once you get comfortable with the process.


If you have questions that this guide doesn’t cover, the Microsoft support community has answers to many of the most common PPT and XML questions. In addition, there is a very active PowerPoint user community that will typically respond to questions quickly.


Conclusion

While XML may seem complex at first, by taking a few minutes to understand and practice a few of these simple XML customizations, you’ll discover how simple and flexible of a feature they really are.


Looking for more information about executive presentations and beyond? Check out our resources for expert advice and tested strategies.








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