Today, we have a guest blogger. Elyssa is an editor and project manager at Brainstorm, a leading provider of online and onsite software training and one of our partners that provides customized content for your Productivity Hub.

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I enjoy writing and creating presentations, but I'm certainly not a graphic designer. Luckily, Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 doesn't require you to be. Even if you struggle to match your socks to your outfit when you get dressed each morning, you can easily create an attractive, eye-catching presentation using the PowerPoint Themes feature.

Microsoft has already done the work for you, selecting a number of different "themes," or presentation designs, to choose from. These themes bring together fonts, colors and graphic elements that naturally complement each other. (This feature replaces design templates in PowerPoint 2003.)

Here is how to use a theme:

1. Click the Design tab and find the Themes command group on the Ribbon.

Themes group of the Design tab

A few examples are displayed right away, but you can click the More arrow to find about 20 theme that are ready to apply.

2. As you roll your mouse over the different themes, you'll be able to see what a presentation would look like using the Live Preview feature in PowerPoint 2007.

3. Click a theme you would like to use. This will be applied to the first (title) slide and all subsequent slides in your presentation.

4. When you have the title slide completed as you would like it, go to the Home tab of the Ribbon. In the Slides command group, click New Slide. Depending on the type of slide you choose, the new slide might look slightly different from the title slide but will still have the same design elements, as will all slides you add in the presentation.

Themes are a simple way to make any PowerPoint presentation cohesive and visually compelling. If you want to brand your business, you could choose one theme or even a few themes to use consistently for all presentation materials. Watch a free, short training video on this topic by BrainStorm.

Elyssa