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Microsoft PowerPoint: The Power of Color

Understanding Color Leads to Better PowerPoint Presentations

Colors can be used to draw upon inner/hidden emotions or send silent messages.  PowerPoint provides a great deal of flexibility in selecting colors for the background, text, and other elements. When choosing colors also evaluate:

  • Contrast
  • Audience & goals
  • Tone or theme of presentation (business, personal, conservative, playful, informative, persuasive, etc.)
  • Company or organization color scheme
Color Emotion/Message


Stimulates and evokes anger, passion, power, energy, action; warmth, love, danger, boldness, excitement, intensity, aggression.


Indicates caution, brightness, warmth, mellowness, positive meaning, imagination, optimism, and cheerfulness; attention-grabbing, comfort, liveliness, cowardliness.


Can relax, calm, indicate maturity, and evoke trust, tranquility, or peace; professionalism, confidence, security, loyalty, reliability, honor, boredom.


Projects assertiveness or change.  Often used as a sign of magic, wisdom, mystery, royalty, richness, spirituality, elegance, artificial, or power.


Can indicate high energy or enthusiasm, excitement.  Has recharging power and sometimes stimulates positive thinking; cheerfulness, warmth, expansive, flamboyant, low cost, affordability.


An earth tone that creates a feeling of stability, wholesomeness, strength and support; relaxing, confident, casual, reassuring, earthy.


Evokes nature, rebirth, creativity, positive image, moving forward, growth, financial success, or prosperity; durability, reliability, environmental, luxurious, optimism.


Represents absence/lack of color.  Creates sense of independence, completeness, and solidarity.  Often used to indicate formality, elegance, sophistication, strength, financial success, seriousness, illegality, depression, death, or heaviness of the situation.


Conservatism, traditionalism, practical, staid, reliability, intelligence, serious, dull, uninteresting.


Cleanliness, purity, newness, virginity, peace, innocence, simplicity, sterility.

The above associations are not universal and can vary depending on the country and the culture and experiences of the audience members.

Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro

Dawn Bjork Buzbee is The Software Pro and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist (MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.

This article and more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with copyright and attribution.
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PowerPoint templates can be highly customized with different themes or  custom colors, fonts, and effects to give your presentations a custom look. Use caution, however, if great design is not one of your strengths!
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