In this conversation, Echo discusses this new book she co-authored with Julie Terberg.
Geetesh: Your book, Building PowerPoint Templates has so much information that has been rarely documented elsewhere, and certainly never explained in plain English. What motivated you to author a book on this topic?.
PowerPoint templates changed dramatically between PowerPoint 2003 and 2007. The intricacies (and bugs) aren’t really documented anywhere, which meant there was a steep learning curve. We hope that by putting the information together in one place, people will begin to understand the value of a well-constructed template. The ROI is huge, especially on a corporate level.
Geetesh: There’s so much confusion about how templates differ from themes — can you explain in a few words if these concepts are nearly similar or entirely different — and how will your book help readers understand the world of PowerPoint templates better.
Echo: Themes and templates are very similar, which is probably why they’re so confusing. An Office Theme (.THMX file) is a set of colors, fonts and effects which can be applied to any Office file. A template is for a specific program (Word, Excel or PowerPoint). A template is always based on a theme, so colors, fonts and effects are built right in. But a template can also have content – like sample slides or prepopulated footers – so you could actually think of a template as being a theme + sample content.
If you have no need for sample content, you could distribute just the theme file (*.THMX). Unfortunately, most users won’t know what to do with a theme, so you’re probably better off giving them a template!