A quality design has recurring elements such as font pairs, a color palette, and recurring elements. This SlidesYearbook page focuses on created the unified look for a presentation or Google Slides Yearbook. Why change fonts and colors on every single slide when you can change them once in Edit theme?

Hands-on Learning

Before we begin this lesson, please go to SlidesCarnival.com and copy one of their Google Slides templates. CHALLENGE: Re-create a the template from scratch.

Free Templates

SlidesCarnival.com is a website with free Google Slides templates. Many of the yearbook templates on this website are based on their designs.

For this lesson, you can also use SlidesMania.com or SlidesGo.com. Whatever template website you use, we will focus on the THEME page.

For my example, I used the Quintus: Open Book template.


Color Palette Part 1

Before we go into Edit theme, let's first discuss the Theme colors. Each Google Slides has a color theme that determines background, accents, and link colors.

Find the Color Palette

  1. Click in a textbox.
  2. Select either the A (letter color icon) or the Paint bucket icon.
  3. The Color palette is the top row of colors. Click on the pencil to edit them in the Theme colors sidebar.
  4. You can change the background, accent, and link colors on this sidebar.


THEME controls every single LAYOUT option, which include font pairs, font size, and the color palette. Control all pages from the THEME.

Open THEME Page

  1. Click on the Slide menu.
  2. Select Edit theme.
  3. In the top left, you will see THEME and LAYOUTS. We will focus on THEME first.

Font Pairs & Size

  1. Click on the Title placeholder.
  2. The Title font on the example template is Oswald. All Title placeholders in the Layouts will be Oswald.
  3. Click on the Body placeholder.
  4. The Body font on the example template is Tinos. All Body placeholders in the Layouts and new text boxes will be Tinos.

Color Palette Part 2

Presentations and yearbooks can look horrible when random colors are selected. On the SlidesYearbook Color page, we learned about color combinations. In this section, we will learn how to add those color combinations to the THEME.

Color Palette Sidebar

You can access the Theme colors sidebar in two places: 1) in a color menu and 2) in the Edit theme -> Colors sidebar..

  1. In Edit theme, select Colors button.
  2. A new sidebar will appear.
  3. Click on the drop down menu to view the colors and/or change them.
    • Text and background color 1 #25212a
    • Text and background color 2 #ffffff
    • Text and background color 3 #797281
    • Text and background color 4 #e7e6e9
    • Accent 1 #b87647
    • Accent 2 #a85a5a
    • Accent 3 #853e61
    • Accent 4 #5c3959
    • Accent 5 #cc4125
    • Accent 6 #e4b681
    • Link #25212a


Edit Color Palette

You can change colors for the palette on this Color sidebar.

  1. Click on the drop down menu on the Theme color to select a color option.
  2. Change the Hex code, move the HUE, or scroll down and select a DEFAULT color.



Each slide deck has multiple layouts. For example, in a new slide deck you will have the following layout options:

  • Title
  • Section header
  • Title and body
  • Title and two columns
  • etc

Layout names can be renamed. The name can reflect the pages' purpose.


Each Layout serves a different purpose and, therefore, each layout will have different elements.


You can insert Title, Subtitle, Body, and Image placeholders. I prefer Subtitle placeholders over Body because the extra line options in Body makes moving multiple elements a hassle.

Title, Subtitle, and Body Placeholders

  1. In Edit theme, click on the T inside a box.
  2. Select a placeholder.
  3. On the slide, the user can click and type a text.

NOTE: A text placeholder can not be edited in the theme. The words cannot be changed in the Edit theme but can changed on the slide itself. If you insert a Text box in the Edit theme, the word cannot be changed on the slide.

Image Placeholders

  1. In Edit theme, click on the image icon.
  2. Select Image placeholder.
  3. Select a type of image placeholder.
  4. OPTIONAL: Format the image.
  5. On the slide, the user can click on the image placeholder to insert an image.

NOTE: In above example, I added two image placeholders that were 4 x 3 ratio and 3 x 4 ratio. I added a drop shadow and a 8 px white border with miter join border decorations.

Images with Transparent Backgrounds

  1. Use the Tools option in Google Image Search to find Creative Commons license images.
  2. Save the image to your computer.
  3. Go to remove.bg.
  4. Upload the image.
  5. Download the new image.

NOTE: The remove.bg website has a free and a paid option. I have only used the free version, however, for high quality downloads you can pay by the download or pay a subscription.


The Nym: Green Squares template duplicates one square and creates a pattern with the colors.

  1. Insert a shape.
  2. Change the size as desired using Format options.
  3. Duplicate the shape if necessary.
  4. Use the Theme color palette as desired.

Format Options

  1. Click on an object such as an Image placeholder.
  2. Select Format options.
  3. A sidebar appears that allows you to resize, position, add a drop shadow, and more.
  4. More options, such as Borders & lines are available on the Format menu.

Arrange Menu

When designing in Google Slides, you may need to use the Arrange menu to Order, Align, Distribute, Center, Rotate, or Group. Use as needed.

High Resolution Backgrounds

Some templates uses a high quality background behind the text placeholders. You can find high resolution backgrounds at Unsplash.com or the free Unsplash Google Slides add-on.

  1. Go to Unsplash.com and search for Backgrounds.
  2. Filter images by Landscape.
  3. Click on the desired image.
  4. Download the image for free. Please make sure to properly credit the photographer.
High resolution backgrounds

NOTE 1: The Unsplash website allows photographers to upload their images without moderation. Both the website and the add-on are blocked for my junior high school students. 

NOTE 2: As the teacher, I take student requests, download the Unsplash image, and the upload it into a shared Google Drive folder.

NOTE 3: The add-on automatically crops the image to the slide's height and width. Unfortunately, at this time, the Unsplash add-on only works on the Slide and not in the Edit theme.

Practice Edit Theme

The image on the left is a screenshot of student work. A very talent 8th Grade in my yearbook class recreated a Vintage Moodboard from SlidesCarnival as part of our class assignment.

Start with a blank Google Slides and your favorite template. Change the fonts and color palette in Edit theme. Then add elements to the Layouts to make each slide serve a different purpose.

Student re-creation of SildesCarnival's Vintage Moodboard


Hidden inside Google Slides are graphic design shortcuts begging to be used.

Created January 22, 2023.