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PowerPoint Custom Table Styles

Custom table styles make formatting tables to match brand guidelines much quicker and simpler than applying manual formatting.


In Word it is easy to create new table styles based on theme fonts and colors:

Word custom table style

*We recently realised that it is NOT possible to define an inside horizontal border for the header row using Word’s table style editor. Having an internal horizontal border is useful when more than one row is selected to be a header row in a table. The only way to define an inside horizontal border is by editing the OOXML.


In the Excel you can also easily create new table styles, though the interface is different from Word’s:

excel new table style

PowerPoint Custom Table Styles

But in PowerPoint, Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, have not included a way for the the designer to create new table styles.

However, it is still possible to create new table styles in PowerPoint, you just need to know how to edit the underlying OOXML.

How to add custom table styles to a presentation:

1. Unzip the document

Each Office document is a actually a collection of zipped XML files. Make a copy of the document – it can all go horribly wrong. Rename the document and unzip it or use a utility such as 7-zip to open the archive.

2. Open the XML file

Open the XML file with any text editor or specialist source code editor, such as Notepad + +.

3. Type the Office Open XML (OOXML)

Type the required OOXML in the correct place, in the correct file, using the correct syntax. Be careful, OOXML is very pedantic, down to case-sensitivity. One small error and the document may be corrupted and will not open again in its native application.

4. Save and zip

Save the edited XML file, zip and rename the document.

Adding custom table styles to PowerPoint is complex but rewarding. It is even more difficult to do on Mac than in Windows, where there are fewer useful utility applications.

Note that PowerPoint custom table styles do not work in quite the same way in the online version.

Custom PowerPoint Table Styles and Office Templates

Here at Office Templates, we have had a lot of experience of adding custom table styles to PowerPoint templates and we would be happy to assist. Show us your InDesign or other example of a table style and will add it to your PowerPoint template.

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