So! Like many people here, I'm trying to customise a beamer template to look like the .ppt template my university uses. For the regular slides, I'd like them to look like this:

My goal:

I'm getting pretty close! I have found a tutorial on how to make your own templates and have built my own .sty file. This is the way my slides look now:Current situation:

The only thing missing is the bar of colours. I have defined the colourcodes and so on and have created something that looks a lot like that bar, using the following code:

% Defining the different colours:
% Adding them all together
\colorbox{ULB}{} \\ 
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBpoly}{} \\
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBdroit}{} \\
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBarch}{} \\
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBsopo}{} \\
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBphilo}{} \\
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBmed}{} \\
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBpsy}{}  \\
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBsci}{} \\
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBsolvay}{} \\
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBeurope}{} \\
\vspace{-7.5pt}\colorbox{ULBpharm}{} \\

If I put this into a different .tex file to test it out, it delivers something looking like this:Bar

My question is twofold: 1) How do I get the coloured bar where I want it to be? I've added the University logo in the sidebar, and defined a background image for the University seal. I am a novice in template design, so I'm probably not using the most elegant methods.

2) How do I make LaTeX forget everything when I customise the titleframe, which looks totally different.

The MWE of the .sty file:

\setbeamertemplate{sidebar canvas left}{
\usebackgroundtemplate{\includegraphics[height=9.5cm,trim=-55cm 0 0 -37cm]{example-image-1x1.jpg}\vspace{2cm}}

MWE for the presentation:

\item this is point 1
\item this is point 2

I realise there are lots of "customise beamer" posts out there, but none seemed to help me with my specific problem.

  • Please add a minimal working example (MWE) which people can copy-paste-compile. You can use images from the mwe package or you can specify height/width and pass demo to graphicx so people don't need your logos etc. You are more likely to get help if you do this. Right now, it would be an awful lot of work to try to help (and probably not very effective either).
    – cfr
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 0:22
  • You can build a graphic with all your elements and use it as background for your slides. \begin{frame}[plain] will construct a slide without headlines or footlines.
    – Ignasi
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 7:55
  • For absolute positioning of a graphic you can use the textpos package.
    – crixstox
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 10:41
  • Thanks, the problem however is not (only) the positioning of the colorbars, but rather that they don't show up at all...
    – Emma
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 11:00
  • I am from the ULB too. Would it be possible to have the beamer theme you created? Thanks
    – jgarciax
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 8:36

1 Answer 1


For me it works to use this definition:

\setbeamertemplate{sidebar canvas left}{

The \hspace moves the blocks to the right and the \vspace reduces the distance a little bit. Otherwise there seems to be a tiny gap or region with a different color in between the blocks.


My new version using beamercolorblocks that allow defining the size of the squares and the positioning at a single place - might be either to adjust to your needs. First I defined some beamercolors to use in the colorbox and then a command (sidebarblock) that generates a block with a certain shift to the right and this little negative vspace. The height and width of the block is given by wd and ht and the beamercolor is given as an argument.

\setbeamercolor{beamerULB}{bg=ULB, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBpoly}{bg=ULBpoly, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBdroit}{bg=ULBdroit, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBarch}{bg=ULBarch, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBsopo}{bg=ULBsopo, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBphilo}{bg=ULBphilo, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBmed}{bg=ULBmed, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBpsy}{bg=ULBpsy, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBsci}{bg=ULBsci, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBsolvay}{bg=ULBsolvay, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBeurope}{bg=ULBeurope, fg=white}
\setbeamercolor{beamerULBpharm}{bg=ULBpharm, fg=white}


\setbeamertemplate{sidebar canvas left}{

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