SharePoint: Create and Apply a Custom Theme to a Site

Today I'm going to tell you how to create your own customized theme for a Microsoft SharePoint site. The theme that you apply to a site affects the colours (or colors, if you're American) and fonts. There are a number of different themes that come out-of-the-box, but perhaps you're wanting a very specific look and feel.

The first step is to create an Office Theme file (*.thmx). Oddly enough, I'm going to ask you to ignore SharePoint for a moment and to open up Microsoft PowerPoint. With a blank presentation open, go to the 'Design' tab. There's a 'Themes' group there on the ribbon, and what you're going to want to do is to adjust the colours and fonts to your liking.

Click on the 'Colors' button, and then choose 'Create New Theme Colors...'. These are going to be the colours that you'll see used for various different elements throughout your SharePoint site. Change each one as desired, and then click the 'Save' button.

Next, click the 'Fonts' button, and then choose 'Create New Theme Fonts...'. Here is where you can choose the heading and body fonts for your site. Click the 'Save' button when you're done.

Now that you've chosen your colours and fonts, go to the 'File' tab and then click 'Save As'. In the 'Save as type' drop-down list, choose 'Office Theme (*.thmx)'. Give the file a name, and then save it somewhere on your computer.

It's time to head back to SharePoint and get the theme uploaded so that you can start using it. Keep in mind that you'll need the appropriate permission level to complete these next steps. Speak to your administrator if you aren't finding the menu items I'm about to describe.

In the upper left-hand corner of your screen, click on 'Site Actions', and then click 'Site Settings'. Click on 'Themes' (under 'Galleries'). Here you'll find a list of all of the themes in the system. Go to the very bottom and click 'Add new item'. Browse for your Office Theme file that you created, and then click the 'OK' button to upload it into the gallery.

The last step is to actually apply the theme to your site. Go back to 'Site Actions', and then click 'Site Settings'. Click on 'Site theme' (under 'Look and Feel'). In the list that appears, select the name of the theme that you created and uploaded, and then click the 'Apply' button. Wait a few moments for the changes to process, and you're done!


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