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Using themes

From: SharePoint 2010 Getting Started

Video: Using themes

All SharePoint sites get created with a very similar look and feel, and that's good because there is immediate familiarity. It's very quick to get up in running with a new site. However, if you have multiple sites all looking exactly the same, it can be difficult if you don't have some visual cues to tell you where you are. Let's see one way of changing that. If you're a site owner, you can go to your Site Actions menu and hit Site Settings where you have a Look and Feel section. In this section, you'll see several options for changing the Title of this site, for changing the Quick launch and Top link bar.

Using themes

All SharePoint sites get created with a very similar look and feel, and that's good because there is immediate familiarity. It's very quick to get up in running with a new site. However, if you have multiple sites all looking exactly the same, it can be difficult if you don't have some visual cues to tell you where you are. Let's see one way of changing that. If you're a site owner, you can go to your Site Actions menu and hit Site Settings where you have a Look and Feel section. In this section, you'll see several options for changing the Title of this site, for changing the Quick launch and Top link bar.

There is an option called Tree view, which if you turn it on will actually show the contents of the site in the Tree view fashion on your Quick Launch Bar section. It's literally just a check box that you can turn on to Enable Tree View. But the one we are interested right now is the last one, Site Theme. SharePoint comes with several themes, which are really color schemes and font selections. When a site is created, it uses what's called the Default theme, which is no theme at all. That's somewhat misleading because it shows this color scheme that everything is gray, and we can obviously see it's not the case.

We have got some blues and some light and dark grays. As you click through several of the different themes, you'll see combinations of colors, and technically speaking, you'll also see the fonts change. There is a Heading Font and a Body Font. Now when you're working with typical theme sites, document workspaces, meeting workspaces, those kinds of things, you may not see as big a change as you would be expecting. I am going to select one of these themes and come down where I have got a Preview button.

I can either just Apply it or click Preview. Preview will generate a new window that will show me what this theme would look like on this site. Sometimes you'll see a big difference, and sometimes you won't. In this case, I actually quite like the look of this one. So I will close that window and say Apply. I might not be a big fan of the red links, but it looks different enough from the default one that I think it's useful. Now going back to that section, again to Site Actions > Site Settings and then selecting Site theme from the Look and Feel section of your Site Settings, there is also the option of selecting your own combination of colors.

Now when you're working with the default SharePoint sites like theme sites and document workspaces, you may not find this as useful, or as obvious as you'd first hope. Because it doesn't tell you for example, which color is being obviously used in the Top bar, which color is being used in the Quick Launch bar. You just have selections of Darks and Lights, and Accent colors, and this is really because the idea of the theme is coming from Office rather than typical Web design. And when you have a theme in an Office product like Word or PowerPoint, it breaks down into darks and lights and accent colors.

So you can certainly check out a few of these themes and find if they're close, but if you want to edit any of them you may have to do a bit of experimentation with this setting. Now if you have just the SharePoint Foundation, you may not even see the Customize Theme being available. You may only be able to select from the predefined SharePoint themes, though you should know that you can create your own actually using PowerPoint. PowerPoint seems like an odd choice for a program to create themes, but that's the way they have done it in this version of Office.

In PowerPoint, you can create something called a THMX file, which can be uploaded into SharePoint, and then you can select that, so you can easily create a custom theme. However, when working with SharePoint sites like Theme sites and Document Workspaces, you'll probably find that selecting from this Font choice does not quite do what you're expecting. In fact, it will really make very little difference at all. If you want to work with Custom Heading and Body fonts, you're typically going to work with a more complex SharePoint site, such as a publishing site, and in those sites the actual heading and body font choices will make a difference. On basic SharePoint sites they really won't.

But even changing the color scheme can make it easier to instantly recognize where you are in your groupings of SharePoint sites. It's very helpful if you work with a lot of them.

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SharePoint 2010 Getting Started

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