Join Simon Allardice for an in-depth discussion in this video Using themes, part of SharePoint 2010 New Features.
You use themes in SharePoint 2010 to change the color scheme and occasionally the font choices that your web sites are using. Themes did exist in SharePoint 2007, but they've changed quite a bit in this version. And they are worth exploring because they might not work quite the way you expect, particularly if you're coming from a web design background. Now on a classic SharePoint team site you may even see an option in your Getting Started Web Part that says Change the site theme. If you don't see this or you have different kind of site you can also get to the theme options from your Site Actions menu under Site Settings, where you'd expect to see this kind of stuff.
In your Site Settings page you'll actually see two options with the word theme. You'll have Themes under the Galleries section and Site theme under the Look and Feel. And the real difference here is that your Themes Galleries says which themes are available. And your Site theme selection says which one do I use. The Themes Gallery, which shows me right now a whole collection of themes that were created out of the box in SharePoint, this is actually changeable. I can upload my own themes to this gallery and make them available. In the previous version of SharePoint it was a pretty tedious process to create your own theme.
And it's certainly easier in this version. But we want to actually change the theme. So I am going to go back to my Site Settings page and select the Site theme option where you'll see a theme picker. And you may below it see an option to customize themes, depending on how your SharePoint server has been set up. The out-of-the-box themes in SharePoint range from fairly subtle to fairly intrusive. We can take something like the Azure theme. I am going to actually come down and rather than apply it, I'm going to click the Preview button to just get a preview of it without forcing it on everybody who is using this site.
And that's a fairly subtle change. Where as I could select another theme such as Berry, which might be a bit more of an impactful theme. Not quite what I was going for. Now one of the things that you can actually do if you have this Customize Theme option is you can select from your own grouping of colors. Now this is the part that may not work quite the way that you expect. We have a selection of names here such as Dark 1, Light 1, Dark 2 and Light 2 rather than heading, paragraph, body ,that kind of thing.
And we do have a Heading Font section and a Body Font section. On a typical SharePoint collaboration site like a team site or document workspace you'll find that the Heading Font and Body Font selections really don't have much of an impact. They are intended for a web site with the publishing feature enabled such as a Publishing Portal. If you're coming from a web design background you may be looking for a bit more descriptive settings for your options like heading and body text.
And unfortunately you are not going to get that. And there is a reason for it. And it's really that the idea of a theme in SharePoint 2010 is based on the idea of a theme in the other Office 2010 products. So if I'm in Word, for example, and I am looking at the different styles that I can use, well it allows me to choose fonts for my heading and body and colors, a whole color set. If you were to define a new theme in Word, you'd actually be given these options your Dark 1, Light 1, Dark 2, Light 2 options and so on.
And this is the model that they're trying to now use in SharePoint 2010, Dark 1, Light 1, Dark 2, Light 2. What that actually means for you as someone who is interested in changing your color scheme is you may have to do a bit of experimentation to actually understand what it means to be Dark 1 and Light 1. Dark 1 is really your classic text. So if I say change that to a dark green color. And I'm going to select Light 1 to a light brown color say for example. And then I'm going to select the Preview option.
This might not be exactly what I was looking for. So you may have to do quite a bit of experimentation if you're using this option to select a different color scheme for your SharePoint sites, because it's very easy to get something where the contrast is really going to mess things up. Luckily, I am only previewing this so I can come out of this window and cancel this whole setting without doing anything impactful. Themes can be useful to do a very quick color change. But you'll find that if you want to substantially affect the color scheme and the fonts that your sites are using, you are almost certainly going to have to get into a SharePoint Designer to do that.
If you want to create your own themes you can actually use an existing Office product. In fact it's PowerPoint that can create theme files that can then be uploaded to your own theme gallery. And you can use that as a starting point for creating your own theme and your own color schemes, without having to get into cascading style sheets and web design tools.
- Navigating with the Ribbon in SharePoint 2010
- Using the expanded search functionality
- Creating document sets
- Co-authoring documents
- Leveraging rich media support and themes
- Setting site permissions
- Integrating with Access and Visio Services
- Using SharePoint Designer and SharePoint Workspace