Monthly Archives: December 2010

Office 2010 Themes

Creating a document that has a uniform look from start to finish when there are so many different colours, fonts and text effects available can be challenging. And getting a Word document to match an associated Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation can add another layer of difficulty. Fortunately, we can make use of Office themes.

A theme is a coordinated selection of colours, fonts and text effects. Each Microsoft Office program uses colours, fonts and text effects so you’ll find that Office themes are consistent across them all. This means that you can create a collection of Word documents, Excel spreadhseets and PowerPoint presentations that all have the same overall look.

We’ll look at themes in Word in this tutorial, but you’ll find that the process of using them is the same whichever Office program you’re using.

To apply a theme to your Word document, go to the Page Layout tab and you’ll find a Themes group on the left. If you click on the Themes button, a gallery opens that displays all the themes you can use.

Office 2010 Themes

Hovering over the image of a particular theme temporarily applies it to your document so you can see what it looks like. This is called a Live Preview, and it’s removed when you move the cursor away from that theme. Live Previews allow you to easily move from theme to theme, previewing what each one looks like quickly without having to click to apply it, ctrl-z to undo it and  then click on another to try that one. To apply a theme, just click on it. It applies to the whole of your document.

Although each theme that Office provides looks good, you might want to use one as a starting point and amend it to your own tastes. To modify the current theme, you can use the Colours, Fonts and Effects drop down lists in the Themes group (Page Layout tab). Let’s explore what’s on offer when we click on each one of those buttons:

  • Colours – the colours drop down list displays all the different colour schemes attached to themes. Office, Grayscale, Adjacency etc are all Office themes and each corresponding colour scheme is seen here.
  • Fonts – the same is true of fonts: each font combination displayed corresponds to a theme.
  • Effects – each effect displayed also is from a matching theme.

You can mix and match the preset combinations of colours, fonts and themes that we saw above, but you can also define your own. At the bottom of each drop down list there is the option to create your own combination. The principle is the same whether you’re creating a new combination of colours, fonts or effects so we’ll look at fonts for this example.

To create a new set of theme fonts, click the Fonts button in the Themes group and click Create New Theme Fonts at the bottom.

Create New Theme Fonts

In the window that opens, name your new font combination.

New Theme Fonts

Creating new theme fonts is easy as all we have to do is choose a font for headings and a font for body text. The Sample window provides a preview of what your selections look like. When you’ve made your selections, click Save and you’ll find your new theme fonts available for selection when you click the Fonts button again. Because you built this font combination, it is displayed in the Custom group at the top. Now you can select it like all the other pre-built ones.

Create Your Own Office Theme

Above, we saw how we can create a new set of theme fonts. We can apply those to the current document and we can also make other changes to colours and text effects used, too. Eventually, our document may look nothing like the original theme we started out using. If we think we might use again the styling we created here in future documents, we can save it as a new theme. To do so, click the Themes button in the Themes group (Page Layout tab) and click Save Current Theme at the bottom. The Save Current Theme window opens and you’ll notice that the location you’re about to save the theme in is the Document Themes folder that Microsoft specifies for all its programs.

Save New Theme

Click to enlarge

This means that your new theme can now be used by any Office program. If you create an Excel spreadsheet and click on the Themes button, you’ll see your new theme in the Custom group at the top. If you select that theme, the colours, fonts and text effects used will be the same as the current Word document.

P.S. You might also have noticed that the theme you’re saving is a file that has a .thmx extension. That’s the extension for Office themes.

System Restore Points

Creating a system restore point in Windows 7 allows you to take a snapshot of your computer’s settings while everything works correctly. Then, if anything messes up, you can return to that restore point quite easily. Often when we install new software, things go wrong, so setting up a restore point is recommended before you make any major changes to your system.

The good news is that Windows 7 automatically creates system restore points (it calls them checkpoints) once a day. Additionally, it also saves a restore point every time you successfully start Windows.

A system restore point contains Registry entries and copies of certain critical programs including drivers and key system files. It’s a “snapshot” of crucial system settings and programs. Rolling back to a restore point replaces your undesirable current settings and programs with older versions that date from when the restore point was saved.

Often, Windows 7 can detect when you’re about to do something significant to your system (for example, installing a new network card) and creates a restore point automatically. Unfortunately, though, it can’t always tell.

But if you suspect that what you’re about to do to your PC may break it, you can always save a restore point yourself.

How To Create A Restore Point

It’s a good idea to wait until your system is running smoothly before you take a restore point. When it is, do the following:

  1. Make sure that you’re using an administrator account.
  2. Click the Start button, right click on Computer and select Properties. On the left, click on System Protection.
System Protection - Windows 7

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Registry entries and copies of certain critical programs including, notably, drivers and key system files — a “snapshot” of crucial system settings and programs.

Now click on the Create button (bottom right).

Create A Restore Point In Windows 7

In the next window you can name the restore point. It’s a good idea to use a meaningful description that gives you a clue about what you are about to do after the restore point has been created. Then click Create.

Name the restore point

When the restore point has been created, you should get the following confirmation message.

Restore point created

Should anything go wrong, you can now revert to this checkpoint. Let’s look at the process of rolling back your computer to a restore point.

Rolling Back To A Restore Point

If you make a change to your system and things go wrong, you may want to roll back to the last point in time that your system was running smoothly. To revert to a system restore point, click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore. System Restore presents a list of recent available restore points.

Roll Back To A System Restore Point

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It’s a good idea to check what will be affected by rolling back to a particular restore point, so select it and then click Scan for affected programs. System Restore tells you which programs and drivers have system entries (typically in the Registry) that will be altered and which programs will be deleted if you select that specific restore point. If you’re happy with the changes that willl take place on restoring to this checkpoint, click Next. You’ll then need to confirm the restore and click Finish to start the proceedings.

Note that system restore doesn’t change any of your data files, such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets etc. It just reverts to previous states of system files and system settings.