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