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Consolidated Looks, Color Pallets, and Master Pages are Design Assets of SharePoint Online, Office 365

SharePoint Online, Office 365, like its on premises sibling, offers users an opportunity to create a custom look for branding sites. A quick way to build a custom look, as Yaroslav Pentsarskyy demonstrates in an exclusive video tutorial available on SharePoint-Videos titled Creating a custom look for SharePoint Online sites, is to edit one of the “Composed Looks” included with any SharePoint Online site. The set of “Composed Looks” actually appears as a SharePoint list and is accessible from the Site Settings page. By the way, this list is accessed whenever a user clicks on the “Change the Look” button from the SharePoint Online gear symbol.

Each item within the “Composed Looks” list includes a master page. Yaroslav explains how users can quickly access the complete repository of SharePoint Online master pages by simply clicking on the Site Settings option from the gear symbol and then clicking on the “Master Pages and Page Layouts” link.

It is also possible to access the repository of color pallets by opening an item from the “Consolidated Looks” list, noting the URL for the specific color pallet associated with the look you have selected, and then visiting the page for the library. But, as Yaroslav points out in this video tutorial, it rarely, if every benefits to take this route as color changes can be effected with much greater detail by working with the CSS for the master page. Readers should note there are some exceptions to this rule, and Yaroslav demonstrates one in this video.

As far as whether or not it makes sense for users to modify any of the out-of-the-box themes included with SharePoint Online sites, in keeping with his comments about color pallets, Yaroslav broadly advises not to modify these assets.

Readers interested in re-purposing assets like “Consolidated Looks”, master pages, etc, and sharing them across a set of SharePoint Online site collections, will need to plan on copying the set of custom master pages, pallets, etc. to each of the targeted site collections, as it is not possible build them once, save them, and then expose them across the entire set of site collections.

Ira Michael Blonder

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