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A Different Set of Methods are Required to Successfully Brand SharePoint Online, 2013, Sites

The CSS architecture of SharePoint Online, 2013, is very different from the same architecture for SharePoint 2010. In an article titled Branding issues that may occur when upgrading to SharePoint 2013, Microsoft alerts organizations supported with branded SharePoint Server 2010 sites to do some extensive testing before migrating to a live SharePoint Online, 2013, platform.

We thought as much. We tried to export a PowerPoint theme to our SharePoint Online, 2013, Enterprise platform, but couldn’t find a way to build a theme with it.

Another article on the Office web site, How to: Deploy a custom theme in SharePoint 2013, which is also accurate for Office 365, explains the role of the SharePoint Online, 2013 “Theme Gallery”, as well as how to upload custom themes to it.

As is the case with most of these articles, they are nested, so be prepared to click through them as you dive deeper into the steps you will need to take to implement a branded look for your SharePoint Online site.

Lots of information is included in a post to the SharePoint Blog, Show Off Your Style with SharePoint Theming. A note of caution, we found the presentation in this post to be hard to follow, but reading about the drag and drop features of the “Change the Look” feature look very interesting and worth the effort to absorb. Even better, the post promises readers an opportunity to ” . . . customize your site in minutes by playing with four basic levers: colors, site layout, fonts, and background image. By changing these, you can get a look that is truly unique.” We definitely plan on checking out the steps in this post.

Branding is an important capability for most organizations. We’re tinkering around with the design of our SharePoint Online presence and will share tips on successful methods of quickly customizing the look and feel of our site. One of the customization methods we plan on exploring is customizing the out of the box .xml files: SPColor.xml and SPFont.xml.

Ira Michael Blonder

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