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Customizing the Look of a SharePoint Online Team Site from the Change the Look Page

The theme engine for SharePoint Online has been changed, substantially, from SharePoint Server 2010. Site owners should develop a familiarity with the new theme methods to make the process of making superficial changes to site appearance comparatively easy.

It’s helpful, as noted in Show Off Your Style With SharePoint Theming, by Lionel Robinson, Program Manager, SharePoint Engineering Team at Microsoft, to conceptualize the important features of the new SharePoint Online theming engine as:

  1. Colors
  2. Site Layout
  3. Fonts
  4. and Background Image

Themes, or “Composed Looks” are built with each of the above noted four components. Numbers 1), and 3) are .xml files, which, as Lionel Robinson explains in his article, replace the old THMX file format. Color files, referred to as “SPColor” files in Lionel Robinson’s article, reside in the http://your site collection/_catalogs/theme/15 folder along with the “SPfont” files. The SPColor files are named “Pallette[number or custom designation]”. The SPfont files are named “fontscheme[number or custom designation]”.

We downloaded one of the Pallette files and edited it easily with our text editor. There were 91 settings in the file. The text string for each line was completely consistent as per below:

s:color name=”ContentAccent1″ value=”0072C6″

The “name” in the string should be self explanatory. The “value” is the RGB color value. Using any tool capable of modifying text color based on RGB values, you can experiment and build your own color schemes for text.

In his article, Lionel Robinson refers to a drag and drop process to quickly change the background image on any of the out of the box themes provided with SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online, Office 365. This “drop an image” capability must be accessed by first clicking on any of the themes listed on the “Change the Look” page. It won’t work correctly on the “Change the Look” page, itself.

Site owners can also quickly change the colors of any of the themes by simply moving their mouse over any of the color schemes exposed in the “Colors” section of the “Change the Look” page.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved