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Using Themes in MS Office

Well here we are, several years into learning to work with the Themes that were introduced with Office 2007.

Personally, I really like them, but then again I tend to do a lot with shapes and SmartArt type diagrams with my students, to help them see the connections that they need to make.

At any rate, I use Themes or at least parts of them all the time.

I’m big into choosing color schemes. I like to mix it up when it comes to the colors I use as well as the effects I apply to the shapes in my diagrams.

Given that I’m in and out of that stuff so much, it actually surprises me that it took me this long to notice that different Themes come with different preset Shape Style sets for my SmartArt elements.

Don’t ask me how I missed it… not paying attention again… but now that I work with this detail in mind, I find that I’m liking the results I’m getting more than ever.

If you go to the Page Layout tab of the Ribbon (or the Design tab in PowerPoint), you’ll find the Themes section on the far left.


To the right of the Theme button, I’m sure you’ve noticed the Colors, Fonts and Effects buttons as well.

So here’s what I mean when I say that we can mix & match colors, fonts and effects.

You can choose any color set (or make a custom one) from the Colors button.


Below that, you can click the Font button to choose a font set from any Theme – even if it doesn’t match the color set you chose.


The Effects button gives you this aspect of the Themes to choose from:


As you can see, each Theme comes with a set of predefined effects for the shapes used when that particular Theme is applied.

This is my favorite setting when working with shapes because it can turn my Shape Styles palette (SmartArt Tools Format tab) from the one offered with the Office Theme:


Into this one from the Metro Theme:


Same colors, different set of effects available for application to my SmartArt shapes.

The ability to mix and match elements of different Themes is one of my favorite things about the whole Theme concept. For someone who is picky when it comes to just about everything, this is an easy way to create what I need and have it look exactly as my picky nature wants it to look.

~ April