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This is the second in a two part post on how Office Themes can generate effectively limitless variations. The first part appeared last week.
Office Themes work across the major applications in Office. Everything in this post can also be done in Word, Excel and Outlook email messages as well. In PowerPoint the Design Tab is the user interface that provides control over all of this theme variation. In Word and Excel you'll find the Themes group on the Page Layout Tab.
Today we'll focus on changing theme fonts, colors and effects.
Every Office theme defines two fonts -- one for Headings and one for Body text. Changing the theme fonts updates all the title and bullet text in your presentation. In previous releases you had to go to master view to make this kind of a global change.
The Theme Fonts gallery presents font sets derived from all the fonts used in other themes. You'll notice the names above each set follows the theme names. You can also create your own new Theme Font set using the "Create…" command at the bottom of the gallery.
Changing Theme Fonts can change the tone of a presentation from casual to formal or vice versa.
We'll take the variation in the lower right which uses the Gill Sans MT font set onto the next step.
Our Theme Color model, shown in Part 1 of this post, is structured such that all colors schemes work with any presentation or document. A properly constructed Office Theme Color set will preserve legibility of all content -- in addition to looking great. In past releases each design template shipped with its own set of color schemes that worked for that design template only. That model, while quite effective, simply did not translate to Word and Excel where the page background is nearly always white. We needed a color model that could handle light and dark backgrounds. Solving this design problem also spawned the idea for the Background Styles gallery described in last week's post.
The Theme Colors gallery displays all the color sets from our built in theme set. And you can create your own Theme Color set using the "Create…" command at the bottom of the gallery.
Changing Theme colors is the most dramatic change you can make to your slides with the exception of changing theme.
Let's take the variation to the lower right, which is using Oriel's Theme colors, on to the next step.
Theme Effects give you the power to create cool graphics like a Photoshop professional. Each effect scheme specifies the way that effects should be applied to your shapes, charts, diagrams and even tables. Using the Theme Effects gallery you can swap in different sets of graphic effects to quickly change the look of these objects.
Here are four different effect schemes shown close up on a single shape in the SmartArt diagram from our slide.
Let's take the lower right variation, based on the effects from the Concourse theme. This is our last step.
Here's the final results of our customizations. The original Trek theme is on the left and our variation based on changes to the background style, colors, fonts and effects is on the right.
Just to make it a little clearer how far you can vary for the original theme, here's one more twist on the original Trek theme using the solid black background style, new fonts and the effect scheme from the Equity theme.
Every one of our new themes has this kind of customizability.
Once you have customized a theme the way you like it simply choose the "Save Current Theme..." command from the bottom of the theme gallery. Name it and save it. Your theme variation will be added to the top of your Theme gallery in the Custom section.
The "Search Office Online..." command will take you to an area of Office Online where you can download more themes. It's currently under construction but there will be a set of cool new themes there by the time Office 2007 ships.
Exactly How Much Variety?
We're planning to ship twenty themes "in the box." And each of those themes provides the twenty sets of colors, fonts and effects that fill the customization galleries. And, as covered in last week's post, there are twelve Background Styles. So you can calculate the number of variations possible within each theme:
20 Color sets x 20 Fonts sets x 20 Effects sets x 12 Background Styles = 96,000
While that's not quite infinite I mentioned above that you can create your own new color and font sets. And you can download new themes from Office Online which will give you new colors, fonts and effects. All of which you can mix and match with any theme. So that takes you the rest of the way to infinity -- and beyond. ;-)
Great post again and thanks for the RSS change! Just wanted to let you know that the pic for the design tab and the one right above the 'theme color' heading don't load.
Great post! Thanks for sharing this. Paasing it along to my clients and readers on my blog.
One thing I've not figured out playing with beta 2, and you don't mention here... is it or will it be possible to design one's own themes from scratch? I suspect that many companies will be wanting to bring their corporate presentation themes forward to 2007 and take advantage of some of the shiny new bits too.
Very nice set of posts. I liked the 4-box graphics that really illustrated the options - well done. Don't have much use for Powerpoint lately, but I can sure use this "theming power" :) in Word, Excel, and Access!
Reply to MattW:
Yes, from base scratch by modifying the XML. But also, more practically, by modifying the elements of the theme in PowerPoint and then using Save As... Theme. Either will make makes a theme that is compatible with Word and Excel as well. Richard Bretschneider
"We'll take the variation in the lower right which uses the Gill Sans MT font set onto the next step." Well, the font is Gill Sans MT on the next slide, but in the variation shown it's Trebuchet. (Just a remark from a typophile who enjoys your blog.)