I understand that in 2010 I can create themes for my site with PowerPoint 2010.

The question is .... how do would I know how to change the background color of the ribbon for example using a PowerPoint theme?

In addition, when on the site, I do not get the option for customizing the colors (when previewing themes).

Just seems I am missing some information on how a theme in powerpoint relates to the different elements in SharePoint.



2 Answers 2


Theme files (.thmx) for SharePoint only allow you to do so much - edit the fonts and basic colours of major elements like titles, headings, borders etc.

If you want to go further (e.g. change the background colour of the ribbon), you have to get a bit more advanced, using SharePoint Designer 2010.

One way to proceed is this: once you have applied your theme, open up SharePoint designer, and navigate to the theme folder (something like _catalogs/themes I think). Find the right CSS file (most of the CSS you will want to edit is in the one with CORE in the name), and edit the CSS to change the background ribbon colour. The tricky bit is figuring out which CSS element to edit - there are tons of them.

To help, I use FireFox with the Web Developer Toolbar extension, or Chrome, to help me find out what CSS elements are controlling elements on the page.

Another way to do this is to write your own CSS file, and go to site settings -> master page, and specify that file as the 'alternate CSS file', which will override all other CSS.


This page has a nice summary of what each colour in the theme actually maps to. It is indeed possible to change the ribbon colour just by changing the theme; you just have to know which colour goes where. (In this case, Dark2 is the top of the ribbon, and Light2 the bottom.)

You shouldn't need to go and edit any CSS directly unless you want the theme colours to correspond to different areas of the site. At this point you may want to look into themable CSS, which allows you to write CSS that will change colour if you change theme colours.

Also note that, on the theme browsing page in Site Settings, you only get the option to customize the theme colours if the site is a publishing site. Otherwise, you only get a choice of themes.

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