Themes overview (SharePoint Foundation 2010)

SharePoint 2010

Applies to: SharePoint Foundation 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2011-09-18

Themes provide a quick and easy way to apply colors and fonts to sites in Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010. When a theme is applied to a site, the color of most page elements — such as background images, text, and hyperlinks — changes. The fonts used for some page elements, such as titles, also change. Themes can be used with the standard SharePoint Foundation 2010 site templates, or with custom master pages, and then themes can be created that site owners can apply to their sites.

This article includes an overview of themes and how they work. This article does not describe how to create custom themes by using Microsoft Office 2010 applications, or how to upload and manage themes in a theme library. It also does not discuss how to plan for the overall branding of sites by using master pages or cascading style sheets. For more information, see Building Block: Pages and User Interface.

In this article:

Themes enable lightweight branding of a SharePoint Foundation 2010 site by allowing a site owner or a user with designer rights to make changes to the colors and fonts of user interface elements of a site. Themes are applied directly in the user interface, and do not require knowledge of cascading style sheets or master pages.

If you apply a theme to a SharePoint Foundation 2010 site, anonymous users who browse the site will see only the default theme. To make the selected theme appear for all users, you must add a link in the master page to the generated .css file.

An advantage of using themes is that developer resources are not needed for site owners and users with designer rights to make basic changes to a site. Themes are a simple method of branding a site; they do not affect the layout of a site.

Themes in SharePoint Foundation 2010 have been redesigned to simplify the process of generating themes. Themes created in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 are not compatible with SharePoint Foundation 2010. If you are upgrading from Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 to SharePoint Foundation 2010, you can use Visual Upgrade to continue to use sites in the old user interface. However, we recommend that you use the new user interface in SharePoint Foundation 2010 to create themes and apply them to your sites.

There are two ways to use themes on a site:

  • Use a preinstalled theme.

  • Upload a custom theme to the theme library.

SharePoint Foundation 2010 comes with preinstalled themes, including the default SharePoint theme. When a new site is created, it will use the default SharePoint theme.

You can create custom themes by modifying styles in an Office 2010 application, such as Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, and saving the theme. This creates a .thmx file that you can upload to the theme gallery for a site collection. Customized themes in the theme gallery are available to all sites in that site collection. For more information about themes in Office 2010 applications, see What is a theme? ( For information about how to create and upload themes to SharePoint Foundation 2010, see Working with SharePoint 2010 Themes (