Excel: how to save time with your topics

An Excel theme is a collection of colors, fonts and effects that you can apply to a spreadsheet with a couple of clicks. The themes ensure a consistent and professional appearance to your reports and allow you to adhere more easily to the identity and brand guidelines of the company in which you are working.

Apply an Excel theme

First, you will find the topics in the "Page Layout" tab of Excel.

You can select a theme for your workbook, which would apply the collection of colors, fonts and shape effects.

Or, you can select only a specific color or a font theme to apply.

Excel presents many built-in themes and also color and font themes; that you can apply to a workbook for a visual impact. Which saves you time trying to choose colors and fonts by hand that work well together.

The following image shows the theme of the blue and green color applied to a workbook. Both letters adopt the theme of color, maintaining a consistent appearance and feeling.

How to create a custom theme

This is great! But the ability to create a custom theme is where the magic is.

Create a custom color theme in Excel

First, click on the "Colors" list in the Themes group and click on "Customize colors" at the bottom of the list.

This will open the Create new theme colors window. Enter a name for your new color theme. In this example, we are creating a color theme for a "marketing team." Now select the colors you would like to be available in this theme from the lists and click "Save" when you are done.

This color theme is available in the list of options to apply to the book. The image below shows the applied theme and its impact on the graphics. It also shows the topic in the cells behind the list.

The theme applied will also affect the options you get when applying colors in other areas of Excel. For example, you can see the color selection now available when applying the fill color.

The options are variations of the colors that we select in the theme "Marketing".

Create a custom font theme

Click on the "Fonts" button and then click on "Customize Fonts."

As you will see, the Edit theme sources window opens.

Enter a name for your font theme and select the fonts you want to use for the "Header font" and the "Body font" from the lists. Now click on "Save."

This source theme is available in the "Sources" list and applies to the workbook below.

Effects theme

The theme of effects is a selection of shadows, reflections, lines and other effects that can be applied to shapes.

You cannot customize these themes, but you can select one from the list provided by the "Effects" button.

How to save your custom theme

With custom color and font themes created and applied, they can be saved together in a single theme. To do this, click on the "Themes" button and then click on "Save Current Theme".

The "Save current theme" window will open. A theme is a THMX file and can be saved as an Excel workbook.

Now, enter a filename for the theme. The default location is in the templates folder. Excel automatically searches for topics here, so we recommend saving it here. However, you can save a theme anywhere. Then, just click on Save. ยป

The theme can now be applied to any workbook from the "Themes" button.

If you saved the theme somewhere else, and not in the template folder, click on "Find themes" to locate it. With the click of a button, all colors, fonts and effects are applied to the workbook. This can save hours of formatting time.