An Excel theme is a set of colors, fonts, and effects that can be applied to a workbook with a few clicks. Themes provide a consistent and professional look to your reports and also make it easier for you to adhere to branding and corporate identity guidelines.

Apply an Excel theme

You’ll find themes under the Page Layout tab in Excel.

Themes on the Page Layout tab

You can choose a theme for your book that will apply a collection of colors, fonts, and shape effects.

A selection of built-in themes

Or you can choose a specific font color or theme to apply.

Selection of colors

Excel has many built-in themes (as well as color and font themes) that can be applied to a workbook for visual impact, saving you time when trying to manually select colors and fonts that will work well together.

The image below shows the blue-green color theme applied to a book. Both charts adopt a color theme while maintaining a consistent look and feel.

Applied blue-green theme and its effect on charts

How to create your own theme

This is great! But being able to create your own theme is where the magic is.

Create your own color theme

Click the Colors list in the Themes group and click Customize Colors at the bottom of the list.

Create your own color theme

The Create New Theme Colors window opens.

Enter a name for your new color theme. In this example, I’m creating a color theme for the marketing team.

You then choose the colors you want to use in this theme from the lists and click Save when you’re done.

Customize colors in a color theme

This color theme is then available in the list of options that can be applied to the book.

The image below shows the applied theme and its effect on charts as well as cells behind the list.

Custom color theme applied to the book

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

Apply a fill color from a theme

Variants are the color options that I chose in the Marketing theme.

Create your own font theme

Click the Fonts button and click Customize Fonts.

Create a new font theme

The Edit Theme Fonts window opens.

Enter a name for your font theme and select the fonts you want to use for «Font Title» and «Font Body» from the lists. Click Save.

Setting the Font Theme

This font theme is then available in the Fonts list and applied to the book below.

The font theme applied to the book

Effects Theme

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

You cannot customize these themes, but you can choose one from the list provided by the «Effects» button.

Selecting an Effect Theme

How to save your theme

By creating and applying custom color and font themes, they can be saved together in one theme.

Click the Themes button and click Save Current Theme.

Save current theme

The Save Current Theme window opens. A theme is a THMX file that can be saved just like an Excel workbook.

Enter a file name for the theme.

The default location is in the templates folder. Excel automatically looks for topics here, so it’s a good idea to save it here; However, you can save the theme anywhere. Click Save.

Saving the current theme in the templates folder

You can now apply a theme to any book using the Themes button.

Selecting your custom theme from the gallery

If you saved the theme somewhere other than your templates folder, click Browse Themes to find it.

With the click of a button, all colors, fonts and effects are applied to the book. This can save you hours of formatting time.

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