Fixing OOXML

Office 2007 themes

Fixing OOXML

Themes are a new feature in Office 2007. Each theme consists of a pair of fonts, 12 colours and three groups of settings for lines, fills, backgrounds and other effects. The two fonts are used for headings and body text, while the 12 colours are broken down into two light/dark pairs used for text and backgrounds, six accent colours, plus a colour each for unused and followed hyperlinks. The groups of settings for lines, fills and the rest are labelled Subtle, Moderate and Intense. Taken all together, these settings interact with styles, stylesets, text, diagrams, charts and pictures in a document to radically change the whole look of the document with a couple of clicks. Word 2007, Excel 2007 and PowerPoint 2007 all fully understand Themes, while Outlook 2007, Access 2007, Publisher 2007 and Visio 2007 partially implement Themes or offer some similar functionality.

In Word, Excel and PowerPoint, the font drop-down on the Home tab of the Ribbon starts with Theme Fonts and shows you the heading and body fonts from each theme. (The Font dialog shows “+Body” and “+Headings” at the top of its list, as well as the names of the individual fonts.) If you create a new document in Word 2007, straight out of the box the headings will be in Cambria and the body text in Calibri, because those are the default fonts in the standard “Office” theme. However, these font names aren’t hard-coded into the Normal and Heading 1, Heading 2 styles – the styles themselves point to “+Body” and “+Headings” to get their fonts, and so the document follows the chosen theme. If you change the theme, on the Page Layout tab in Word and Excel or the Design tab in PowerPoint, you’ll see the fonts (and colours and effects) all change throughout your document.

Of course, if you manually set the font for some text or a style to a specific named font without using the Theme Fonts, that text or style will no longer follow the current theme. To set it back, select the text or style and alter the font to either the body or headings font from Theme Fonts. Beware that if your body font is, say, Calibri, then Calibri may occur two or three times in the list of fonts, but only the top one, listed as “Calibri (Body)”, is the theme font – the others, from the lists of Recently Used Fonts or All Fonts, will hard-code the font name rather than following the theme. Also, if your theme uses the same font for headings and body text, it’s important to pick the right version at each point so the document will look right if you change themes.

If you show the Styles Task Pane () and hover over Heading 1, you’ll see that, as well as defining the font for that style as “(Default) +Headings, 14pt, Bold” it also defines it as having “Font Color: Accent 1”. If you select some heading text in the document and then click the Font Color drop-down, you’ll see the ten main theme colours (Background 1, Text 1, Background 2, Text 2 and Accents 1 to 6). Below these are five variations on each colour, such as Lighter by 80%, 60% and 40% and Darker by 25% and 50% – Text, Background and Accent colours offer different variations: that’s 60 different colours to choose from. Below the Theme Colors is a row of standard colours, and below that the “More Colors…” option that leads to the standard Windows Colour Picker dialog. If you pick from one of the Theme Colors, the selected text will follow that theme colour whenever you change theme. Pick a standard or custom colour and it obviously won’t follow the theme. You’ll see this theme colour picker wherever you set colours for text, background, fills, lines and so on.

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