Workbook Themes: Applying & Changing Themes in Excel

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  • 0:03 Themes
  • 1:05 Theme Choices
  • 2:17 Theme Colors & Fonts
  • 3:20 Theme Effects
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

Themes in MS Excel are a collection of colors, fonts and effects designed to provide consistency throughout your workbook. This lesson will discuss how to apply themes to your MS Excel documents.


Themes are a combination of colors, fonts and effects that can be applied to worksheets. You can select from the predefined, built-in themes, or you can get creative and modify existing theme elements.

Themes are a common feature throughout Microsoft's products. You will see them used frequently in PowerPoint presentations; however, themes are also available in Excel. Excel is known for facts and figures, data and calculations. When we think of this type of information, pretty colors and fancy fonts don't usually come to mind. Therefore, few people use themes to enhance their worksheets. However, themes in Excel can make it easier to make overall changes to your workbook and help you format all the text and graphics for consistency to keep your worksheets uniform.

This lesson will review the different themes available, demonstrate how to apply themes to a worksheet and review additional options to change the overall color and font scheme.

Theme Choices

First, let's take a look at the your theme choices. Go to the page layout menu in the ribbon and look in the themes grouping of commands. It's on the far left. If you click on the themes more icon (the upside-down triangle), a gallery will open offering many options. Simply select an option to change the fonts and colors in the spreadsheet. As with all things Microsoft, Excel gives you the option to preview each theme by hovering your mouse over each selection.

Here is an important note to keep in mind. The colors available for font, shaded areas and lines are dependent on the theme you choose. In the lesson video, I have six cells filled with colors from the 'Vapor Trail' theme. If I change the theme to 'Circuit,' the color fill for the cells will change automatically. The new colors are the ones assigned to the 'Circuit' theme. In addition, if you open the color palette in the ribbon, we have a new set of available colors, based on the new selected theme.

Theme Colors and Fonts

Let's talk about theme colors and fonts. Just to the right of the theme command are three additional elements: colors, fonts and effects. Let's focus on the first two: colors and fonts.

There might come a time when you like the font of a theme, but not the colors. Or, you may want the colors, but would rather select a different font. If this is the case, these commands are for you!

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