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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.
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!
Our example worksheet is a list of clients. We have already applied the 'Frame' theme to our spreadsheet. We like the fonts, but would like a different color scheme. Click on the theme colors command to expand the gallery of theme-based color combinations and choices. Selecting one of the color pallets will change your colors, but all other elements of the theme will remain the same. The same is true for the theme fonts command. You can change the font of the title row and body, but not the theme colors.
On occasion you may want to add a shape or object to your spreadsheet, such as an arrow, circle or even a SmartArt. For instance, let's say you have a spreadsheet that details the revenue results over the last six months for your team of sellers. One particular seller, Mike, seems to increase his revenue results month after month. You could add a shape of an arrow as a way to call attention to Mike.
The theme effects command allows you to add different visual effects, such as shadows or 3-D properties, to your objects. Just like with colors and fonts, each theme comes with its own effect for objects. However, with the theme effects command, you can change the properties of an object, without changing the theme assigned colors and fonts.
Themes in Excel give you a way to keep your fonts, colors and effects consistent throughout your workbook. They make it easier to make overall changes to your spreadsheet as well, rather than making one change at a time. Themes give your worksheets a bit of variety, and with the many different theme options, along with the individual theme element commands, you have an endless amount of options and combinations to choose from.
So next time you create a spreadsheet, practice with Excel themes. Add a bit of life to your facts, figures, data and calculations, and grab the attention of the reader.
After watching this video lesson, it should be easier for you to:
- Explain what themes are in MS Excel
- Describe how to locate the different theme choices
- Demonstrate how to change the colors and fonts
- Recall what the theme effects command allows you to do
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