New site theming options for SharePoint sites in Office 365
Published Aug 07 2017 04:12 PM 107K Views

Sometimes there’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to make a room or a house look new, familiar and engaging! Well, get your paint brushes ready. The new site theming experience was previewed in Orlando, FL last month at Microsoft Ignite and will begin rolling out as an update to First Release customers in a few weeks (early November 2017).


This new capability provides site owners with eight default themes that can be applied to all pages of the site; both within team sites and communication sites. Additionally, custom themes can be created and uploaded to a customer’s theme gallery and made available through the same Change the look panel within each site.

Click on the upper-right gear icon and select "Change the look" to open and select your preferred default or custom SharePoint site theme.Click on the upper-right gear icon and select "Change the look" to open and select your preferred default or custom SharePoint site theme.

See and learn more from two related Ignite sessions. 1) “Using custom themes and designs to standardize the creation of clean, functional SharePoint”, and 2) “What’s new and what's coming for branding and organizing your SharePoint sites.”


Change the look of your SharePoint sites in Office 365

Anytime is a good time to update the look and feel of your site. This may be simply to give it a little bump in visual interest, or to unify the experience for your users across multiple sites. And it’s easy, adjustable in minutes.


To get started, just click the upper-right site gear icon, and then select Change the look. You will now see your current theme selection in addition to any company themes your administrator has uploaded and six neutral and two dark SharePoint themes (note: these are optional as admins can use new PowerShell commands can hide Microsoft default site themes). You then can quickly click on each item and see the change in real-time.

You can configure the default SharePoint themes, adjusting the Main and Accent colors.You can configure the default SharePoint themes, adjusting the Main and Accent colors.

With this update, site owners can configure the default SharePoint themes by adjusting the Main and Accent colors (note: accent colors currently only show up in select web parts – like the Hero web part, with more coming in page regions and web parts in the future).


This new site theming experience is available on classic site templates, too. For classic sites, a new site theming panel will be available, allowing site owners to apply one of the new modern themes to all pages of the site by selecting the theme of their choice. Note: classic sites that do not use SP JavaScript will render un-themed if the site theme is changed. If you would like to maintain custom themes on classic sites, as administrator, you can opt out of the new theming experience by using Microsoft PowerShell.


For more information on working with SharePoint site themes, please review the Change the look of your SharePoint site article and SharePoint site theming for in-depth documentation - including working with modern themes in classic sites.


Custom SharePoint site themes

Need a little more than out-of-box, and want to manage your site more programmatically? Well, now you can. SharePoint sites within Office 365 can have custom site themes, and admins can control which ones appear for their site users.


SharePoint site owners have new options for applying custom styles and colors to sites that make it easier to define and manage themes across site collections. These new features include:

  • The ability to define custom themes and make them available to site owners. Themes are defined in a JSON schema that stores color settings and related metadata for each theme.
  • A simplified set of default themes, with six light themes and two dark themes presently available.
  • Control over which themes are available for use on pages within your sites. For example, you can define custom themes based on your organization's branding or identity, and make those the only available themes within your sites.

For more info on creating and managing custom site themes – please try out the Theme Generator on and review the SharePoint site theming articles on for more insight into JSON schemas, PowerShell cmdlets (for adding and managing custom site themes in your theme gallery), API documentation, and more.


And you may have heard about SharePoint hub sites, and how a team site or communication site that is joined to a hub site will inherit the hub site theme. It’s important to note that you can think of hub sites, when they release in early 2018, as another site within Office 365 that can have out-of-box themes that can be configured and/or custom site themes – and whatever theme the hub site has applied, it will cascade down to the associated team and communication sites. This will help provide consistency across sites by your design.


In no-time you’ll have your sites looking spiffy, new and coordinated.


Thanks, and happy painting,



Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I expect the new SharePoint site theme capabilities to roll out to Office 365 customers?

A: Site themes and the ability to configure and/or customize them will begin to roll out to First Release customers approximately one week from the time of this post update —starting with First Release Select Users—and will be completed within 3-4 weeks. We are targeting end of November 2017 for complete worldwide rollout.

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‎Apr 09 2018 10:10 AM
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