Apply Themes to Word 2007 documents

Word 2007 Inside Out book cover

Microsoft Office Word 2007 Inside Out
By Katherine Murray, Mary Millhollon, and Beth Melton

Katherine Murray has authored and coauthored more than 40 computer books with several Microsoft Office titles to her credit, including Faster Smarter Microsoft Office System—2003 Edition, First Look Microsoft Office 2003, Faster Smarter Microsoft Office XP, and Microsoft Word Version 2002 Inside Out. She is also a columnist on the Microsoft Office Community site on www.microsoft.com. Katherine specializes in teaching people and businesses how to communicate effectively by using print and electronic media.

Mary Millhollon is an expert Web designer, developer, and content specialist with years of experience in the publishing industry, including books, magazines, newspapers, and courseware. She is also a writer, editor, and instructor who has authored and coauthored several popular books about Microsoft Office and the Web, including Microsoft Word Version 2002 Inside Out and Faster Smarter Web Page Creation. She is the owner of Bughouse Productions.

Beth Melton has been a computer instructor and developer since January 1995. Along with developing custom Microsoft Office solutions for a wide range of clients and instructing computer classes for local area colleges, she writes regularly on the Microsoft Office applications for Web sites including Microsoft Office Online, TechTrax Online Magazine, The Word MVP Site, and the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Beth has been a Microsoft Office MVP since 2000 and is a Microsoft Office Specialist Master Instructor.

To learn more about other books on the 2007 Microsoft Office system, visit Microsoft Press.


In this article


If you've ever spent any amount of time painstakingly selecting fonts, coordinating colors, or wishing you had a graphic artist on hand to handle all of the choices you need to make in creating high-impact and persuasive documents, you will love using Themes in Microsoft Office Word 2007. If you've used styles in previous versions of Word, you will be excited to learn how to apply Themes in your document. This article explains how Themes enable you to choose—with a single click of the mouse—a consistent, professional look for your documents. What's more, you can use the same Theme for all sorts of collateral materials so that your annual report has a similar design to your brochures, your organization's stationery, your newsletter, and your Web page. Office Word 2007 includes a gallery of 20 Themes right out of the box. You can also modify Themes to create new ones or design Themes from scratch. In addition, you can download new Themes from Microsoft Office Online so that your Themes gallery is continually expanding.

Themes in Word 2007

One of the key design objectives in the new look and feel of Word 2007 is to provide users with easy-to-use tools for creating professional, high-quality documents. Themes constitute a big step toward this design goal by enabling you to apply the work of professional designers to the documents you create with a click of the mouse. In addition, you can create your own Themes that include the fonts, colors, and styles used in your existing materials.

To create the best possible effect for professional documents, most people invest some time in finding and choosing formatting options for headings, body text, captions, borders, and so on. Choosing fonts that seem to go together well by using colors and styles that complement each other typically takes at least a little trial and error. And when you're working under a deadline, that trial and error period uses up precious time.

Word 2007 attempts to cut out much of the time you spend selecting options to control the format of your document. By choosing a Theme, you can create professional documents with a coordinated set of colors, fonts, and backgrounds. You'll never again have to wonder about what looks good together. When you create a new document, you can simply choose the same Theme you used for previous documents, thereby ensuring that everything you create has the same look and feel, and thus adding to the consistent way you present your department or company (which helps build recognition).

Themes represent a huge addition to Microsoft Office 2007 and not simply to Word alone. When you create a document using the Opulent Theme in Word, you can also craft a presentation in Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 that uses the same Opulent Theme. And let's not leave out Microsoft Office Excel 2007—the same Themes are available for your worksheets and reports in Office Excel 2007 as well. This means you can put together a complete package—your monthly newsletter and program literature, your year-end financials and fundraising reports, and a professional presentation for your board—all by using the same Theme that can literally be applied with a single click of the mouse.

 Note   A few things must be in order before you can change Themes with a click of the mouse, however. First, you need to work with a document in Word 2007 format (Themes are not available in Compatibility Mode). Next, you need to assign styles to the elements in your document (such as Heading 1 or Heading 2 from the Styles group of the Home tab). Themes look for and replace the formats of each of the styles applied to the document elements.

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What's in a Theme?

Document Themes enable you to change the way that text, tables, and special elements are formatted throughout your document. A Theme includes the following elements:

  • The font used for headings and body text (including the color, style, and spacing)
  • Theme effects including 3-D effects, shadowing, lighting, and more

Figure 1 displays an annual report that uses the Verve Theme. The Theme settings influence the format of the document in the following ways:

  • The font style and color used for the “Facilities” heading
  • The font type, style, and color used for the paragraph text
  • The fonts used in the table headings and row values
  • The table style (alternating banded rows) applied to the table
  • The color used in the shape symbol to the left of the heading if it has been added with Insert, Shapes.

Themes change document automatically

Figure 1 When you choose a new Theme, styled elements in your document change automatically.

When you choose a Theme, the settings are instantly applied to styled elements in your document. You can change Themes as often as you like, trying on different looks until you get just the right effect for your document.

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Themes, Quick Styles, and Templates

Every document already has an applied Theme. When you first create a blank document by clicking the Microsoft Office Button and choosing New (or pressing Ctrl+N), the Office Theme is applied automatically. This Theme coordinates many of the formatting choices that you make throughout the document. For example, suppose that you choose the Equity Theme for your current document. A specific set of fonts, colors, and Theme effects are applied to the document.

Additionally, the Quick Styles available in the Styles area of the Home tab are orchestrated to fit, design-wise, with the Equity Theme. The fonts represented in the Quick Styles are those determined by your Theme selection. If you choose a different Theme, different styles will appear in the Styles gallery to reflect your selection. You can further fine-tune your selection by choosing a particular Quick Style set for your document. When you click the Change Styles arrow (in the Styles group of the Home tab) and choose Style Set, a list of design categories appears (see Figure 2). You can choose the category that reflects the style you want to create, and all items—fonts, colors, and effects—consistent with the Theme choices are applied to your document.

Quick Style set helps you target the style

Figure 2 The Quick Style set helps you target the style of your document in relation to the selected Theme.

Other galleries offer choices related to the Equity template selection as well. For example, when you create a table and choose a style in the Table Styles gallery (available on the Design tab of the contextual Table Tools tools), the table styles in that gallery are orchestrated to match the Equity Theme, as shown in Figure 3.

Themes take care of formatting choices

Figure 3 The Theme you choose for your document takes care of all the formatting choices for you.

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Trying Themes with Live Preview

Word includes a new Live Preview feature that enables you to experiment with changes before selecting them. To preview different Themes in your document, select the Page Layout tab and click Themes. The Themes gallery opens, displaying a number of different Theme choices.

When you point to a Theme that you want to preview, the name of the Theme appears in a ScreenTip above the Theme thumbnail and the changes appear in the document window, as shown in Figure 4. The current Theme remains highlighted in the Themes gallery so that you can clearly see both the selected Theme and the previewed Theme. When you find a Theme that you want to use, simply click it to apply it to your document.

Use Live Preview to see themes

Figure 4 Use Live Preview to observe how a new Theme will look before you select it.

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Applies to:
Word 2007