In this tutorial, you will learn how to use themes to apply and change formatting in Excel and Google Sheets.
Apply a Theme
Excel enables us to change the theme of a workbook. Applying a theme can change formatting such as font family, size, and color; cell background color; and emphasis (bold or italic). By default, the theme in Excel is “Office.” Let’s say that we have the data below – with the Office theme automatically applied – in a worksheet, and we want to apply a different theme.
As you can see, the data is formatted as a blue styled table, and the title is Word Art in blue font. All fonts are Calibri by default. Let’s say that we want to change this theme to some other theme offered in Excel.
In the Ribbon, (1) go to the Page Layout tab, then (2) click on Themes and (3) choose an offered theme (for example, Slice).
Applying the Slice theme changes the cell, object, and table formatting. The font is now Century Gothic, the Word Art font color is orange, and the table background colors are different shades of blue than they were using the Office theme.
Change a Theme
Of course, you’ll almost always need to change at least one setting to get the desired layout. Therefore, Excel allows you to change a predefined theme. You can change elements like the color scheme and font family.
Change the Color Scheme
To change colors in the current theme, follow these steps:
1. In the Ribbon, (1) go to the Page Layout tab and, in the Themes group, (2) click on Colors > (3) Customize Colors.
2. In the pop-up window for theme colors change, you can change the color of different categories. We’ll change Accent 1, which will affect the table.
First (1) click on the drop-down for Accent 1 and choose the color (for example, orange). Then (2) give a Name to the adjusted color scheme (e.g., “Change Color”) and (3) press Save.
After this, colors in the whole workbook are adjusted according to these changes. As you can see in the picture below, the table colors are changed from blue to orange.
In a similar way, you can also change the fonts of a theme. To do this, follow these steps:
1. In the Ribbon, (1) go to the Page Layout tab, then (2) click on Fonts in the Themes group and (3) choose Customize Fonts.
2. In the pop-up window, set up a font for heading or body text. For this example, (1) set the Body font to “Caveat.” Now (2) give a Name to the modified font settings (e.g., “Custom Font”) and (3) Save it.
You can see in the picture below how the color and font changed according to the theme customization.
Save the Custom Theme
If you want to use the adjusted theme later and/or in other Excel workbooks, save it as a custom theme.
1. In the Ribbon, go to the Page Layout tab, then choose Themes and click on Save Current Theme.
2. In the pop-up save window, choose a name for the custom theme (e.g., “Custom Theme”). The theme will be saved as a file in .thmx format.
By default, it will be saved in the folder with Microsoft Document Themes and can be used in all Excel workbooks in the future. If you later go to apply a theme (Page Layout > Themes), you’ll see that now there is a Custom section with the new Custom Theme offered.
Change and Customize the Theme in Google Sheets
You can also change and adjust the theme in Google Sheets. To do this, follow the next steps.
1. In the Menu, go to Format > Theme.
2. On the right side of the screen, choose a theme.
As a result, the chart theme is changed.
You can also customize the selected theme.
1. Click on Customize in the Themes window to change the default theme.
2. Now you can change font style, chart backgrounds, and texts. (1) Change Chart Background color to light blue, (2) then change Accent 1 to red, and (3) click Done.
As a result, the customized theme is applied to the Google Sheets chart.