Apply and Change (Slice) Theme in Excel & Google Sheets

Written by

Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Laura Tsitlidze

Last updated on July 7, 2023

This tutorial demonstrates how to use themes to apply and change formatting in Excel and Google Sheets.

excel apply theme initial layout 2a

Apply a Theme

Excel, like the rest of Microsoft Office, uses themes to change the look of a workbook. Applying a new theme changes formatting such as font family, size, and color; cell background color; and emphasis (bold or italic). By default, the theme in Excel is Office.

Say you have the data below – with the Office theme automatically applied – in a file, and you want to apply a different theme.

excel apply theme initial layout 2

Data is formatted in a blue styled table, and the title is Word Art in blue font. All fonts are Calibri by default. Change this theme to some other theme offered in Excel.

► In the Ribbon, go to Page Layout > Themes and choose a theme (e.g., Slice).

apply theme slice 2

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.

excel apply theme final layout 2

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

  1. In the Ribbon, go to Page Layout > Themes > Colors > Customize Colors.

customize theme colors 1

  1. In the Create New Theme Colors window, change the colors of different elements. Changing Accent 1, for example, changes the look of the table.
    First, choose a color for Accent 1 (e.g., orange). Then give a Name to the adjusted color scheme (e.g., Change Color) and press Save.

customize theme colors 2a

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.

customize theme colors 3a

Change Font

In a similar way, you can also change the fonts of a theme.

  1. In the Ribbon, go to Page Layout > Themes > Fonts > Customize Fonts.

customize theme fonts 1

  1. In the pop-up window, set up a font for heading or body text. For this example, set the Body font to Caveat. Now give a Name to the modified font settings (e.g., Custom Font) and Save it.

customize theme fonts 2a

You can see in the picture below how the color and font changed according to the theme customization.

excel apply theme final layout 2a

Save 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 Page Layout > Themes > Save Current Theme.

save current theme 1

  1. In the pop-up Save window, choose a name for the custom theme (e.g., Custom Theme). Themes are saved with the .thmx extension.

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  1. By default, themes are 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.

custom theme display 1

Change Themes in Google Sheets

You can also change and adjust the theme in Google Sheets.

  1. In the Menu, go to Format > Theme.

google sheets change theme 1

  1. On the right side of the screen, choose a theme.

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The theme change is automatically applied to any charts or other objects/elements.

google sheets change theme 3

Customize Google Sheets Themes

  1. Click Customize in the Themes window to change the default theme.

google sheets customize theme 1

  1. Now you can change font style, chart backgrounds, and text. Change Chart Background color to light blue, then change Accent 1 to red, and click Done.

google sheets customize theme 2

As a result, the customized theme is applied to the Google Sheets chart.

google sheets customize theme 3

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