How to Use Themes in Word 2013 - dummies

How to Use Themes in Word 2013

By Dan Gookin

Themes apply decorative styles to your Word 2013 document, such as fonts and colors, which gives your written efforts a professionally formatted feel with minimal fuss or talent. It’s like having a graphics designer assist you but without having to suffer through her lamentable complaints about how her boyfriend pays no attention to her.

A theme consists of three elements:

  • Colors: A set of colors is chosen to format the text foreground and background, any graphics or design elements in the theme, plus hyperlinks.

  • Fonts: Two fonts are chosen as part of the theme — one for the heading styles and a second for the body text.

  • Graphical effects: These effects are applied to any graphics or design elements in your document. The effects can include 3-D, shading, gradation, drop shadows, and other design subtleties.

Each of these elements is organized into a theme, given a name, and placed on the Design tab’s Themes menu for easy application in your document.

  • A professionally licensed, certified mentally stable graphics designer creates a theme’s fonts, colors, and design effects so that they look good and work well together.

  • A theme doesn’t overrule styles chosen for a document. Instead, it accents those styles. The theme may add color information, choose different fonts, or present various graphical elements. Beyond that, it doesn’t change any styles applied to the text.

  • The graphical effects of a theme are only applied to any graphics in your document; the theme doesn’t insert graphics into your text.

  • Choosing a theme affects your entire document all at once. To affect individual paragraphs or bits of text, apply a style or format manually.

How to apply a document theme

You choose a theme by using the Themes button found on the Design tab. Built-in themes are listed along with any custom themes you’ve created.


Each of the built-in themes controls all three major theme elements, changing your document’s contents accordingly. Hovering the mouse pointer over a theme changes your document visually, which is a way to preview the themes. Click on a theme to choose it.

  • Because a document can use only one theme at a time, choosing a new theme replaces the current theme.

  • To remove a theme from your document, choose the Office theme or the menu command Reset to Theme from Template.

  • If you would rather change only one part of a theme, such as a document’s fonts, use the Colors, Fonts, or Effects command button on the Design tab.

How to modify or create a theme

You can’t create your own themes from scratch, but you can modify existing themes to make your own, custom theme. You start by modifying existing theme colors and fonts:

  • To create a custom color theme, choose Colors→Customize Colors. Use the Create New Theme Colors dialog box to pick and choose which colors apply to text or various graphical elements in your document.

  • To create a custom font theme, choose Fonts→Customize Fonts. Use the Create New Theme Fonts dialog box to select fonts — one for the headings and another for the body text.

In each case, give the new theme a name and save it. You can then choose that theme from the Custom area of either the Colors or Fonts menu.

When you’re using a set of theme colors, fonts, and graphics styles, you can collect the various elements as a theme: Choose Save Current Theme from the Theme menu, and use the dialog box to give your theme a proper descriptive name and save it. The theme you create then appears in the Custom area of the Themes menu.

To remove a custom theme, right-click it on the Themes menu and choose the Delete command. Click the Yes button to remove the theme.