Customizing SharePoint Themes with SharePoint Designer 2007 and IE8

 

Whilst battling with customisations of SharePoint Online, I found the following information on Kirk Evans Blog… The following post is a really good set of instructions on how to modify out of the box Themes in SharePoint 2007,

It turns out to be pretty easy to customize the look and feel of a SharePoint site using SharePoint Designer 2007 and Internet Explorer 8. Using IE8, you can easily find the CSS class for a particular element and modify it, and SharePoint Designer 2007 makes it easy to make changes to the styles for a site. This is really cool because you can do this even when you don’t have console access to the box or administrative rights to deploy new features.

This may even work with SharePoint Online instances

Apply an Out of Box Theme to Your Site

To get started, create a new site in SharePoint. I am going to create a site called “ThemeDemo” using my MySite, which I don’t have administrative access for in Microsoft’s internal network. Go to Site Actions / Create / Sites and Workspaces” and create a new site called “ThemeDemo” using the “Team Site” template. What you will end up with is the familiar SharePoint look and feel.

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Open up SharePoint Designer 2007. On the File menu, choose “Open Site” and use the URL to the site you just created. The URL I will use is “http://my/sites/kirke/themedemo”. The thing to notice is the Folder List pane, it will look like this:

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The next step is to apply an out-of-box theme to the site. Go back to Internet Explorer. Go to Site Actions / Site Settings. Look under the “Look and Feel” column and you’ll see a link to manage the Site theme.

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The will pull up a new page where you can select from a set of pre-defined themes. I chose the “Reflector” theme. Once you have chosen, click “Apply”.

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Now that your site has a theme applied to it, you might want to customize it a little bit. For instance, the “Recycle Bin” link is green. Let’s see how you can make modifications like this.

Customizing an Out of Box Theme

Internet Explorer 8 introduces the Developer Tools feature that enables you to inspect a web page’s various components such as HTML layout, CSS, images, JavaScript DOM, etc. You can find this in Internet Explorer 8 by clicking Tools / Developer Tools or simply hitting F12 on a web page to bring up a new window. In the Developer Tools window’s menu, choose “Find / Select Element by Click”. Then switch back over to the IE8 window and click the Recycle Bin link. The Developer Tools window should now jump to the HTML that is used to render the link, and the pane on the right shows the CSS style being applied.

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We can use the information in this window to customize the theme. At the bottom right, we see that the file Refl1011-65001.css contains a CSS rule “TABLE.ms-recyclebin TD A” with a colour value of #008800. We’ll customize this value to change the Recycle Bin link colour to blue.

Go back to SharePoint Designer 2007 and hit F5 to refresh the site. You’ll see a new folder in the Folder List called “_themes”.

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Open that folder and expand the Reflector node. Scroll down a bit and you’ll find a file, Refl1011-65001.css. Open that file and look for the CSS rule “table.ms-recyclebin td a” and click on it. You’ll see a wealth of information about that style.

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Now, it’s as simple as going to the CSS Properties and changing the color. Perhaps you want the color of the link to match another color elsewhere in the page. It’s as simple as going to the CSS Properties pane and clicking on the color property. Choose “More Colors” in that dropdown.

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In the More Colours dialog, click the “Select” button with the eyedropper icon to select a colour.

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In IE8 or IE9, hover over the element that has the colour you want. You will see the colour change in the More Colours dialog from green to whatever colour you are hovering over. When you finally pick the colour you want, click and the colour will be chosen. Click OK to choose that colour, and the new colour will be reflected in SharePoint Designer 2007. Finally, click the Save button in SharePoint Designer 2007 to apply the change.

Go back to IE8 and refresh the page to see the change.

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Does That Change All the Sites?!?!

When you use this method to customize the theme for a site, you are only customizing the current site you are working with. You can verify this by creating a new site and choosing the Reflector theme like we did previously, you’ll see that the Recycle Bin link is still green. If you decide you want to undo all of your modifications to the current site, you can go to the Site Settings menu and choose an out of box theme… all of your modifications will be discarded.

What If You Want to Create a Reusable Theme?

If you want to create a custom theme and make it available to others, see the post “Create a custom site theme and make it available to others”.

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Fantastic 40 templates on SharePoint 2010

 

WARNING: RESULTS MIGHT VARY !!!

So, if you are:

1. migrating from SP 2007 and you have Fantastic 40 templates that are not working anymore

2. or you are starting with a fresh SP 2010 Portal and you want to use these templates in your new environment.

 
Either way, the fantastic 40 templates are a great deal…They are delivered from Microsoft and contain good examples of real life needs in organisations.

Just to refresh your memory, here they are again:
Server Admin templates
Absence Request and Vacation Schedule Management
Help Desk
Budgeting and Tracking Multiple Projects
Inventory Tracking
Bug Database
IT Team Workspace
Call Center
Job Requisition and Interview Management
Change Request Management
Knowledge Base
Compliance Process Support Site
Lending Library
Contacts Management
Physical Asset Tracking and Management
Document Library and Review
Project Tracking Workspace
Event Planning
Room and Equipment Reservations
Expense Reimbursement and Approval Site
Sales Lead Pipeline

You can try them out here on the TechSol Blog Site.
These work great in any SharePoint 2007 environment (the free WSS version or the non-free MOSS versions).
But now you are running SP2010 and you want this functionality too ? Well, that is possible for the Server Admin Templates!!

 
Steps:
1. Download the fantastic 40 here at the Microsoft site.
2. Unpack them in the following directory: “C:\Unpacked” on your front end SharePoint server.
3. Use this Batch script to add en deploy the 40 solutions (created by Dessie Lunsford )
4. create your new Fantastic 40 site.

The batch adds the solution to the 14 hive.

Compare editions of SharePoint

 

If you ever need to compare versions of Sharepoint (Foundation, Standard, Enterprise) check out the following site:

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-us/buy/Pages/Editions-Comparison.aspx

This page offers a break down of all SharePoint features, by version. Each feature is demonstrated by a video overview of the functionality.
A great resource for anyone, sales/business analyst/dev, who needs to describe SharePoint features to end users.

SharePoint 2010 Product Documentation

SharePoint Server 2010:

  • SharePoint Server 2010 Tech Center is a gateway into the IT Pro documentation for SharePoint Server 2010 and a location for RSS feeds of new content.
  • Resource Centers provide information across the product lifecycle for activities and solutions.
  • TechNet articles are organized by the product lifecycle – evaluate, plan, deploy, operate, etc. Content includes a newly published page with an RSS feed, so you can keep up with what we’ve published, and a roadmap to the content.
  • Worksheets are Microsoft Excel files that you can use to record information that you gather and decisions that you make as you plan your deployment of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.
  • Models are poster-sized illustrations of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 architecture and concepts.

SharePoint Foundation 2010:

  • SharePoint Foundation 2010 Tech Center is a gateway into the IT Pro documentation for SharePoint Foundation 2010 and a location for RSS feeds of new content.
  • Resource Centers provide information across the product lifecycle for activities and solutions.
  • TechNet articles are organized by the product lifecycle – evaluate, plan, deploy, operate, etc. Content includes a newly published page with an RSS feed, so you can keep up with what we’ve published, and a roadmap to the content.
  • Worksheets are Microsoft Excel files that you can use to record information that you gather and decisions that you make as you plan your deployment of Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010.
  • Models are poster-sized illustrations of Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 architecture and concepts.

SharePoint 2010 Administration Toolkit V1

 

First version of SharePoint 2010 Administration Toolkit is now available. The toolkit included a couple of tools that were shipped releases and are now adapted to SharePoint 2010, along with two new tools.

User Profile Replication Engine 2010 (UPRE2010): this tool got a complete overhaul and was converted to PowerShell. It now allows you to replicate Profile and Social data between SharePoint 2010’s User Profile Application (UPA), as well as backward compatibility with SharePoint 2007’s SSP. You can replicate between SSP’s or UPA services, as well as across versions. (Note that only Profile data can be replicated across versions, as SSP contains no Social activity tracking).

The Security Configuration (SCW) Manifest: SCW is an attack surface reduction feature in Windows Server. This manifest adds roles for SharePoint 2010 Products to Windows Server 2008 with SP2 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

The Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) Connector: enables SharePoint users to interact with content stored in any repository that has implemented the CMIS standard, as well as making SharePoint 2010 content available to any application that has implemented the CMIS standard.

The Load Testing Kit (LTK): LTK generates a Visual Studio Team System 2008 (VSTS) load test based on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 IIS logs. The VSTS load test can be used to generate synthetic load against Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 as part of a capacity planning exercise or a pre-upgrade stress test.

The toolkit can be downloaded from here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=718447d8-0814-427a-81c3-c9c3d84c456e&displaylang=en

The toolkit documentation can be found here:

SharePoint Foundation 2010: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc508986.aspx

SharePoint Server 2010: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc508851.aspx