Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
When a new site collection is created, the server copies the default themes from this location
in the file system to the newly created Theme Gallery. All sites within the collection share this
gallery (which is why it’s visible only in the top site’s Site Settings).
Custom themes can be created in SharePoint Designer or PowerPoint and uploaded to the
gallery, at which point you can apply them to any site in the site collection.
When a theme is selected for a site, SharePoint reads the *.thmx file’s enclosed XML files for
the desired colors and fonts. It then creates a new batch of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) files
that apply these colors and fonts to the layout and design of the site. These CSS files are created
on the fly and stored in the site’s _themes folder. (In my example, that would be http://spf2/
sites/london/_themes/.) The first time you apply a theme to a site, it places the generated CSS
files in a numerical subfolder, such as http://spf2/sites/london/_themes/1/. The number
used the first time you set a theme is 1, then the second time it is 2, and so on. When you change
themes, SharePoint does not retain the old theme’s folder, so if you change the theme ten times,
you’ll see a _themes/10/ folder, but the previous (1–9) folders will be destroyed.
Back in WSS 3.0, site themes were the actual CSS files. These files were stored on the SharePoint
server in the file system, and whenever they were applied to a site, SharePoint read the CSS files and
applied the settings to the web page on creation. This meant that creating new themes was a matter
of editing CSS files and the corresponding XML reference file (spthemes.xml). Now, in SharePoint
Foundation (SPF), themes are Office themes (typically made in PowerPoint) that are then used to
create the CSS files by the server. This makes it easier to create new themes but harder to edit the
CSS files to provide more customizations beyond color and font.
The old WSS 3.0 themes are still here, just not selectable. You can see the old themes on the
SharePoint server, located in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web
Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\THEMES.
They’re hiding here in case you have migrated an existing WSS 3.0 site to SPF and have chosen not
to upgrade the visuals. (For more information on migration, see Chapter 15, “Migrating from WSS
3.0 to Windows SharePoint Foundation 2010.”) You can’t select these themes for native SPF sites.
The structure of the CSS files are different from the ones SharePoint generates from the new XML
themes, and although it’s possible to crack them open in SharePoint Designer and rewrite them for
SPF, that’s beyond the scope of this topic.
Solutions are custom modifications for your SharePoint site. A solution could be a custom site
template, a site feature, a group of features, a web part, or pretty much anything that modifies
SharePoint. These are placed in the Solution Gallery and activated, so they will be available for
any site in the site collection and for the new subsites you are creating. When you create a site
template from an existing site as discussed in Chapter 9, this is where that template is stored.
Recall that while working in the original site collection (the company site), we created a
template for the HR team site in Chapter 9 (Figure 10.7) and used it to create a new subsite. If you
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