Apply a professional look to your drawings with themes

A theme in Microsoft Visio 2010 is a set of colors and effects that you can apply to a drawing with a single click. Themes are a quick and easy way to give your drawings a fresh and professionally designed look.

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In this article

Apply a theme

Create a custom theme

Duplicate a theme

Edit a custom theme

Copy a custom theme to another drawing

Prevent themes from affecting a shape

Remove a theme from a shape

Delete a custom theme

A theme has two parts:

  • Theme colors—a set of colors designed to work well together

  • Theme effects—a set of effects for font, fills, shadows, lines, and connectors

You can mix and match theme colors and effects in any combination.

A simple organization chart before a theme has been applied.
A simple organization chart before a theme has been applied.

The same organization chart after a theme has been applied.

The same organization chart after a theme has been applied.

Microsoft Office Visio comes with a set of built-in themes, but you can also create and edit custom themes. For example, you can create a custom theme to match your company’s logo and branding.

The built-in theme colors match the theme colors available in other Microsoft Office applications, such as PowerPoint and Word.

Apply a theme

  1. On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click More Button image .

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To apply a theme to the current drawing page, right-click a thumbnail, and then click Apply to Current Page.

    • To apply a theme to all the pages in your drawing, right-click a thumbnail, and then click Apply to All Pages.

      Tip: You can also click a thumbnail. Clicking a thumbnail applies the theme either to the current page or to all pages in your drawing, depending on what you did last.

      Notes: 

      • To remove the current theme colors or theme effects from all shapes, in the Themes group, click More Button image , and then click No Theme.

      • Some themes also contain a background color. To apply the new background color with the theme, on the Design tab, in the Backgrounds group, click Backgrounds and select the background that you want.

      • If you don’t want the theme background color to appear when you print, select the No Background check box in the Print dialog box.

      • After you apply a theme, that theme is applied to any shapes you add to the drawing. To temporarily disable this functionality, in the Themes group, click More Button image , and then clear the Apply Theme to New Shapes selection.

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Create a custom theme

To create custom theme colors, do the following:

  1. On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click the Colors button Button image , and then click Create New Theme Colors.

  2. In the New Theme Colors dialog box, choose the colors or effects that you want, and click OK.

    Note: When you change the theme colors, the colors in the Colors button Button image change accordingly.

To create custom theme effects, do the following:

  1. On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click the Effects button Button image , and then click Create New Theme Effects.

  2. In the New Theme Effects dialog box, choose the colors or effects you want, and click OK.

Tip: Before you create a custom theme, first apply a theme that is similar to the theme you want to create. Then, when you open the New Theme Colors or New Theme Effects dialog box, most of your choices will already have been made.

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Duplicate a theme

To duplicate theme colors, do the following:

  • On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click the Colors button Button image , and then right-click the thumbnail for the theme colors you want and select Duplicate.

    The duplicated theme colors are added to the Colors Button image list under Custom.

To duplicate theme effects, do the following:

  • On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click the Effects button Button image , and then right-click the thumbnail for the theme effects you want and select Duplicate.

    The duplicated theme colors are added to the Effects Button image list under Custom.

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Edit a custom theme

To edit theme colors, do the following:

  1. On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click the Colors button Button image , and then under Custom, right-click the thumbnail for the theme colors that you want to edit and select Edit.

  2. In the Edit Theme Colors dialog box, choose the options you want, and click OK.

To edit theme effects, do the following:

  1. On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click the Effects button Button image , and then under Custom, right-click the thumbnail for the theme effects that you want to edit and select Edit.

  2. In the Edit Theme Effects dialog box, choose the options you want, and click OK.

Note: You can’t edit the built-in themes that are included with Visio. If you want to make a change to one of the built-in themes, duplicate it and then edit the duplicate theme.

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Copy a custom theme to another drawing

  1. Open the drawing that has the custom theme you want to copy.

  2. Select a shape with the custom theme applied.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Copy copy .

  4. Open the drawing that you want to copy the custom theme to.

  5. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Paste. The custom theme colors and effects are added to the Colors Button image and the Effects Button image list under Custom.

  6. You can now delete the shape that you pasted into your drawing.

Note: You cannot copy a theme from another Microsoft Office program, such as PowerPoint or Word, to Visio. You also cannot copy a theme from Visio to another Microsoft Office program.

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Prevent themes from affecting a shape

You may not want a theme to apply to every shape in a drawing. For example, if you have a traffic sign in your drawing, you probably do not want its fill color or pattern to change when you apply a theme.

To prevent themes from applying to a specific shape, you can either not allow themes for that shape or you can protect the shape from theme colors or theme effects.

Note:  Some of the shapes that are included with Visio are not affected by themes by default. Allowing themes to affect these shapes can cause unexpected results.

Not allow themes for a shape

  • Right-click the shape, point to Format, and uncheck the Allow Themes command.

Protect a shape from theme colors or theme effects

  1. Select the shape.

  2. On the Developer tab, in the Shape Design group, click Protection.

    Where is the Developer tab?

    To show the Developer tab, do the following:

    1. Click the File tab.

    2. Click Options.

    3. In the Visio Options dialog box, click the Customize Ribbon tab.

    4. In the Customize the Ribbon list, select Main Tabs, and then under Main Tabs select the Developer check box.

    5. Click OK.

  3. In the Protection dialog box, select the From theme colors or From theme effects check boxes.

Use a text, line, or fill color that doesn't change with the theme

  • Select the shape.

  • Do one of the following:

    • On the Home tab, in the Shape group, click Fill or Line, and then select one of the colors under Standard Colors.

    • On the Home tab, in the Font group, click the Font Color change text color button, and then select one of the colors under Standard Colors.

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Remove a theme from a shape

  • Right-click the shape, point to Format, and click Remove Theme.

    Tip: To remove the current theme colors or theme effects from all shapes, in the Themes group, click More Button image , and then click No Theme.

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Delete a custom theme

To delete theme colors, do the following:

  • On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click the Colors button Button image , and then under Custom, right-click the thumbnail for the theme colors that you want to delete and select Delete.

To delete theme effects, do the following:

  • On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click the Effects button Button image , and then under Custom, right-click the thumbnail for the theme effects that you want to delete and select Delete.

Note: You can’t delete the built-in themes that are included with Visio.

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