Background: Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, OS X 10.7.4, MacBookPro5,1

I desperately want to change the theme fonts and colors to take advantage of the interface advantages of having these elements at the top of every menu and preloaded into styles. However I can't figure out how to do it. Every single resource I've found on the internet shows me how to change to another Microsoft-designed theme, usually hinting that it's possible to create a custom theme but not saying how or even where to look. It's infuriating.

The Theme Colors menu in Powerpoint (which in Word is inexplicably only visible in Publisher view, argh!) has a link fixed at the bottom of the link that says "Create Theme Colors" but for some reason this link isn't to be found in Word. And in Word and Powerpoint both there's no such link for fonts.

Would somebody please tell me how to do this one thing that in my opinion is absolutely crucial to using this seemingly central feature of one of the most often used professional computer programs in existence?

4 Answers 4


In looking for exactly the same thing, I found that microsoft has developed a free Theme Builder. You can find it on the MS website and there is a good discription of it here. How to Create Personalised Themes for Office. The software is free (opensource) and Microsoft provides an explanation of how to use it here. MS Theme Builder. This explains the PC version but I imagine that it is the same process for Mac.

  • The Theme Builder worked great. The link to the software was great too, since most links to it seem to be broken, especially internal Microsoft links (they go to link which needs a login but then says "not found, please report" but the instructions to report don't work). It's still too bad they couldn't put the color/font change in the actual program since Word and Powerpoint seem perfectly capable of saving the .thmx format, which imo is that hardest part.
    – meustrus
    Jul 31, 2012 at 20:55

While MS Theme Builder seems to solve the problem, I could not find a version for OS X using the links provided.

To avoid having to run Theme Builder in a virtual machine, it is also possible to create custom theme font definitions by doing some very simple XML file editing. By googling, I found several articles describing the procedure, e.g. this one:


You basically copy an XML file defining one of the built-in theme font packages to a user folder (if you have redefined your user template location, you should copy the XML file to your custom location, not the location under ~/Library/Application Support/ specified in the article), and then you edit the XML file to change the font names. (There is also a text that needs to be changed in order to match the file name.) I can confirm that it works in Word 2011. Word needs to be restarted for any additions or changes to take effect.

The same procedure is supposed to work for colors (the folder locations are adjacent), although I have not tried it.


I created a new color theme in PowerPoint ("Create Theme Colors" in the Colors drop-down list) and then save the theme as a .thmx file in the [myUsername] > Library > Application Support > Microsoft > Office > User Templates > My Themes > Theme Colors folder and then in Word I was able to click on "Browse Themes" in the Themes Drop-down and find my custom .thmx file to load. That worked for loading the colors, but I have yet to figure out how to load a custom font theme.

Kind of a hassle to have to do it through PowerPoint, but at least it works.


You can customize a theme within Microsoft Word for Mac 2011 by blending the pre-built theme elements:

View/Publishing Layout/ Continue   # Access to a more-full-featured "Themes" toolbox
Home/Themes/Theme                  # Choose a starting theme
Home/Themes/[Aa]                   # Choose new fonts from a set of font palettes
Home/Themes/[colorbox]             # Choose new colors from a set of color palettes
Home=/Themes/Theme/Save Theme      # Save the modified theme under a new name
View/Printing Layout               # Revert to less featureful Themes toolbox

An alternate way to get access to the more featureful Themes toolbox is to check the box:

Word/Preferences/Personal Settings/Ribbon/Customize/Print Layout View/Layout/[]Themes

Note that switching between some "View"s edits your document irreversibly (e.g. View/Print into View/Notebook and back.) Grrr.

  • Thanks for the answer. I've verified that you're right, but it isn't very useful to me to be able to mix and match the pre-built theme elements. I want to make custom font and color selections without being bound by what fonts Microsoft would look good together. For the purposes of the original question, I wanted to create a style with non-standard fonts so I could not use any Microsoft theme's fonts. The Theme Builder referenced in maveric's answer will allow me to do that.
    – meustrus
    Jan 6, 2015 at 22:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .