SharePoint Color Palette tool – the key to perfect color themes in SharePoint 2013

Back in January, during my presentation at the Swiss SharePoint Club i mentioned about a tool, still in the makings at that time which would allow safe and easy manipulation of the new extensive theming files SPColor and SPFont.

For SPFont we have no tool as of yet, but by far the most complicated really is the SPColor and that is what SharePoint Color Palette Tool is all about.

Just few days ago the long awaited tool has been released to the public with not too much noise around it, although I would suspected to be, considering the importance and need practically for anyone venturing the road of minimal customization in SharePoint 2013/Office 365 site – such as  putting your company branding guidelines in place – font & colors.

So I head out for download available in v.1.0 at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38182

And of course I executed it and this is the initial screen, which has already embedded the most important SPColor files from out-of-the-box Layouts – OSLO, SEATTLE and 2 more – ZContrastTest and Z- UI Preview (I suspect this was prior to RTM release, the same still in some Office 365 Developer instances).

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My next action was to attempt to update one palette from my Office 365 Developer instance, the exact same one I’ve used for my life demos during the User group meeting, available at https://spclub.sharepoint.com – and of course having already worked on updating master pages (via Design Manager) and SPColor files during demos, i still had the Folder mapped in Windows Explorer (as a reminder this is how you can achieve it yourself http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj733519.aspx or for more troubleshooting also use http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2616712, just use the /_catalogs/theme/ not the one for master pages – see the address bar).

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Some tips before you attempt to map the folder:

1. When Log-in make sure you check the “Keep me signed In” check-box

2. Make sure you add the Office 365 site to Trusted sites in Internet Explorer

Once you get the mapping done, is a matter of selecting the appropriate Color palette  remember only the SPColor files are supported and you get full access to changing every single color defined in the palette (Color Slots are in the left side window, and). 

So no more excuses – you should by the hero of your department, business-people will crawl over you for helping them with theme variations to please their every single caprice, loved by corporate communication because you help reinforce guidelines and brand identity.

I can only wish you – Happy SharePoint-in’ as we know the problems don’t stop here!

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