Sharepoint branding is one the must known concepts in sharepoint developer. You can give the unique look and feel to your sharepoint portal if you know how to customize the theme and modify the master page. You can use the starter master page to customize the master page in sharepoint 2010. Here you can find minimal master page for moss 2007 as well.

Another approach is you can create your own theme for required look and feel. Customizing a sharepoint site is really a challenging job and there may be situations in which you might need to create a new theme. The simplest way is to create the new theme by taking a copy of the existing built in theme. SharePoint theme folder has mainly 3 elements theme.inf, theme.css and images.

  1. Create a copy of any one of the theme folder in “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\THEMES” and rename as “mytheme“. For example copy the folder named “SAMPLE” and rename it to mytheme.
  2. Rename the SAMPLE.INF file to MYTHEME.INF, remember all letters should be in upper case.
  3. Open MYTHEME.INF file in your favourite text editor and change the value of title as per your needs.
  4. Replace every word “SAMPLE” with “MYTHEME
  5. Change theme.css file to include your custom styles
  6. Save and close the editor
  7. Then open C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\LAYOUTS\1033\SPTHEMES.XML in a text editor
  8. Add the following  lines under <spthemes> tag
  9. <Templates><TemplateID>Mytheme</TemplateID>
    <Description>My new custom theme.</Description>

  10. paste your home.gif in images folder.
  11. do IIS reset.

How to test your new theme

Got to site actions–>site setting –> look and feel–> you can see your custom theme there

You can easily deploy above theme by creating the sharepoint solution package(.wsp). You can use well known wspbuilder tool to create the wsp package.

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