How to install MS Office theme files

A standard Microsoft Office theme has three parts:

  • A theme file – (in .thmx format) – contains theme information and points to the supporting colours and fonts files.
  • A colours file – (in.xml format) – defines the color palatte.
  • A fonts file – (in.xml format) – defines the heading and body fonts scheme.

A theme may additionally contain an effects file, but this guide will focus on the three primary files described above.

In order to be found and referenced by the MS Office applications, these files must be copied to the correct folders on the computer of each user who wishes to use them. They are compatible on both Windows (PC) and OSX (Mac), but the locations on each system differs.

Installing on Windows

The easiest way to locate the themes folder in Windows is to open an Explorer window enter the following text in the location pane at the top:

  • %AppData%\Microsoft\Templates\Document Themes.

Open an Explorer window to find the themes folder

Pressing Enter will re-direct the window to the local Document Themes folder where the theme files live:


Themes are found in the Document Themes folder

Copy the Theme.thmx file to the Documents Themes folder (as pictured above), the Colours.xml file to the Theme Colors folder, and the Fonts.xml to the Theme Fonts folder, i.e.:


The Colors theme folder


The Fonts theme folder

Installing on OSX

In OSX , MS Office template files are stored inside the user’s home folder in:

  • <user>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/My Themes

By default, the Library folder is hidden in OSX Lion (and newer), but you can reveal it by holding down Option while clicking the Go menu in the Finder, then selecting Library.

Navigate to the correct folder and copy the three files into their respective folders:


The Themes folder in OSX (click to enlarge)


With the theme files in place, the Theme is now available to MS Office applications.

While the Theme is selected it will apply its colour palette and font scheme to any documents or graphics created by that application. In MS Word and Excel (Windows) you can select it by going to the Design tab and clicking its icon under Themes (as pictured below):


Themes are found on the Design tab

In PowerPoint this is found in the Design tab.

The MS Office templates are saved with the VI Theme selected. But it pays to double-check this when starting a new document from a template, and re-apply the theme if necessary.

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How to install MS Office theme files