SharePoint Online Branding with No-Code - Part 1


SharePoint Online can seem tricky to align to your company's look and feel, especially if you're limited to no-code options. There are several solutions that will give you quite a lot of flexibility without needing to write code. That's what we'll cover in this series of posts.

Color Palette Updates

Nobody wants their site to look like this.


Basic Options

Let's see how we can replace this vanilla blue with something that matches your brand. Out of the box, you have an option to pick one of several available themes but what if none of them match what you're looking for. At first, those seems like a lot of options but after few clicks you realize you've exhausted your options.

change the look.gif

More Advanced Updates

There is a tool you can use to give you much greater control of what colors you would like to see on your site. It's called SharePoint Color Palette Tool and can be. Once you download the tool, you can easily create your own color scheme by choosing primary color and letting the tool decide the color balance for the rest of the elements by clicking the [Recolor] button.

color palette tool.PNG

Choosing for the tool to Recolor the palette is a good starting point since 95% of elements will be matched with complimenting colors to your chosen primary color. You have an option to refine this color selection further by expanding color buckets on the left and choosing a color for an element or group of elements you'd like to look differently.

You can preview your changes as you go along. When ready click File -> Save and save the file with the desired name.

Uploading the new palette

Next, we'll upload this newly created theme.

  1. Click the [Gear] button and select [Site Settings]
  2. Under [Web Designer Galleries] click [Theme]
  3. Navigate inside of the [15] folder
  4. Upload the color theme we have created a moment ago into the library

Making palette available in gallery

Now the color Palette is uploaded and we need to make it available in the gallery

  1. Click the [Gear] button and select [Site Settings]
  2. Under [Web Designer Galleries] click [Composed looks]
  3. Copy into the clipboard the following links from one of the existing Composed looks:
    1. Master Page URL (in my case
    2. Theme URL (in my case
  4. Click New Item to add your own Composed look, fill in
    1. Title - this is what will be used in Composed Looks gallery
    2. Name - keep it the same as [Title]
    3. Master Page URL - use the same one from above
    4. Theme URL - use the one from above but replace the filename to the one we uploaded earlier
    5. Display Order - keep at 100 or set to lower number to show your Theme at the top of the gallery

Using the new palette

Navigate back to the Change the Look page to find your own look available to apply. Now, the site will inherit our bold new color set earlier in the Color Palette Tool.


What's Next?

If you need to tweak few things in your color palette, you can reopen the palette file in the SharePoint Color Palette Tool. For changes to take affect you must re-upload the file and still go through Change the Look page to select the same Composed Look even though it's already selected. This ensures SharePoint recompiles new changes in the Palette definition.

Next, we'll take a look at how you can make structural updates to your key pages to fit the content you require while keeping the look and feel consistent.

Leave your comments on what are some of the things you're curious about and we'll try to get an expert insight on the topic


Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.