Using the SharePoint Color Palette Tool to Create Customized Composed Looks

At the great SharePoint Evolution Conference last week, someone – I wish I could remember what session it was! – mentioned this great little tool. It helps you to create a very detailed theme for SharePoint 2013. You can save the file into a .spcolor file, which you can upload to the Theme Gallery in your SharePoint Site Collection.

Go to the Microsoft Download Center to grab the SharePoint Color Palette Tool. It’s a quick download and install. Once you have it loaded and launch it, you’ll see this:

The color palette tool provides color palette functionality for use with SharePoint designs.

SharePoint Color Palette Tool

In my example below, you can see an example of a customized theme. I found a photo of the lovely Sonya Koptyev (@SonyaKoptyev) presenting at SPC last year to use as my background and I made one other small color change to the suite bar. Then I saved the file as Sonya.spcolor.

The Sonya Color Palette

The Sonya Color Palette

Next we upload the .spcolor file to the Themes Gallery. (Site Settings -> [Web Designer Galleries] Themes) In this case, I uploaded my .spcolor file to the 15 folder because it’s built for that version (2013) of SharePoint.

Theme Gallery

Theme Gallery

Once you’ve uploaded your new palette file, you can create a new Composed Look with it (Site Settings -> [Web Designer Galleries] Composed looks). The image below shows all of the out-of-the-box Composed Looks.

The Composed Looks Gallery contains all of the looks designed for your Site Collection.

Composed Looks Gallery

When you create a new Composed Look, you specify a Master Page URL, a Theme URL, an Image URL, and a Font Scheme URL. The combination of these components make up a Composed Look.

In the screenshot below, you can see how I’m creating a new Composed Look using my Sonya.spcolor file.

Sonya Composed Look

Sonya Composed Look

Once I’ve saved the new Composed Look, I can apply it to my site ((Site Settings -> [Look and Feel] Change the look). After I select my new Composed Look, voila! A quick new look for my site!

Previewing the Sonya Composed Look

Previewing the Sonya Composed Look

But wait. “Where’s my background image?”, you’ll probably ask. I certainly did.

The background image you select in the SharePoint Color Palette Tool doesn’t automagically get saved in the .spcolor file. That’s what the Image URL is for in the Composed Look. So upload that image (in my case, the lovely Sonya presenting) and add the URL to it in the Image URL for your Composed Look.

Adding the Sonya image to the Composed Look

Adding the Sonya image to the Composed Look

And now: voila for real!

Previewing the Sonya Theme on my Team Site

Previewing the Sonya Theme on my Team Site

The SharePoint Color Palette Tool is just a v1.00 tool, but it seems to work reasonably well. Let’s hope that Microsoft builds something like this right into the UI rather than keeping it a separate tool.

By the way, the reason I still have the image of Sonya presenting is that I love the quote she had in her slide:

"The world hates change, yet it 
is the only thing that has 
brought progress." 
Charles Kettering

 

 

Upcoming Bonzai Intranets Webinar – Wednesday November 26th at 10am PST

DynamicOwlLogoMy good friends at Dynamic Owl in Vancouver have been doing some amazing things of late. Not only are they some of the smartest people in SharePoint consulting, they have a relatively new product offering called Bonzai Intranet.

Based on their years of consulting, the folks at Dynamic Owl realized that they had been building similar capabilities for their client’s Intranets over and over again. By capturing those patterns and repeatable components, they have come up with a tool set in Bonzai that can get anyone up and running with an Intranet on top of SharePoint faster and more effectively.

But that’s not the half of it. I’ve been looking into their offering; from the surface at first, and then more deeply as they take me through the architecture. This is a gorgeous Intranet offering. By gorgeous, I mean is simply looks fantastic. Of course, that could all be lipstick on a pig, but it isn’t. As I’ve seen how they have built things, I’m truly impressed. It’s the right mix of server side code and client side code, with a slant toward the latter, as it should be in this cloudy world of ours. It’s extensible, robust, and reliable, too.

There’s a post on Michal Pisarek’s blog about the webinar, and I’ve stolen some of that content below. If you’re considering using SharePoint to run your Intranet and see it as a daunting set of tasks, you owe it to yourself to check out Bonzai and the webinar on Nov. 26th.


 

As part of the recent launch of Bonzai Intranet for SharePoint we have been receiving many questions about Bonzai such as:

  • What is the difference between Bonzai and a template/skin?
  • How the hell did you make Bonzai not look like SharePoint?
  • What is the 80% of common Intranet functionality that most organization have? How does Bonzai handle these?

In order to provide you with the answers to these questions and to show you a sneak peek at some of the great features of Bonzai we are hosting a webinar on Wednesday November 26th at 10am PST titled “Rethinking SharePoint Intranets with Bonzai”  In this webinar we will go through our thinking behind Bonzai and take a look at some of the features that we think makes Bonzai an amazing Intranet platform.

http://i1.wp.com/www.sharepointanalysthq.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Bonzai-Employee-Directory-Landing-Page.png?w=620

Requesting Your SharePoint “UI Hacks”

I am putting together a presentation talking about UI hacks that we all need to do in order to accomplish everyday UI customizations that our customers – internal  or external – require. For this one I want to limit it to SharePoint 2013 and/or SharePoint Online (Office365). Another way to think of it is how and why we brand SharePoint today on premises and in the cloud; not just things that people want cosmetically, necessarily, but stuff that is hard to do and must be done.

I’d like to collect ideas from all of you out there, which I will collate into some slides (with credit given, of course!). I posted a quick tweet about this and already got a few replies, so I figured a blog post would be a good way to gather information as well.

In thinking about this, I’ve come up with some broad buckets:

  • Inconsistencies
  • Documentation Gaps
  • Document Object Model (DOM) Changes
  • Missing Functionality (Oft Requested)

I’ve already got a few items of my own in each of those categories, but I’d like the presentation to be representative of what we all have to deal with, not just me. If you think I’m missing a bucket, let me know your ideas on that, too.

Let’s use this post’s comments to capture as much as possible. If you’d rather email me directly, you can use the Contact form. When I have a decent amount of content collected, I’ll come up with a way to share it on some level. (The actual purpose of this is classified.)

Thanks for your help on this.

SharePoint’s “Working on it…” In Any Language

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It’s the message SharePoint gives us that we’ve learned to love or hate or be indifferent to. But it’s a message that we cannot escape if we use SharePoint even a little bit. Yes, I’m talking about “Working on it…”

Working on it EN-US

When I was in Stockholm this week speaking at the SharePoint and Exchange Forum (SEF), I noticed that the Swedish version of “Working on it…” was “Snart klart…”. According to my pal Christian Ståhl (@CStahl) at Humandata in Stockholm (the fine folks who put on SEF),

About ’Snart klart…’ this is strange translation, it’s more like ‘something will be finished soon‘ (maybe not always clear what) more than SharePoint actually doing something. Snart klart.. is more ok as an short answer to the kids that asks if the dinner will be served soon. Working on it.. is much better in a Swedish ear :)

That gave me a grin – I’m going to say “snart klart” when The Dude gets impatient with me about dinner from now on – and got me to thinking about what the message was in other languages. As with many idioms, the wording may be different and it may translate oddly as well. If you are using SharePoint with a language that I haven’t listed here yet, send me a screenshot of the message and a translation. I’ll post it here for everyone’s enjoyment and education.

Dutch

Working on it DUGoogle translate: “Processing…”

Submitted by Elio Struyf (@eliostruyf)

French

Working on it FR-frGoogle translate: “We soon finished…”

Submitted by Patrick Guimonet (@patricg)

German

Working on it DEGoogle translate: “Is in working… This should not take long.”

Submitted by Stefan Bauer (@StfBauer)

Swedish

Snart klart…

Google translate: “Almost there…”

Turkish

Working on it TUGoogle translate: “They are working on…”

Submitted by Gokan Ozcifci (@GokanOzcifci).

Adding Geolocation Columns to SharePoint Lists

One of the cool things that came along in SharePoint 2013 was Geolocation fields in lists. Using Geolocation fields, we can display Map Views in SharePoint lists. This capability is an awesome way to add visualization to your UI and can really add value in many business processes.

Map View

Image Source: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/jj656773(v=office.15).aspx

Think about it. You could show:

  • A map of your customers in a region
  • A map of your office’s location on its Intranet page
  • Deliveries you’ve made in the last 30 days
  • etc.

Unfortunately, at the present time in SharePoint 2013 on premises and SharePoint Online (Office365), “The Geolocation column is not available by default in SharePoint lists. To add the column to a SharePoint list, you have to write code.” (See How to: Add a Geolocation column to a list programmatically in SharePoint 2013)

For whatever reason, there’s no way to add a new Geolocation field via the UI. Instead you have to go through some hoops with PowerShell or script. See the following articles for great tutelage on how to do this:

As I understand it, there’s an MSI package (SQLSysClrTypes.msi)that must be installed manually on the Web Front Ends (WFEs) in an on premises installation to enable Geolocation fields, but this is already in place in SharePoint Online. Given this, we should be able to add Geolocation columns to lists via the UI without PowerShell or admin intervention.

This doesn’t sit well with me. At some of my clients, getting an admin to add something to the WFEs or run PowerShell requires an act of Congress. These Geolocation capabilities are too powerful a SharePoint feature to keep them under wraps.

To wit, I’ve created a suggestion called Adding Geolocation Fields to SharePoint Lists on the Office Development UserVoice site. If you’d like to be able to use Geolocation fields in your SharePoint solutions – at least on Office365 – head on over and cast your vote(s). Remember, Microsoft is listening!