A “theme” refers to a collection of predefined design elements that can be applied to a workbook, worksheet, chart, or any other element within Excel. Themes include a combination of colors, fonts, and effects that provide a consistent look of the workbooks.

By using themes, you can quickly change the overall look of workbook without needing to individually format each component.

Workbook theme

A theme of a workbook is represented by the IXLTheme interface. It can be accessed through IXLWorkbook.Theme property.

The theme consists of three parts:

  • Color scheme - colors that can be used in a workbook.

  • Font scheme - two fonts that can be used in a workbook.

  • Effects - how should various objects look like, mostly shapes.

The theme color scheme dialog in Excel. The theme font scheme dialog in Excel. The theme effects dialog in Excel.

A new created workbook has its theme set to the Office 2007-2010.

Each theme part can be modified independently of others. In order to modify the theme, change the properties of the IXLTheme.

Modify the theme color for a workbook.
using var wb = new XLWorkbook();
var ws = wb.AddWorksheet();
var red = XLColor.FromHtml("FF0000");
wb.Theme.Text2 = red;
The theme of a workbook with changed theme color Text2.


Only theme colors are loaded/saved from/to a workbook.

As of 0.103, there is no capability to load font scheme or effects. The font scheme and effects saved to the file are always Office 2007-2010.


Themes displayed in Excel are version dependent, Microsoft might add or remove themes across versions.

The Excel will highlight/select the theme in GUI depending on the values of the theme (e.g. color values from the color scheme), not the theme name.

If the values of a part in a workbook don’t match any Excel predefined values, no predefined item is highlighted.

Colors scheme

The theme color can be created from static method XLColor.FromTheme(XLThemeColor). The theme color is a symbolic name and doesn’t contain actual color value. The color can be used by any API that accepts XLColor, e.g. cell fill, font color, sparkline and others.

Create a workbook with theme color
using var wb = new XLWorkbook();
var ws = wb.AddWorksheet();
var accent2ThemeColor = XLColor.FromTheme(XLThemeColor.Accent2);
ws.Cell("A1").Style.Fill.BackgroundColor = accent2ThemeColor;
The output of the code sample, a workbook with a cell filled with a theme color.

The actual displayed color is determined by a theme and when theme colors change, so does the fill color.


In order to get actual RGB value of a theme color, either use XLWorkbook.Theme.ResolveThemeColor(XLThemeColor) or one of IXLTheme properties (e.g. XLWorkbook.Theme.Accent2).

The XLColor.Color throws an exception, because XLColor is a value object independent of a workbook and thus has no way to resolve the color by itself and other potential problems (e.g. use color from one workbook in a different workbook).

Demonstration how chaning color scheme causes a different color to be used.

Font scheme

Theme contains two font specifications, called major and minor font scheme. To assign one of the font schemes to a text, set the the font property IXLFontBase.FontScheme to one of the schemes.

The font scheme can be set to any text through its font property. The font of such text is updated, when a font scheme is changed in a theme.

Create a workbook with font in a scheme
using var wb = new XLWorkbook();
var ws = wb.AddWorksheet();

Demonstration how chaning the font scheme is updated when theme is changed.



Effects are not implemented.