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Reload this page Using Themes in Microsoft Front Page

Here are the notes I've found useful in cutomizing Microsoft Front Page templates. Please let us know what you found helpful and what's missing.

Topics: Product History Toolbar  Getting Around Inside FP  Cut & Past Hazards  Formatting Basics  Shared Borders  Navigation Bars  Templates  Themes  Interactivity  Printing  Publishing  Party 


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Borders Have Their Own Themes 

The theme of top, bottom, left, and right borders must be changed separately from the main screen.

Theme Check Box Selections

Keyboard shortcuts

Even though it's not shown as underlines on the screen, you could use shortcuts shown below (for example, press Alt+V for Vivid colors):

  1. Vivid colors
  2. Active graphics (mouse hover)
  3. Background picture
  4. Apply using CSS

How selections are stored

These four selections are stored at the front of the htm file within a meta tag,   The example below is for a  font named “artsy" which h as all items checked:

<meta name=“Microsoft Theme" content=“artsy 111, default">

1 means selected ( vivid colors).
0 means not selected (normal instead of vivid colors).

This convention is also used to name the css file used by shared borders in the _borders folder.

Tricks to Apply Using CSS

There are several things to keep in mind before selecting “Apply Using CSS"

  • Horizontal rules appear as a line when “Apply Using CSS" is checked and as a graphic when it is not checked (when it is clear).
  • Users of Netscape and other browsers will not (see Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q219174 ).

Cascading Style Sheets

Use of css allows some nifty tricks:

  • graphic bullets appear in front of list items (such as shown here).
  • linked text can appear without underline until the mouse hovers over it.

Read: Introduction to Style Sheets for Netscape

.mstheme styles

Style names pre-defined by Microsoft are prefixed with .mstheme 

Theme SubFolders

Each theme has a subfolder under the hidden directory _themes.  For example, the Arcs theme has an arcs folder.  

In this folder are two files for two different encoding formats:


These contain the same two sections of information:
[info] contains title=, codepage=, version=, etc. 


The unique format of a theme are defined by Cascading Style Sheet (css) files within each theme folder:


assigns the font-family for .body normal text and text in the top Navigation Bar.  Assigns the background color when there is no textured background image.


assigns the text colors in styles a:link, a:visited, a:active, body, H1 thru H6, HR, TH, TR, CAPTION, LEGEND, etc.  Also assigns the background-image. File prefix 1 = Vivid colors.



assigns the .mstheme and UL style for text in the Navigation Bar (font-family, color, text-align, vertical-align, etc.). File prefix 1 = Hover buttons (active graphics).




Managing Themes

To Install Additional Themes you need the Front Page Installation CD.

To install themes from a third party, use Windows Explorer to copy a theme folder to the directory

Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Themes

You need to exit and invoke Front Page again for new themes to be recognized.

There should be three files in each theme folder:


Add External Cascading Style Sheet

Format | Style Sheet Links

Put Navigation Buttons on Any Side

In Format | Shared Borders, there is no check box to include navigation buttons within Bottom or Right borders. 

Buttons are generated by webbot bot=navigation.

But you could go in the _borders folder, open top.htm or left.htm, copy the following HTML code (shown below), open bottom.htm or right.htm, click the HTML tab, paste the code under the <BODY>, then change the parameters.

<p><!--webbot bot="Navigation" s-type="bottom" s-orientation="horizontal" s-rendering="graphics" b-include-home="TRUE" b-include-up="TRUE" U-Page S-Target --> </p> 

Change the s-type parameter to s-type="bottom" or "right".

Now go to Normal view and alt-click (right-click) the new buttons to select Navigation Bar Properties (level, Home page, Parent page, Horizontal/Vertical, and Text/Buttons).

Add Horizontal Line or Rule Graphic

While you're editing bottom.htm, consider inserting something missing from most themes -- a Horizontal Line or Rule graphic to visually separate navigation items from page text.

Alt-click on the line to change its properties to set width to 80% and center it.

Add Hover Buttons

When you insert Component Hover button, they appear only as a rectangle.  This results in the placement of files fphover.class and animate.js in your web folder.

Alt-click or double-click on the line to change its properties to set the Effect to glow, bevel, etc.  No, you can't select both glow and bevel at the same time.

Save as a Front Page Template

Once you're happy with the layout, save your sheet as a template from which to base future pages.



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