CRM 2016 – What you need to know about Themes

The introduction of Themes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 added much called for functionality to allow customers to change the branding of their Microsoft Dynamics CRM instance.  With this one feature Microsoft removed one a major driver for unsupported customizations in Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Why you shouldn’t put unsupported customizations in Microsoft Dynamics CRM)

I’m studying for the MB2-712 – CRM 2016 customization and configuration exam and one of the new topics is Themes, in this post I will show what Themes do and some of the limitations of themes.

Themes are awesome

Themes added much demanded branding functionality, it allows you to change colour scheme of your instance of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and add your company logo to replace the words Dynamics CRM.

Lots of customers asked to change the colour scheme but these changes could only be done using unsupported customizations.

The main functionality of themes is

  • Add a logo to CRM
  • create entity specific colouring
  • Change navigation colours

Where do I find themes

One of the trickiest aspects to themes is finding out where they have the functionality, it’s hidden away in
Settings –> Customization –> Themes
Themes 1
  Themes 2

Add a logo

The most common task you will need to do is add a logo.

You need to create a new theme first, the easiest way to do this is to clone the default solution

Open your new theme

theme 4

Select the Logo lookup.  You will need to create a new web resource

theme 3

Select logo and publish the theme.  Just because Microsoft allows you to select themes, it won’t stop you creating ugly colour schemes

theme 5

Quick start

Quick 2 minute video introducing you to themes

CRM 2015 – Theme’s youtube video

This technet article explains in detail what you can do and the limitations of themes

These two blog posts go into themes in details, showing you what each change does and where it’s used.

One  criticism I have with themes is choosing the colours is difficult because you have to type in the correct color code and who knows that.  Luckily CRM MVP Guido Preite has made a fantastic Dynamics CRM theme generator

Dynamics CRM Theme Generator

It allows you to easily pick colour and preview your choices, awesome work Guido

Interesting use for Theme’s

Themes can enable people to easily identify what environment they are on.  When you have lots of environments

  • Production
  • Pre-Production
  • Q&A
  • Test
  • Dev

It can be difficult to know which environment you are on, particularly if you have numerous Microsoft Dynamic CRM’s open at the same time, which is something developers often do because they are comparing values between environments.

In the CRM 2011 days we use to put an unsupported change which changed the a label on the CRM, sorry I mean other CRM developers did this sort of thing, I would never put an unsupported change into CRM 🙂

Themes allows you to set different CRM environments as different colours, increasing the chance of someone not accidentally updating production.

Useful resources for Themes

After publishing this blog post, Natraj Yegnaraman got in touch to send me these two interesting blog posts he wrote on Themes.

Bookmarklet: Theme Colour Picker

This is great Bookmarklet which adds colour picking functionality to the form

Using Stylish to enhance CRM

This isn’t related to themes but it allows the labels to be fully shown


The default theme is called CRM Default Theme

The default theme is type System and Default Theme = Yes

This technet page has some good limitations

What can you change or adjust?

  • Logo
  • Logo tooltip
  • Navigation bar color
  • Navigation bar shelf color
  • Header color
  • Global link color
  • Selected link effect
  • Hover link effect
  • Process control color
  • Default entity color
  • Default custom entity color
  • Control shade
  • Control border
Themes cannot be included in Solutions.  This means you need to export and import them between organisation.
After importing a theme you must publish it.
When you publish a theme, previously published theme will become unpublished
The limitations below are from the technet article
  • Even though the theme colors are applied globally throughout the application, some legacy UI areas, such as gradient buttons, will retain the default colors.
  • Certain areas must use dark or light colors to contrast with the default icon colors. The icon color isn’t customizable.
  • An entity can’t be displayed in different colors under different Sitemap nodes.
  • The Sitemap nodes colors aren’t customizable.