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Themes: MyColors & Suites

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When Theme Manager is run, the first menu option displayed is Themes with the submenu of MyColors & Suites.  This section will describe both tabs, which are identical in layout, but different in purpose.

MyColors Tab

The MyColors tab is for applying any MyColors themes you have loaded on your computer. This screen is divided into three areas.  The sidebar menu down the left side, a preview area to the right of that and a selection of themes along the bottom seen as small thumbnail pictures. The preview area displays what theme your desktop has applied (installed), currently it is set to Windows Vista Aero (on Windows Vista).

MyColors tab

Initially, Theme Manager only has the Windows (default) theme listed, which comes from Microsoft. However, if you have MyColors installed with one or more themes, they will be displayed along the bottom as thumbnails. Each one representing a different MyColors theme. The MyColors program is free to download from Stardock, but most themes have a fee.

Sidebar Menu

The sidebar menu on the left displays the title of the selected theme, who it was created by, Delete This Theme, Add New Theme (from disk or web), and Apply This Theme.

Sidebar menu

The first item on the top of the menu is the title of the theme (i.e. Aquarium) and the author (i.e. Stardock Design).

The second option is "Delete This Theme", which if clicked will ask if you are sure you want to delete this theme.  Deleting the theme will remove it from Theme Manager, as well as from your hard-drive.  (Pressing the <DEL> or <Delete> key on your keyboard has the same effect and is the hotkey shortcut.)  Click Yes to delete it.  (Click No or X to abort.)  Note: You can not delete the built-in Windows (default) theme, so this option will be grayed out (unavailable).

Delete theme

The third option is "Add New Theme", which displays a pull-down menu if you click the text or small down arrow.  The choices are "Install from disk..." to install a new theme from your hard-drive or other storage device attached to your computer.  Or " Install from the web..." which opens your web browser & displays the MyColors web site for new themes.

Add New Theme

If you install from disk, locate the folder where the new themes are, click on it, then click Open.  (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Install from disk - browse for theme.


If you install from the web, and the file is a .suite (not compressed as a .zip) you should see Theme Manager automatically add it to the list of available themes.  Otherwise, you may need to use "Install from disk..." to locate it & add it.  If the file is zipped (.zip) or .rar or other compressed form, you will need to uncompress/extract it first, then "Install from disk...".

The fourth option is "Apply This Theme", which will apply the currently selected theme to your desktop.  If the theme has already been applied, nothing will happen.  Click on the thumbnail of the desired theme (under the preview area), then click "Apply This Theme".  Your display may lose color and fade out, to show it is working on changing the various graphic elements of your desktop to the new theme. Some themes include more elements that others, such as gadgets, clocks, etc..  So if you see one theme has a gadget, but another does not, do not be alarmed.  This is dependent on the author of the theme.

Preview Pane

The preview shows what the currently selected theme (or Windows default) will look like if applied to your desktop with: sample icons, window frames, Start Menu, gadgets (if included), task bar, system tray, etc.. To preview each theme, simply click on the thumbnail at the bottom and the preview will change to that theme. To apply the theme to your desktop, do any one of the following:

  • Double-click on the desired theme's thumbnail.
  • Right-click on the theme, then select Apply Theme.
  • Select the desired theme by clicking on it once, then click on Theme Options and select Apply Theme.
  • Select the theme, then click "Apply This Theme" on the sidebar menu.
  • Click on the desired theme's thumbnail & click the ges button in the upper right hand corner.

It is recommended to close other applications before applying a new theme, otherwise it may slow the conversion.

Available Themes

The list of available themes runs along the bottom of the window, underneath the sidebar menu & preview area.  Each theme is represented by a small picture called a thumbnail.  Under the thumbnail is the title of the theme, and beneath that is the author (or company) that created it.  Clicking on a theme, changes the picture in the preview area to the theme.  If there are more themes than will fit in the Theme Manager window, you can use the horizontal scroll bar (bottom on window) to view the other themes.

Available themes.

Theme Options

Clicking "Theme Options" (above the available themes on the far left) or right-clicking on any theme will display a menu of options, that includes:

Theme Options menu

Theme Options Quick Reference

 Action

 What it does...

Apply Theme Applies the selected theme to your desktop

Theme Info...

Displays information about the selected theme, including: Author, E-mail, Web site, and any Comments.  Clicking Go next to the E-mail will open your email program & address a new message to the Author.  Clicking Go next to the web site address will open your web browser & display the web site (if you are connected to the Internet). Click Close or X to close the dialog box.  Note: The Windows built-in (default) theme has no information, so this option will be grayed out (unavailable).

Theme Information

Delete Theme 

This acts the same way as clicking "Delete This Theme" on the sidebar menu, it will ask you to confirm the deletion of the selected theme from the hard-drive.  (Pressing the <DEL> or <Delete> key on your keyboard has the same effect and is the hotkey shortcut.)  Click Yes to delete it.  (Click No or X to abort.)  Note: You can not delete the built-in Windows (default) theme, so this option will be grayed out (unavailable).

Delete Theme

Open Folder 

Opens a Windows Explorer window displaying the folder where the themes are stored on the hard-drive.  By default on Windows Vista, this folder is: C:\Users\Public\Documents\<user name>\ThemeManager.  (Where <user name> is the name of the user logged on and where your data files are stored under.)  Click the X button the close the Explorer window.

Open Folder
Add New Theme 

Works the same way as clicking "Add New Theme" on the sidebar menu.  It opens a small menu with two choices of: "Install from disk..." and Install from the web...".  (See "Add New Theme" above, for details on these options.)

Add New Theme
Refresh Clicking this option or pressing the keyboard shortcut <F5> will refresh the list of available themes.  This is handy if you downloaded a compressed (i.e. .zip, .rar) theme, uncompressed it and copied the contents to the Theme Manager folder while Theme Manager was running. Refresh will force it to check the hard-drive for any new themes that you added, changed or removed and update the list.

Featured Theme

Clicking the "Featured Theme" link above the list of available themes, will open your web browser & display the MyColors web site with the featured theme.  This is a new or special theme that changes from time to time so check often to see what new theme has been released!

Alternate Grid View

If you have a large number of themes, using the horizontal scroll bar can be rather difficult to find the desired theme quickly.  Clicking the View list icon (lower left, under the sidebar menu) will change the display to list just the thumbnails of each available theme.  The preview area & sidebar menu will be removed.  This allows you to view a larger number of themes at one time.  A horizontal scroll bar will appear if you have more than will fit in the window.  If you would like to preview the desired theme, click on it, then click the Preview icon to return to preview mode.  It will be displayed in the preview pane.

View list of themes without preview area.

While on the grid view screen, clicking "Theme Options" (or right-clicking on a theme) will display the same options as on the preview pane view.  Also, clicking the "Featured Theme" will take you to the web site.

Clicking the Preview icon will return you to Preview mode.

Suites Tab

The Suites tab is the same as the MyColors tab, except most Suites are free on WinCustomize.com.  You can create your own suites on My Current Desktop sub-tab (under My Desktop).  All of the menu choices, links and how you apply a suite is the same as the MyColors themes.  A suite, like a MyColors theme, may contain any of the following: wallpaper (for different monitor resolutions), icons, skin, sounds, gadgets, boot screen, logon screen, cursors, ObjectDock, and more.

The default Windows Vista file path for Suite files: C:\Users\Public\Documents\<user- name>\ThemeManager.
(Where <user name> is the name the person logged on your computer & where documents are stored.)

If you select "Add New Theme", then "Install from the web...", your browser will open the WinCustomize.com web site, instead of MyColors.  WinCustomize has a large number of free themes you can download at no charge.  These and other themes are created by a large user community. You can create themes as well and share what you create with other users like yourself.

 

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