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My Desktop: Create New Theme

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The "Create New Theme" sub-tab under the "My Desktop" menu option allows you to create a new theme.  You can also load existing themes, including ones you saved on the "My Current Desktop" tab.  Down the left side is a list of elements you can use to piece together an entirely new theme with just the elements you want.  You can build your new theme by using existing elements on your hard-drive, or from the internet. To the right of the "Included Elements" list is where Theme Manager will ask you information or for files to add to your theme.  On the bottom, like on other tabs, are where the various elements you add to the theme will appear.

Creating a new theme - Suite Information.

New Theme

To start a new theme, click the blue button (lower, left corner) called New.  This will clear any existing information from the various elements, leaving you with a clean start.

The first item in the "Included Elements" list is "Suite Information" where you provide basic information about the new theme.  Next is "Suite Preview" which allows you to add a screenshot or other graphic image of your theme.  This is the thumbnail & larger preview image you will see on the "Themes" tab for your new theme.  These will be covered first, then you will shown some of the different elements in the list.

Suite Information

"Suite Information" is the first thing you select to add the "Author" (i.e. real name or an alias), "E-mail" address if you are going to share the theme with the public on WinCustomize.com, or with friends, your "Web-site" (if you have one), and any "Comments".  You can also also select an icon to represent your theme (suite) by clicking the Browse button.  This allows you to locate an icon file (.ico) on your computer.  A familiar Explorer window will open to help you locate the file.

Browsing for an icon file.

If you have trouble changing to a different folder, you can turn on the "Navigation" pane, by clicking on "Organize" (upper left corner), select "Layout", then "Navigation Pane".  This will add common folders, etc. (on the left) to allow you to change folders more easily.  Then as you click on each folder, if it finds any elements (i.e. icons) they will be listed.

Search for files.

You can also use the "Search" bar in the upper, right corner to locate files on your hard-drive(s).  However, you should change to the root folder on your hard-drive so it can find more files in all folders on your computer. To do this, click on "Computer" in the navigation pane, then double-click on your hard-drive (i.e. Local Disk (C:)), then click on "Search" and type in what you are looking for.  If you use the file types listed in the table in the section (2. Introduction) or look at the File Type (lower, right-hand corner) you could type "*.ICO" (without quotes) and it will find all icon files (or whatever element you are looking for).  The asterisk (or *) is called a wildcard character, meaning Windows will find any file with a .icon extension. 

After you locate & click on the desired icon file, double-click it (this will auto-close the window) or click Open. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)  The icon you selected will appear to the right of the Browse button.

Suite Preview

The next item in the "Included Elements" list is "Suite Preview" which allows you to add a screenshot or other image to represent your theme.  You can have a preview for Windows XP, Vista or both.  The "Small Preview" is for the thumbnail and preview seen in Theme Manager, while the "Large Preview" is for a web based screenshot of your theme. 

Suite Preview

You can create your own screenshot by arranging icons, windows, etc. on your desktop, then press the <Print Screen> key.  Next, open a graphics program (i.e. Windows Paint, Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop) and select Edit, then Paste (from clipboard).  From there you can save it as a .BMP, .JPG or .JPEG.  Then you can use that file as your preview.

To add a Small Preview to either XP or Vista, click Browse , locate & select the file, then click Open. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)  For the Large Preview, if your theme has a screenshot on WinCustomize.com for instance, copy the web address (URL) from your web browser & paste (or type) it into the "Large Preview URL" field & click GO to verify the link works.

Included Elements

The remaining items in the "Included Elements" list are actual elements, most being graphic, with a couple that are sounds. Most of the elements ask for the same information, except these will be different: DesktopX Gadgets, Sounds, and Wallpaper.  Each of these four types of screens will be detailed here.

The first type of screen is seen when you click on any element, except: Sounds, DesktopX Gadgets or Wallpaper.  So for our example, we will look at adding a CursorFX theme to our new theme. First, "CursorFX" is located in the list & clicked on. 

List of elements you can add to a new theme.

The screen changes to display the following, asking you for the "Skin/Theme Name", "Skin/Author", "Local File" and "Download URL".  If the theme is on your computer, click Browse (for Local File).  If you want to locate & download a file from WinCustomize, click the radio button for "Download URL" and click Search.

Adding a new element - CursorFX theme.

Clicking Browse for "Local File" will open a small window (dialog box) displaying a list of themes it has found. 

If what you want is listed, locate & click on it and then click OK. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)  (You may also double-click on the theme & it will automatically close the window.)  The path to the theme will appear in the "Local File" field and the Name & Author of the theme maybe filled in for you.

If you did not find the desired theme or none were listed, you can click Browse and an Explorer window will open and allow you to locate the desired file. To select the file, either double-click on it (Explorer and the "Browse Local Files" dialog box will close) or click on the file, then click Open and both windows will close. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)  The file path will appear next to "Local File".

If you prefer to search WinCustomize.com for a different theme, click the round (radio) button next to "Download URL" and click Search. A small dialog box will open asking you to type in the name of a skin or author on WinCustomize.com and click Search.   Then it will that it will search and return the results.  If you didn't find what you wanted, try different words, names and try again.  (If you have trouble, use your web browser to view themes on WinCustomize.com before typing something in.) 

Search WinCustomize.com

If you did find something interesting in the dialog box, you can right-click on each theme and a menu of choices will appear: Add, View... and Preview... .  Clicking Add is the same as clicking Add button at the bottom of the dialog box, which will add it to your theme.  Clicking "View..." will open your web browser and display the WinCustomize page with details for that theme.  Clicking "Preview..." will open your web browser and display a screenshot of the selected theme on WinCustomize.

View Preview selected theme.

Once you found the desired theme in the dialog box, click on it, then click Add. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)  The Name of the theme and Author maybe filled in for you, otherwise you can call it anything or type in the title & author.

Element information filled in.

As you add elements to the new theme, you will see the elements appear on the bottom of the Theme Manager window.

Elements appear on bottom as you add them.

Clearing Information

If you ever want to start over with a theme element, like the CursorFX one we just did, click the Clear button and the form will be erased. 

View Themes Folder

If you ever want to view the Theme Manager themes folder, click the View Themes Folder button.  You can use this to see what files are on your hard-drive and where.  To close, click the C button.

DesktopX Gadgets

Adding a "DesktopX Gadget" changes the screen to include: Add and Remove buttons for adding/removing gadgets and a Browse button locate a shortcut icon.  Adding a shortcut icon may fill in the "Desktop Shortcut Name" field automatically.  It will also display the icon to the right of the Browse button.  You can add gadgets from DesktopX, MyColors, etc..

Adding a DesktopX Gadget to a new theme.

Clicking Add opens a dialog box that allows you to search your computer (i.e. hard-drive, CD, DVD, flash/memory card, ...) or search WinCustomize. The "Gadget Name" may fill in automatically when you select the gadget.  For "Local File", you can check/uncheck boxes for "Include Subfolders" (which will search folders under your currently selected folder when you click Browse ) and "Load on Windows Startup" (starts the gadget when you start Windows, saving you from having to manually run the gadget).

Adding a DesktopX Gadget from the hard-drive.

Clicking Browse (next to "Local File") opens an Explorer window, after you locate and select the desired gadget, click on it and select Open. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)  Then on the "Add DesktopX Gadget" dialog box, click OK. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

(For reference, on Windows Vista the default path for Desktop Gadgets is: C:\Program Files\Stardock\DesktopGadgets.)

To download a gadget instead, on the "Add DesktopX Gadget" dialog box, click the round (radio) button "Download URL" and click Search. The "Search WinCustomize.com" dialog box will open, type in the name of a gadget (widget) pr the author's name and click Search.  The results will be displayed.  If you would like to "Add" (gadget to theme), "View" (see gadget web page on WinCustomize) or "Preview" (view screenshot from WinCustomize), like when adding an element previously, right-click on it and a menu will open. 

Searching for a gadget on WinCustomize.

To select the desired gadget, click on it, then click Add.  (Click Cancel or X to abort.) Then on the "Add DesktopX Gadget" dialog, click OK to accept.  (Click Cancel or X to abort.) The gadget will be added to the box in DesktopX Gadgets to be included in the new theme.  You can add more than one gadget and they will be displayed in the box as well.

To remove a gadget from the box, click on it, and click Remove.  Click Yes to remove it.  (Click No or X to abort.)

Delete Item

Sounds

The Sounds element includes a list of Windows Program Events, which are actions that you can attach sounds too.  For instance, you could change the default sound Windows makes for "Device Connect" (when connecting a new device (i.e. USB device) to your computer) or a new sound when you "Exit Windows".  This list will not show any existing sounds attached to events, only ones you add in creating a theme or editing a saved theme.

Attaching sounds to system events.

Scroll to an event you want to change, click on it.  You can attach an existing Windows sound to it by clicking the pull-down arrow under "Sounds" (left of Browse button).  This will display a long list of standard sound files you can click on to select from.

 of Windows default sounds.

After clicking on a sound in the list, an icon will appear to the left of the event (i.e. Program error, Select).  You can also add other, non-standard Windows sounds to events which is how SoundPackager works.  You can browse your computer for other WAV type (.wav) files by selecting the event you want to change and clicking the Browse button.  An Explorer window will open, allowing you to browse/search your computer for additional WAV files.  After locating the desired file, click to select, then click Open. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)  An icon will appear next to the event.

Wallpaper

The last unique element is "Wallpaper", clicking on it displays a form with a box to add wallpaper files too "Local File" and "Download URL".  You have two wallpaper size choices, either (4:3) ratio (non-widescreen monitor) or (16:9) ratio (widescreen monitor).  You can add multiple wallpapers to a theme, and make one of them your default one by checking the box for "Default Wallpaper Set".

Wallpaper

Select a wallpaper by clicking the Browse button for (4:3) or (16:9).  An Explorer window will open, allowing you to locate & select the desired wallpaper.  Click Open to accept it.  (Click Cancel or X to abort.)  The "Wallpaper Name" should be filled in for you, otherwise you can type something in.  Then click OK (Add Wallpaper dialog box) or click Cancel or X to abort.

Add Wallpaper

When browsing, to see what wallpapers look like, click the "Views" button (upper, left corner) to change to a preview mode.  You may need to click it a few times or you can click the pull-down menu next to it and select an Icons view.

 

To download a new wallpaper instead, click the radio button "Download URL" and click Search WinCustomize.  A dialog box will open, type in a wallpaper name or author from WinCustomize and click Search.  If you want to Add, View or Preview, like previous elements, right-click on a theme and make a selection. 

Select a wallpaper from the search results, and click Add.  (Click Cancel or X to abort.)  The URL path will appear under "Download URL".

Searching WinCustomize for wallpapers.

Save Theme

Once you are down adding elements to your new theme, click the Save button. An Explorer window will open with any existing suites (themes), type in a filename.  Theme Manager will add the .suite extension.  Click Save to store the theme on your hard-drive.  (Click Cancel or X to abort.)  If you change to the "Themes" menu tab, then click on "Suites", your new theme is now listed.

Open Existing Theme

If you ever want to change a theme you created, click Open and an Explorer window will open displaying any in that folder.  Select the desired theme (suite) or browse to the correct folder, select the theme and click open.  (Click Cancel or X to abort.) 


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