Transferring Publisher custom color schemes between users and computers

I’ve spent some time the last few weeks helping my wife come up with a consistent corporate identity for her business: letterhead, business cards, and all that. (Of course, I’m the one that suggested the overhaul in the first place; that way, I get to play on the computer, and get points for being a supportive spouse. How can you beat that?)

For a big part of this, of course, I’m working in Publisher. I wanted to take advantage of Publisher’s color schemes feature to create a set of custom colors for her business. And that’s when I discovered a few interesting things about transferring custom color schemes between users on the same computer, or different computers.

The custom color schemes you create are not stored within the Publisher publication itself. Instead, they’re stored in a separate file, named custcols.scm, in your user directory. For example:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Publisher\custcols.scm

All the custom colors you as a user create are stored in this one file.

Which leads to two limitations of color schemes, if you work on multiple computers, or have multiple users working with the same custom color scheme on the same machine:

·         If you open the publication on a different computer, the custom color scheme does not automatically get added to the color schemes available in Publisher on that computer.

·         If another user logs onto the same computer and opens Publisher, the color schemes you created are not available to them. Likewise, any color schemes they create won’t be available to you.

Now, you can transfer custom color schemes by simply copying that custcols.scm file from one user directory to another, or even one computer to another. So once I’ve created the custom color scheme for my wife’s business, I can simply copy it into her user directory, and she’s ready to go. Likewise, she can copy it to her user directory on her machine at her business.

A few important caveats apply, though:

Publisher stores all the custom color schemes you’ve created in this one file. You can’t pick and choose which ones to transfer. Also, overwriting the custcols.scm file in this way will nuke any custom color schemes the user might already have in their existing custcols.scm file.

Also, remember that the files aren’t linked in any way, so there’s no dynamic updating. If I change a custom color scheme while working in Publisher, I’d have to overwrite the custcols.scm file in my wife’s user directory again in order for her to use the updated scheme.

A slightly more labor-intensive, but more precise, way to transfer custom color scheme is to use a Publisher file to transfer an individual color scheme. When you apply a custom color scheme to a publication, and then open that file using a different user and/or computer, the color scheme isn’t automatically added to the schemes available. However, the custom color scheme information still resides in the publication, and can be saved to the custcols.scm file.

Here’s how you do it:

1.      Define the custom color scheme and apply it to the publication.

2.      Save the publication.

3.      Open the publication on a different computer, or open it as a different user on the same computer.

4.      In the Publisher task pane, click on Custom color scheme.

5.      In the Color Scheme dialog box, on the Custom tab, the various colors of the custom color scheme are shown in the Current column. Without making any changes, click Save Scheme.

6.      Enter the name of the custom color scheme, and click OK twice.

Only the current scheme applied to the publication can be transferred in this way. However, since the custom color scheme is added to those currently saved in the user’s custcols.scm file, no previously-defined custom schemes are overwritten.

Standard disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

Comments (5)
  1. This is great, welcome to the blogging world and I look forward to reading your blog.

  2. Glad to see a PowerPoint/Publisher Blog!

    I’ll be following your remarks

  3. Mike Bailey says:

    This is good helpfull information. I’ll have to set up a link from my web page.

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