Microsoft Dynamics CRM Themes Explained

Theme banner

Numerous elements of Microsoft Dynamics can be customised to fit your organisation including its processes and reports so why can't it reflect your own colours and branding too?

With Dynamics CRM Online 2015 Update 1 and later versions it can!

CRM themes are a new solution to personalize the Microsoft Dynamics interface and make it feel even more like your business by adding your logo and changing CRM colours to reflect your familiar branding, or your preferred colour scheme.

In this post I've detailed the customisable components to create a new CRM theme record.

This involves multiple settings and like most CRM processes it does requires some planning to avoid creating a theme with garish colours that users are sure to dislike!

To access themes browse to CRM Settings --> Customisations --> Themes

The standard CRM theme is shown below:

CRM default theme

This default record is set to read only so it can't be amended but administrators can create a new theme record to replace it.

Let's kick off with the navigation bar and create a new logo...


A new image file can be uploaded to CRM in .gif, .jpg and .png formats to replace the default Microsoft Dynamics logo:

Logo banner

With limited space in the CRM nav bar image size is an important consideration. The recommended dimensions for uploading a new image logo is 400px width x 50px height.

If your logo is much larger some parts will likely be cut off the screen.

Click the search option on the logo field:

Theme detail

Then select new to open a new window:

Resource detail

This requires a new logo name to be entered and confirmation of the file type. To complete, upload the relevant image file then save and publish.

For this example, I've uploaded the following image (not exact size) which has the same colour that I'll use for the nav bar background but more about that shortly...

Theme company

Changing the logo doesn't affect the CRM action so clicking this area in the nav bar will continue to return a user to their customised home page.

Logo Tool Tip

Enter text in this field to set the alt text for the new logo, this will also appear when the user hovers over it in a web browser.

Design logo

Navigation Bar

Changing the navigation bar colour will replace the navy default:

Nav Bar

In this example I'm using the same dark reddish colour that appears on the custom logo.

Theme colours are defined using a hexadecimal code but the current CRM release doesn't include a colour picker so unless you're a coding whizz an external HTML colour selector will be an essential resource.

There are plenty of free options, such as By using this you can assess new colours for your CRM theme, get ideas on contrasting colours and copy the relevant HEX codes.

You can also try the cool theme generator at

The HEX code for the navigation bar background I'm using is #801515 which can be added to the theme record.

Bar colour

At this point it's worth stating that in this release CRM will only let an administrator change the background colour of the nav bar, not the font colour.

That means text will remain white so although the background default could be replaced with a very light colour this wouldn't work well for users as they'd be unable to easily see the menu text.

Sky blue, or similar, would be an example to avoid in this instance!

Search box

Navigation Bar Shelf

The shelf that appears under the main CRM control menu can be replaced to a new colour of our choosing.

I've replaced the default grey...

Bar shelf

...with something brighter:

Bar shelf colour

Header Colour

Changing the header colour will impact several areas.

Firstly, it appears at the top of the navigation text as highlighted below:

Header colour

Changing the header colour also applies this to CRM form record tabs so perhaps an especially bright colour won't work so well here either:

Record detail

Moving on to the CRM user interface elements...

Global Link Colour

One of the most important settings defines the colour of each link that appears in CRM.

For this theme I've set global links to a royal blue colour (#0033CC) which is reflected in a list view...

Active cases

...and a record form:

Contact record form

Selected Link

Change the Selected Link colour to determine the colour when list items are selected:

Open leads

Hover Link Effect

Following on from the above, this setting controls the colour that appears when users hover over items in the CRM menu, ribbon and in list views

I've used the HEX code #788080 to apply a grey hover background.

Hover effect

Process Control Colour

Amending the process control changes the primary colour on any record that uses the process control including cases, leads and opportunities.

In this example I've replaced the default blue with purple.

As with the navigation background menu, it's not possible to change the white text colour with this release so again a very bright colour should be avoided here.

Process control

Default Colour Entity

Icons for CRM standard entities default to blue but this can be changed to reflect any colour of your choosing.

This updates the colours that appear in the drop down menu for dashboards and standard entities including goals, marketing lists, orders and queues.

I've amended the colour to orange so the sales menu now reflects this:

Colour entity

Default Custom Entity Colour

In the same way as above the colour choice for custom CRM entities can also be set to appear in a different colour compared to the default of green.

Control Shade & Control Border

These two settings determine the action when a user hovers over a CRM record control field.

Using the example of a pale yellow control shade and a grey control border this is shown on the case title field...

Control shade the process control...

Process control

...and in the record header for just three examples:

Record header

Here's a recap of the complete custom CRM theme:

Custom Theme

Once complete the theme can be previewed and then published to apply it to all CRM users.

I hope this post provided a useful introduction the CRM themes and gave you some useful pointers to design your own theme.

Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 was released to CRM Online customers Quarter 2 - 2015, on-premise customer will be able to utilise themes and the other Update 1 enhancements when Microsoft releases CRM 2016, its next major upgrade, in Quarter 4 2015.

Jan 2016 Update: CRM Theme records were added in Update 1 for Dynamics CRM but these customisation weren't applied to the mobile app. With the release of CRM 2016 theme colours can now be used in CRM mobile for the navigation bar, custom controls and entity colours.

Related: What's New in Microsoft Dynamics 2016