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What is Theme Software?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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Theme software has two distinct meanings. On the one hand, it is add-on software that provides the user with one or more additional themes beyond the default selection in the main software program. Alternatively, it is a package that offers the user the ability to design an original theme for the program.

Theme software in the first definition is made for phones and other mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, and as add-ons for blogs and other content management systems. Theme software is also available for website designs.

Some themes are available for free. For example, there are many free themes for websites, including ecommerce websites, and for blogs, each made to work with a specific web host’s website builder and each individual type of blogging software. These choices characteristically offer the user different color schemes and layouts. In each case, there are very plain versions, and versions for typical uses, either by the content of the site or the profession of the user or one of his/her hobbies. Each company that offers free theme software characteristically also offers themes for purchase and custom theme design.

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Some themes are limited to layout and color scheme, but others involve licensed material that is very specific. For example, there is themed material linked to movies and movie characters, or sports or sporting events, such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup® in South Africa or NASCAR®. This kind of theme software is often for sale, rather than available for free, and is often made as an operating system theme, designed to change the look-and-feel of a mobile, desktop, or laptop device in every use. Animated versions of some themes are available. This type of software may be called a desktop theme when it is for a computer; when designed for a mobile device, it may be referred to in reference to the type of device as in mobile phone theme or by the manufacturer or mobile device name, as in Nokia® themes.

A desktop theme or mobile device theme includes a wide variety of items to change the look-and-feel of the computer experience. These may include wallpaper, icons, skins for operating system software, such as media players, pointers, and sounds. Some desktop themes are made to really brand the experience, while some are meant to be subtle and not draw attention to themselves. Sometimes a portion of a desktop theme, such as wallpaper or a skin, is available by itself from, for example, a site on which photography or image design is an important element.

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