Porque siempre hay algo que contar

Change default color palette in OpenOffice

with 15 comments


Este artículo también está disponible en español.

One of the things I don’t really like of OpenOffice is its default color palette. The colors included are too basic so they are not too useful (at least for the things I do). Evenmore, the colors don’t seem to be ordered at all so it’s not easy to find an specific color sometimes. That’s why I decided to change the default color palette and started using another more useful one.

Searching the internet I found indeed some color palettes, some more useful and appealling than others. Among them, the one I liked the most was the palette created by Sammy Dellicour which is —according to him— based on the Google sites color. After using it for some time, I was missing more paler, subtler colors to be used, for instance, as background color in Calc.

I finally decided to create my own color palette based on Sammy’s —thank you so much— and, as he did, I’m releasing it here for the internet community. It is basically the same palette, I’ve just included two paler color tones in each column. As in Sammy’s, the colors in the drop-down palette appear sorted in columns for an easier localization.

There is also included a version of the same palette with the color names in Spanish for those interested.

Installing the new palette

To install the new palette the best option is to replace the default one used by OpenOffice. First, download and unzip the archive with the palettes. This archive contains both the Spanish (iuveaene_es.soc) and the English version (iuveaene_en.soc) of the same palette. Choose a version and rename the file as standard.soc, then copy this file into the user configuration folder of OpenOffice overwriting the old one (saving a copy of the old file before doing so is highly recommended if you want to restore the old palette).

Where the user configuration folder is located depends on your operating system:

  • Linux: ~/.openoffice.org/3/user/config/
  • Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\«user»\Application Data\OpenOffice.org\3\user\config\
  • Vista: \Users\«user»\AppData\Roaming\OpenOffice.org\3\user\config\

Where «user» is your Windows user name. The name of some of the folder may also vary depending on the language of your OS.

And this is it. The next time you launch OpenOffice, the new palette will be loaded and ready to use.

This file can be distributed and modified freely as long as you give credit to its authors.

Update: Now the file with the palettes is stored in a public dropbox folder. I hope this finally will solve the problems I have experienced using other servers.

Update 19/oct/2010: Like Sammy himself said, his palette is no longer available in the net so I’ve removed the link.

Update 9/nov/2010: I’ve released a new palette. Check it out!


Written by iuveaene

7.octubre.2009 (Miércoles) a 22:09

Publicado en Utilidades

Tagged with , , , ,

15 comentarios

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  1. Hola! Your palette seems very nice but i’m not able to download it. May you post the correct link? Thx in advance.


    19.enero.2010 (Martes) at 12:10

  2. Oh yes, you’re right, thank you. Now I’ve uploaded the file to mediafire and updated the links. It should work now.


    19.enero.2010 (Martes) at 23:17

  3. […] Change default color palette in OpenOffice « i.uve.a.ene. […]

  4. I have palette with google-doc color, but without olive color and without very light color. You work is very gut. THX


    8.agosto.2010 (Domingo) at 22:20

  5. Great to see that my Google inspired palette has been useful to you.

    For your information: I’ve taken down my Google site, so the link to it doesn’t work anymore.

    Thanks and have a good day.

    Sammy Dellicour

    17.octubre.2010 (Domingo) at 21:36

  6. Hello Sammy. Thank you for passing by and warning me about the broken link. I really appreciate it.
    And thank you again for your palette.


    19.octubre.2010 (Martes) at 22:56

  7. […] been more than a year since I released my own color palette for OpenOffice so I thought it was time to release a new one. This time it is organized in a […]

  8. thank you for helping make oocalc spreadsheets legible. this has been grating on me for the longest time.


    14.mayo.2011 (Sábado) at 22:29

  9. A long time OpenOffice user, I’ve been annoyed by their colour palette for quite some time, and looking for a way to change it. You just put me on the right track to create my own. Muchas gracias 🙂


    4.enero.2014 (Sábado) at 3:02

  10. Hi, I tried doing this new pallette change up in Open Office 3.3 but it seems not to change anything. I would really like to use a very faint light hued background for my presentation, it is so much more relaxing to the eyes , not having to view sharp contrasts for lengthy periods of time ie… Black Font on White background
    Will your pallette work with OOo older versions?
    Stu R.

    Stu R.

    15.noviembre.2014 (Sábado) at 1:50

  11. Hi Stu,

    I’ve just tested it in OpenOffice 3.3.0 and it worked correctly. Perhaps you had some OO programs running while doing the changes. You should close every OpenOffice program (Calc, Writer, …) before installing the new palette. Also, if you are using the quick start option you should close it too (there should be an icon on the system tray), specially if you have just opened OpenOffice (it might be retrieving the palette from the computer memory and not from the disk).

    Hope this helps.


    15.noviembre.2014 (Sábado) at 16:31

  12. Well? I tried it again with no success. I believe that i am doing everthing correctly?

    I am running Windows 2000 Professional and Open Office 3.3 > Java 7 update 65 > (this W2K OS has been upgraded with unofficial rollups>MSFN Group )
    Regardless, (i believe it should work fine, as i have had no issues with anything i have ever tried.)

    I notice that your new file extension is .soc, but in the “3>Config” page all those files are mostly named standard except “palette_en-US” and when i name the new pallette file “standard.soc” and drop it in , nothing occurs, even when i shut down my machine and boot it back up
    (Most of those files in Config are OOo v1.1 files including “palette_en-US”)

    I open OOo >Text Document>Format>Page>Background> and nothing is different , the pallette is the same.

    That includes removing altogether the “palette_en-US”, perhaps i am removing an incorrect pallette file? and so it is still reading the same default pallette for the page “Background”?
    I notice that there are different pallettes in OOo in conjuction, using various attributes; ie..Tools, but even in those i do not see the newer pastel pallette.

    (In essence i would really like to backdrop / background my pages> to.pdf file presentation like a solid colored watermark, barely visible)

    ThanKs much in advance for your time., (i am probably not doing something correctly here ?)
    Stu R.

    Stu R.

    16.noviembre.2014 (Domingo) at 9:44

  13. Hi Stu,

    I think I know now what is happening to you. It seems that your computer is not showing the filename extension (there’s an option in your computer’s file explorer to hide file extensions and you may have it set). There is indeed a lot of files in the user\config folder with the name “standard” but all of them have different extensions (standard.soc, standard.sob, standard.sod, standard.soe, standard.soh and so on), you only want to replace the standard.soc file for the one that is in my .zip file.

    Try this:
    1) Open the ZIP archive you’ve downloaded from this site.
    2) Extract (copy) the chosen file (I’m guessing “iuveaene_en.soc”) to any temporary folder (not the user\config folder)
    3) Go to this temporary folder and
    4.1) If the name of the file in this folder is “iuveaene_en”, rename it as “standard”, or…
    4.2) If the name of the file in this folder is “iuveaene_en.soc”, rename it as “standard.soc”
    5) Move the file from the temporary folder to the user\config folder (it might ask if you want to replace the old one).

    Please let me know if this worked.



    18.noviembre.2014 (Martes) at 9:21

  14. Hi Iván,
    I got it to finally work!!!!
    I remembered some things about Windows 2000 Professional > I had to unlock the files in order for them to integrate.

    1) I went to My Computer>Control Panel> Folder Options>View>UN-CHECKEDBOXES>Hide files extensions for known file types and Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)

    2) I opened your downloaded iuveaene_en in Notepad for editing, then also crated a new Notepad file and named it standard.soc.
    I then copied the contents of your iuveaene_en into the new file and closed it.

    3) Then went back to the My Computer>Control Panel> Folder Options>View> Checked the TWO BOXES, and then clicked APPLY, locking the file system back up, inclusive to the new file i had just made

    4) I then went into My Computer>open c:/ drive>Documents and Settings>Administrator>Application Data>Open Office> 3 >User>Config
    I then copy>pasted the “old” standard.soc into a reserve folder in case i want to put it back in later, and then copy>pasted in the new standard.soc i had just made in Notepad.
    It asked me if i wanted to overwrite the existing file and clicked “yes”

    5) I then Opened OOo and VIOLA!! It works !! It’s a beautiful thing !! to see happen.!! My .pdf ‘s
    never looked better!!!

    Thank-You Iván for doing this for everyone!!

    Do you have any hints for editing those light pastels to about half their shade?
    (They almost come close to matching the color palette in my Photo Suite.)

    (Generally i put a small, same color background border, around all the photos i am going to insert,
    so that it all seams together for nice crisp edges around the photo and then from OOo>.pdf. to presentation)

    Best Regards,
    Stu R.

    Stu R.

    18.noviembre.2014 (Martes) at 10:49

  15. Hi Stu,

    I’m glad to hear it finally worked! And thank you for describing the steps you’ve followed to solve the problem as it may help other users with the same problem.

    Regarding the other issue, I don’t know exactly what you mean by “editing those light pastels to about half their shade”. The colors in the standard.soc file are defined in RGB mode (red, green, blue) in hexadecimal (eg. Red 1 is “fbeeee”, that is “fb” [hexadecimal for 251] for red and “ee” [hexadecimal for 238] for both green and blue). However, I think that the best way to edit the palette file is by using OOo itself because you can edit each color not only by changing the RGB values but also by changing its hue, saturation or brightness which sometimes it far more interesting. For example, if you want to make the colors darker or lighter I’d try changing the brightness.

    It’s no easy to explain all this in a comment. You have much more detailed information about how to do this on the web than can help you make the changes you need.

    Feel free to change the file as you please.



    18.noviembre.2014 (Martes) at 11:57


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