Change the Font Colours

How to change the font colours - a through-the-web approach.

You'll be introduced to some very simple techniques here for through-the-web customizations of Plone's CSS.

  • How to locate the styles you want to change
  • How to override these styles using the ploneCustom.css style sheet

In this case we'll change the colour of page titles from black to turquoise.

Before you start

For convenience, Plone themes often comprise a number of separate style sheets, but for speed and efficiency, in production mode, Plone has a mechanism (portal_css) for packaging these up into just one or two files.

You'll need to disable this when making changes to your site or customizing CSS. So make sure you've followed the instructions on how to put your site into debug mode.

Locating the styles you want to change

  • If you don't already have a page in your Plone site, add one, save it and inspect it in view mode.
  • Use Firebug, or a similar tool, to locate the class name of the page title - in this case its h1.documentFirstHeading.

Locating the ploneCustom.css style sheet

As a matter of course, the last style sheet to load on every Plone page is ploneCustom.css. You'll see this if you inspect the HTML head tag of your page using Firebug. If you dig further, you'll probably find that this style sheet is completely empty. By the rules of precedence in the CSS Cascade, any styles in this sheet will override styles specified in the preceding sheets. So you have a "blank sheet" here for your own customizations.

The trick now is to locate this file, so that you can make it available for editing.

To make life easier for yourself, you might like to open a second tab or browser window at this point - you can then quickly switch back to the first tab to see your changes.

Go to Site Setup > Zope Management Interface and click portal_skins

Use the Find option in the tabs across the top to locate ploneCustom.css:

  • Type ploneCustom.css in the "with ids:" box and click Find
  • You may get more than one result, it doesn't matter which you choose to click on, however best practice is to choose the one flagged with the red asterisk.

Customizing and Editing ploneCustom.css

When you click on ploneCustom.css you'll find that you can't edit it. The next stage is to put the ploneCustom.css in a place where it can be edited. You'll see a Customize option just above the grey text area, click the Customize button and you'll find that the style sheet has been automatically copied to portal_skins/custom.

You're now free to edit the file as you like. To change the colour of our page titles, add:

h1.documentFirstHeading {
    color: #0AAE95;

and save.

If you've installed Plone 4 with the Sunburst theme, the ploneCustom.css comes with a number of commented out pre-packaged styles that you might like to experiment with. You can override the layout styles to a fixed width and alter the colours of the links.

Rolling back your changes

You've got a couple of options for reverting back to the original CSS:

comment out your styles in the ploneCustom.css - the usual CSS commenting syntax applies

delete (or, if you want to keep a note of what you did, rename) your version of ploneCustom.css, you'll find it here:

  • Site Setup > Zope Management Interface > portal_skins > custom
  • you can choose the delete or rename options - try renaming to ploneCustom.css.old
  • you can then go back to the beginning of the process of locating and customizing ploneCustom.css

Further Information

You've actually encountered two types of customization here.

  1. The first is a standard method of using order of precedence - the Cascade - to overwrite CSS styles as they reach the browser.
  2. The second is a Plone/Zope specific method of overriding the style sheets themselves by dropping them into the custom folder of portal_skins. This method can also be used for templates and other resources and is explained in more depth in the section on Skin Layers in this manual.

More advanced techniques, including incorporating your own style sheets into a theme product, are covered later in this manual.

You can find out more about how the CSS Registry (portal_css) packages up the style sheets to deliver them to the page in the Templates and Components to Page section of this manual.