Designing themes
BIRT Studio provides several options for formatting the contents of a report. The standard toolbar provides the user with formatting options to modify the font, color, style, text alignment, and other properties of individual report items. The report design area on the left side of BIRT Studio displays themes, if any are provided, that the user can select to apply a set of styles to the entire report.
A theme is a collection of styles. The concept and functionality of styles are similar to styles in Microsoft Word and cascading style sheets (CSS). Designers create a theme to apply a consistent style, or look and feel, to a report. A theme, for example, can specify the colors used in a report, the font used for different text, label, or data items, the spacing or alignment of items, border styles, and so on.
BIRT Studio provides three themes with the default templates, as shown in Figure 13-1.
Figure 13-1  
When you create a template, consider creating different themes, so that the user can choose from multiple styles. While the creation of a theme is optional, it is standard practice among designers, similar to the use of cascading style sheets with web pages. Themes are stored in a BIRT library file, separate from the template file.
Defining all the styles in a theme within a library, rather than applying formats to individual report items in the template, makes it easier to maintain and update the appearance of a template. When a user requests new or modified styles to use with a particular template, all you do is update the theme in the library, then publish the latest version of the library. You do not need to modify the template file.

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