I have never understood how to easily generate an image preview for a given stylesheet. I also am unclear on how to easily share one. So I'm looking for an implementation or good 3rd party solution for functions to do these things:

StyleSheetPreview[location] (*or StyleSheetBrowse[loc] for loc in wolfram cloud that has many styles*)

Would give something like the built-in styles previewer:

enter image description here

And this would give a way to share them:

StyleSheetShare["newstylesheet"] (*uploads it to wolfram cloud*)
StyleSheetInstall["newstylesheet", "Uninstall" -> True|False] 
(*downloads and installs from wolfram cloud*)

enter image description here

I’ve noticed a number of ResourceFunctions that exist to install things (e.g. GitHubInstall). Might this be a good way to share stylesheets? Or is there another more modern way to create, preview, and deliver them stylesheets?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Paclets are designed exactly for this. Use them. There's supposed to be a paclet repository coming "soon"--as in sometime in the next 5-10 years. In the meantime just distribute them as releases on GitHub. $\endgroup$
    – b3m2a1
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ @b3m2a1 I’ve never tried that, could you post a minimal working example of this route? $\endgroup$
    – user5601
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 5:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I mean like whats the directory structure, do I make a package with functions that copy or remove the style files and 9-patch images, what’s the conventions, etc. Is there a good tutorial or example of building this paclet for each new stylesheets to share? $\endgroup$
    – user5601
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 5:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I’ll post an answer when I have the time but I’ve posted a lot here about how to use paclets. I even wrote up a tutorial. Give my other answers a quick look. $\endgroup$
    – b3m2a1
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 5:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ But how to extend the built in theme browser would be cool too $\endgroup$
    – user5601
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 6:04

1 Answer 1


Preview Notebooks / Extra Paclet Features

I decided it was worth it to add some extra features to this thing as it's a good example of what paclets can do for you.

First off, I added a little CreateStylesheetPreview function that'll take stylesheets and rasterize them to make a preview. e.g.:

  {"Default.nb", "ReverseColor.nb" -> "Custom/CodeNotebook.nb"}
  ] // CreateDocument

enter image description here

(Read the source code to see how it's implemented. It's not particularly complex stuff.)

Then I made it so that you can "Include" arbitrary content in your paclet, so we'll add this as a palette. I'll do that as a directory, just to show how it works. Other content can be included directly as files, but I wanted to support both. First we'll create a directory containing the palettes of interest:

   CreateIntermediateDirectories -> True];
   {"Default.nb", "ReverseColor.nb" -> "Custom/CodeNotebook.nb"}

then we can bundle and share it like so:

 "Includes" -> {
   "~/Desktop/Palettes/Custom" -> "FrontEnd/Palettes/Custom",
 "PackageContext" -> {"StylesheetShare`"}


You'll notice I also included the package that implements this stuff in there, just for the heck of it.

When you install it, since I didn't bump the "Version" in the Options, if you have an old version installed you'll need to install it like so:

StylesheetInstall["CodeNotebook", "IgnoreVersion" -> True]

Paclet[CodeNotebook, 1.0.0, <>]

Once it's installed you'll see two changes from before, first, in the palettes menu we have this:

enter image description here

which just opens up that preview notebook from before.

Second, we can find that installed package:

FindFile["StylesheetShare`"] // StringTrim[#, $UserBasePacletsDirectory] &


And so at that point you could just do <<StylesheetShare` to load the package

If you want to distribute multiple packages you can do that by adding their names to the "PackageContext" list.


Wrote up a package to do the sharing.

First load the package from GitHub:


This exposes two functions, StylesheetShare and StylesheetInstall

Next get some sheets to share. Here are a few that are already in a package of mine:

stylesheetsDir = 
  "~/Documents/Wolfram Mathematica/Applications/BTools/FrontEnd/StyleSheets/BTools";

sheets =

(* Out:

 ~/Documents/Wolfram Mathematica/Applications/BTools/FrontEnd/StyleSheets/BTools/CodeNotebook.nb,
 ~/Documents/Wolfram Mathematica/Applications/BTools/FrontEnd/StyleSheets/BTools/CodePackage.nb,
 ~/Documents/Wolfram Mathematica/Applications/BTools/FrontEnd/StyleSheets/BTools/CodePackagePlain.nb,
 ~/Documents/Wolfram Mathematica/Applications/BTools/FrontEnd/StyleSheets/BTools/DocGen.nb,
 ~/Documents/Wolfram Mathematica/Applications/BTools/FrontEnd/StyleSheets/BTools/MarkdownNotebook.nb,
 ~/Documents/Wolfram Mathematica/Applications/BTools/FrontEnd/StyleSheets/BTools/SyntaxHighlighting.nb


Then we can share a single sheet:



And then install that:

 "WolframID" -> "b3m2a1.testing"


enter image description here

Or you can share the entire directory:

 "Name" -> "MySheets"


There are a bunch of little settings you can use in StylesheetShare if you want:


{"Version" -> "1.0.0", "Name" -> Automatic, "Creator" -> Automatic, 
 "Description" -> "A stylesheets paclet", 
 "BuildDirectory" :> CreateDirectory[], "MenuName" -> "Custom", 
 "PacletsRoot" -> "", Permissions -> "Public", AppearanceElements -> All, 
 AutoCopy -> False, CloudObjectNameFormat -> Automatic, 
 CloudObjectURLType -> Automatic, IconRules -> Automatic, 
 MetaInformation -> {}, SharingList -> {}, SourceLink -> Automatic}

But that should be enough to get you started

  • $\begingroup$ Can you give some suggestions as to how the preview gallery would work? $\endgroup$
    – user5601
    Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ @user5601 basically you’d set up a Notebook with all the content you’d like to see as changes (basically standard cell styles), then Rasterize it with a set of different style sheets set as the StyleDefinitions. You can get all of the stylesheet available in the styles menu using something like FEPrivate`GetMenuPopupList $\endgroup$
    – b3m2a1
    Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 20:28
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    $\begingroup$ @user5601 you’ll make a custom template Notebook for the preview, I figure. No way good way to get only the relevant cell styles programmatically (there are usually lots of like TemplateBox styles in there too). $\endgroup$
    – b3m2a1
    Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ So if I understand correctly, to support any sort of "share with preview" I'll need to package two things 1. styledefinitions notebook 2. a template notebook using (1). Ok but then what do I do with both of those files, your StylesheetShare works for just (1) right? $\endgroup$
    – user5601
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 19:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @user5601 I'll write up an extension to make it easy to include other directories. You can include your previews as a palette or something or add a package that will generate it when called. $\endgroup$
    – b3m2a1
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 23:56

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