Hide Links in Site Settings Page with HideCustomAction

Problem: People make SharePoint branding inconsistent by creating and applying random themes and breaks corporate branding. So need to stop users from creating & uploading new themes and applying them.

Hide Themes and Site Themes links with “HideCustomAction” from Site Settings!

Hide Site Settings Links using HideCustomAction

Some time back, I created a feature to Hide “Delete this site” link from Site settings. Lets re-use the same trick to build a feature to hide “Themes” link from site settings page from everyone. Lets gets started.

1. Create New “Empty SharePoint Project” in Visual Studio 2010. Give it a name. Say: Crescent.TeamSite.HideThemes. Make it a Farm Solution.

2. Add a Feature to the project by right-clicking the “Features” node in the Solution Explorer, Add Feature

3. Add a new Module to the Project, by Right-clicking the project Crescent.TeamSite.HideThemes from solution explorer and choose “Add >> New Item”, give it a name. Say: HideThemes

Now the project structure should look like:

4. Update the Elements.xml file inside module we created:

  GroupId = "Customization"
  HideActionId = "Theme"
  Location = "Microsoft.SharePoint.SiteSettings"> 
GroupId = "Galleries"
HideActionId = "Themes"
Location = "Microsoft.SharePoint.SiteSettings">

Element.xml file should look like:

5. Go to the Feature Designer: Right Click “HideThemes” under Features node, choose “View Designer”

6. Provide a name to the feature, as: “Hide Themes in Site Settings”, set the scope as Site, and include the Module we created “Hide Themes Module”

7. Build and deploy the Project

8. Activate the Feature: Go to Site actions >> Site Settings >> Site Collection Features >> Click on Activate next to “Hide Themes in Site Settings”

And the Result: See that the “Themes” link is hidden under Galleries!
Finally, We made the feature hidden, activated for required site collections, and we are done!

Refer MSDN to get Default Custom Action Locations and IDs

Additional Tip: Use IE Developer Toolbox or Firefox FireBug to Get the GroupID and HideActionID values.
get customactionid using IE Developer toolbar, Firebug

Disable Themes for All Sites in a Web Application

To stop users from applying themes at web application level, We can simply disable the web application user permissions “Apply Themes and Borders  –  Apply a theme or borders to the entire Web site.” by going to: Central Administration >> Application Management >>Manage Web Applications >> Select the desired web app >> Click on “User Permissions” from Ribbon

web application user permissions

However, this will disable all users including farm administrators from applying themes and give an error message “Attempted to perform an unauthorized operation.” when they try to apply themes. There is another way to disable themes by editing “SPTHEME.XML” file from 14 hive, which is not recommended!

But the actual requirement is not to disable themes in all site collections of the web application. Now the question is: How to stop users from accessing “Themes” and “Site Themes” links on particular site collection(s)? So we made the feature and activated it wherever required.

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack - Information Technology Expert with Two-decades of hands-on experience, specializing in SharePoint, PowerShell, Microsoft 365, and related products. He has held various positions including SharePoint Architect, Administrator, Developer and consultant, has helped many organizations to implement and optimize SharePoint solutions. Known for his deep technical expertise, He's passionate about sharing the knowledge and insights to help others, through the real-world articles!

One thought on “Hide Links in Site Settings Page with HideCustomAction

  • Great post! Will this work in SharePoint 2019?


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