The theme was not applied. It may not be a Storyline theme.

Has anyone ever received this message?

I've been working on a new theme for my courses lately, and have created and applied several. This morning, while trying to apply a newly-created one to an existing course, this popped up. I tried re-saving the .story file as a theme, and it did save, but I couldn't apply it to any other files.

After saving the .story file as a theme, I notice that the file needs to be re-saved before closing, indicating that a change has been made to it.

If you know of anything that might be causing this problem, I'd be glad to hear it. Thanks!


11 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Allan,

Sorry to hear that you're experiencing difficulty with your Storyline themes. I have seen this error message before in the forums, and you can see the suggestions from Christine and Peter here that may help you, specifically Christine's about working locally, and Peter's about running a repair of your software. 

Let us know if any of those work, and if not you can always submit a Support case so that we can take a look at your files. 

Allan Dunlop

Thanks, Ashley!

I'm working locally, and not via a network or USB drive. There are other strange things that Storyline is doing lately, so I'll look at uninstalling and reinstalling it (the repair option outlined in the link didn't appear for me when I followed the outlined steps).

I've narrowed down the issue. What was keeping the file from saving as a proper theme were markers in the main layer of a layout. That's unexpected. A hotspot triggering another layer in the layout didn't cause any problems, but the markers (with no additional triggers or other complexities) were the culprits.

For now, I've just recreated that layout as a slide and saved it as a template; this slide needs to be imported about a dozen times in one module. This is far less convenient than having a layout that can be applied, but it'll suffice for now. Perhaps the repair/reinstall of Storyline will solve the problem.

Is the presence of a marker known to prevent a file from being saved as a theme? Also, I'd be very interested to know more about what items can or cannot be included in a slide master layout for a theme file. If anyone can point me in the direction of a tutorial on this, I'd be very grateful.

Thanks again!


Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Allan,

Hmm, if Storyline is generally behaving erratically, there are some additional steps you can follow here.  

The use of markers on a slide master was something fixed in Update 3. Do you know if you have the current version of Storyline installed? You can check by going to Help -> About Articulate Storyline and you'll see the version listed there. 

If you're still having difficulty after following the additional repair steps, and confirming that you're using the current version of Storyline, would you submit a Support case so that we can look into your files a bit more?


Allan Dunlop

Hmmm... Still can’t apply a theme that includes a marker within any layout.

I've done everything outlined in this tutorial re: erratic behavior:

Despite uninstalling Storyline, deleting the registry keys, reinstalling it, ensuring that Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1 is enabled, and uninstalling/reinstalling Flash Player, any marker in a slide master layout keeps me from being able to apply the associated theme to a new or existing project.

Following the steps outlined here didn’t do it:

I’ve deleted all the existing themes, created a new project, added one marker (with no project-specific elements) to a slide master layout, saved the theme, and tried applying it to a new (unaltered) project.This results in the same message: ‘The theme was not applied. It may not be a Storyline theme.’

Articulate’s Jonathan Reque very helpfully tested my file and found that it was corrupted for some reason (there were numerous glitches besides the marker issue). On his recommendation. I rebuilt the template from scratch, and now it’s working fine in all aspects except for the markers.

Does anyone know what might be causing this? Thanks for any insight you can provide.


Allan Dunlop

Thanks again, Ashley.

I'm still not able to get a theme to work if it has a marker in it, but I have been able to work around that, and my themes are now saving and applying fine. Oddly, feedback masters don't make it into the saved theme, so I have to cut & paste them from one file to another.

Also, I now have an issue where some .story files, once saved, won't allow me to preview anything within them or view the player.When I click 'preview'. the 'preparing' screen says "Preparing slide x of y" where x is always one less than the number of slides in a scene. It won't move beyond that. When I click on 'Player' I get this message: "It is strongly recommended that you close any unneeded applications and save your project."

These issues occur even after shutting everything and rebooting. The only was I can recommence editing the project is to create a new one, apply the desired theme, open the desired player, and then import the content from the original file. Making any changes locks it up again, and I have to repeat this process. I've gone through the steps regarding unexpected or erratic behavior in Storyline ( and have searched at length in the forums, to no avail.

Will follow your suggestion and submit a case. Thanks again!