How to Turn on the Black Theme in Microsoft Office

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Microsoft has rolled out a new theme for Office that's easier on your eyes and also makes buttons and other menu items in the Ribbon stand out. If you thought the Dark Gray theme wasn't dark enough, here's how to enable the higher contrast, Black theme.

office black theme

The Black theme is available now for Office 2016 and Office 365 users. The other Office themes--Colorful, Dark Gray, and Classic White--are still there. 

Change All Office Apps to Black Theme

In the steps below, when you change the theme, it will apply to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook.

1. Open any Office program.

2. Open the File menu in the upper left corner of the window.

office filemenu3. Click Account.

office account

4. Change the dropdown below Office Theme to Black.

office blackImmediately, all Office app windows will switch to the dark theme.

office black excel

MORE: How to Disable the Typing Animation in Office 2016 or Office 2013

Change Only One Program to Black Theme

If you want to change to the Black theme for only one specific program, however, follow these steps:

1. Open the Office program you want to change.

2. Open the File menu in the upper left corner of the window.

3. Click Options.

office options

4. Change the dropdown next to Office Theme to Black.

office options black5. Click OK.

The program you've selected will use the new Black theme.

Add a comment
  • Nick S. Says:

    You now have to subscribe to O365 and pay monthly/yearly, to have the black theme activated.

    The registry modification does work, but isn't persistent. Another DWORD value will re-create itself upon app closure, called "pendingUI". The value would be a number besides "4", which is the Black theme.

  • WalterB Says:

    Say goodbye to Black theme when you install Visio ! :(

  • Blinded by the light theme Says:

    Tried in Office 2013 with no luck. Any suggestions or registry hacks for using a black/dark theme in 2013?

    "Blinded by the white/light-gray/dark-gray stock themes" Thx!

  • drebi Says:

    The registry is usually found typing "regedit.exe" in start menu.

  • N Taylor Says:

    I can't find the registry. No matter what I try to search it says "Window cannot find"...

    Is there a trick to finding the registry on Windows?

  • Bliss Says:

    Thanks Steve, you're a life saver. It worked for me.

  • B Hurd Says:

    I've been looking for the solution to enable the black theme if it isn't listed in the themes. Thanks Steve!!

    For anybody who had the black theme removed, use regedit to set key per Steve's comment:
    Set "UI Theme" value to 4. Located here:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\UI Theme

  • Grateful Jones Says:

    Thanks to you steve, I have black theme back! Awesome.

  • Steve Says:

    FYI: set value to 4
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\UI Theme

  • Zephiroth Says:

    I just got my Office Black theme removed 20 min ago. Can't find it

  • FrankO Says:

    Bring back the black already...

  • Arthur Says:

    What happened? Why they did it?and who knows will they return it back?

  • Naddy Pie Says:

    Once changed my Black theme to other and could not select the black again, got removed. :'( PLEASE HELP

  • Hans12 Says:

    Black has been removed :(

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