How to Change Your Office 2016 Theme

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Office 2016 Themes

If you spend a lot of time in Microsoft Office, you might want customize how the programs look so they're easier on your eyes and feel more personal. Here's how to quickly change the Office 2016 theme and header background.

To tweak the look and feel of Office 2016:

1. Open any Office program.

2. Navigate to the File menu by clicking File in the upper left corner of the screen.




3. Click Account. There you'll find drop-down boxes for changing the Office background (the image in the title bar and tab bar) and the Office theme.

office theme

4. Choose an Office background and / or theme. 

select background or theme

If you have other computers with Office 2016 connected to your Microsoft account, they'll also use the theme you pick. If you want to change the theme only for one computer, however, go to File > Options in any Office program and change the theme under General > Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office.


Office 2016 Themes

Office 2016 comes with three themes to choose from: a default Colorful theme, a high-contrast dark gray theme, and a classic white theme. Once you change the drop-down selection the color changes are applied immediately across all Office programs.

The Colorful theme makes it easy to tell which program you're working in, since Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and other apps get their own bright colors.

Colorful theme

Change the drop-down selection to Dark Gray for more high-contrast visuals. It might take some getting used to, but the dark theme could cause less eyestrain.

dark gray

If you prefer a lighter look with more white space, change the drop-down selection to White. (It's not really a stark white, but more of a very, very light gray. You'll still see some colored accents in the programs to highlight important features.)

white theme



Office 2016 Backgrounds

In addition to choosing a different theme, you can further tweak the look of Office using the Office Background drop-down, also under File > Account.

Microsoft gives you various shape options that will appear in the title bar and tab bar.

Theme background

Though these are small, subtle ways you can customize the user interface, they're easy methods to freshen the look of Office 2016.

Add a comment
  • Namit Gupta Says:

    This is just so stupid of MS to not allow more color options. Current themes are not adjustable to my eyes and I feel pain. Even MS 2010 themes are better than this. this is such a shame.

  • Mike L Says:

    I see no difference in the backgrounds of the white and "colourful" - they are equally pale and washed out.
    Of course MS have decreed what we like - and even if we don't like it, we are not allowed to change it, because that is what they have decided we will like.
    Given enough time, people will give up and stop complaining, thus MS will say "you see - no-one is complaining, therefore they like it."

  • Wayne Erfling Says:

    Please change the title of this article. It is NOT about changing colors; it is about SELECTING or CHOOSING colors. In effect, it creates a false match for those of us who need to CHANGE the colors.

    Office 2010 honored the "Windows Metrics" / "Control Panel" colors, where my work area background color is NOT white.

    I find full white unpleasant to use and have NEVER (and I go back to Windows/386) set white as my work area background color.

    Given that MS doesn't honor the Windows Control Panel any more a second choice would be if there were an "Office Theme Developer Kit".

    But the MS developers "think they know everything" and user control is un-thinkable.

    I use MS products because they have a monopoly.

  • AddMoreColors Says:

    Black, white, colorful(blue), and Dark Grey does not fit the bill for my customization needs. It's 2017! Every prominent program nowadays has more UI customization than this barren list.

    Don't include a "colorful" choice until I can choose a variety of colors. I want a red option. I want a blue option. I want a purple option, gold, green, yellow. I want to choose how I look at emails every single day. Please give an RGB picker in the next version of Outlook.

    K, thanks.

  • yougetta Says:

    I'm just too distracted to even begin typing my paper, first I have to change my theme for word! So many options!

  • oden422 Says:

    While the options to change the Office Theme is nice, I cannot understand why they made changes to the folders.
    The folder font is now in lowercase font, the pst folders are spaced out too much, the decrease of the indicators on the left of each pst folder so small and hard to determine which folder is expanded they are hardly visible.
    While I am not opposed to changes, why change any of these items at all?

  • William Gruff Says:

    Office 2016 is giving me eye cancer.

  • Justin Leader Says:

    This is a great product that has many new features. This integration of a new UI allows for a better quality experience for anyone using the new software. Different users demand different things, but the most ask for customizability, which can be offered through the use of themes.

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