How to change Office (365, 2021, 2019, 2016) apps color theme on Windows (2024)

You can change the appearance of your Office app with a few clicks, and here's how.

Office theme settings
Office theme settings / Image: Mauro Huculak
  • To change the color themes of the Office 365, 2021, 2019, and 2016 apps, open File > Accounts and use the “Office Theme” and “Office Background” settings to customize the experience.

If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription or Office 2021, 2019, or 2016, you can always customize the experience by changing the color theme, and in this guide, I’ll show you how to complete this configuration.

The settings available will depend on the version of the apps and the version of Windows installed on your computer. For instance, by default, if you use the Microsoft 365 apps (formerly Office) on Windows 11, you’ll notice the new modern design with the mica material that shines the system wallpaper colors through the application. However, if you are on Windows 10 with any supported version of the Office apps, you have the legacy design style.

However, regardless of the version of the app, you can change the color theme to make the experience a little more personal. For example, you can choose the dark color scheme or set the style to match the system color mode. Or, on Windows 11, you can bring back the characteristic color of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other apps.

In this guide, I will outline the steps to change the color theme and background of your Office apps on Windows 11 or 10.

Change Office 365, 2021, 2019, and 2016 apps color theme

To change the Office theme on Windows 11 (or 10), use these steps:

  1. Open an Office app like Word.

  2. Click on Accounts from the left pane.

  3. Use the “Office Theme” setting to choose a color theme:

    • Dark Gray: A less intense dark color scheme.
    • Black: Enables the dark mode for all the Office apps. On Windows 11, it also enables the blur and translucent effects that match the operating system’s language design.
    • White: Enables the light mode. On Windows 11, it also enables the blur and translucent effects that match the operating system’s language design.
    • Use system setting: Enables the Black or White theme depending on the color mode of Windows.
    • Colorful: Paints the header with the app’s primary color—for example, blue for Word and green for Excel.

    Office theme and background settings

    Quick note: In Office 2010, the setting is called “Color scheme,” and it’s available from the “General” tab in “Options.” In Office 2013, the “Office Theme” setting is also on the “Accounts” page.
  4. (Optional) Use the “Office Background” setting to add a background texture to the apps.

    Quick note: On Microsoft 365 apps on Windows 11, you will only see these backgrounds in the “File” menu.

Once you complete the steps, the new color scheme will apply to all the Microsoft 365 or Office 2021, 2019, or 2016 apps.

The options to change the theme and background are also available on File > Options > General, under the “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office” section.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].