Turn on high contrast themes in Windows 10

High Contrast Themes in Windows are useful for those computer users who have an eye-sight disability, since they heighten the color contrast of text, windows borders, and images on your screen, to make them more visible and easier to read and identify.

Windows 10/8.1/8 maintain a 14:1 high-contrast ratio between foreground and background. In earlier Windows versions, the high-contrast mode was limited to themes running under Classic themes, which were not visually styled. But in Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and later, the Classic mode has been removed and replaced with visually styled high-contrast themes.

The UI components that get changed in high-contrast themes are:

  1. Window background color
  2. Text color
  3. Hyperlinks color
  4. Disabled text
  5. Selected text foreground and background colors
  6. Active window title foreground and background colors
  7. Inactive window title foreground and background colors
  8. Button foreground and background colors.

High contrast themes in Windows 10

If you wish to temporarily turn on high contrast themes, press Left Alt, Left Shift, and PrtScr keyboard buttons. You will be asked – Do you want to turn on high contrast.

turn on high contrast windows

Click Yes, and your display will be changed to grayscale high contrast one. High Contrast improves the readability of the display by applying a special system color scheme.

To revert display to the normal theme, press Left Alt, Left Shift, and PrtScr again. Your screen will flicker for a moment, and then you will see your regular theme again. This keyboard shortcut allows you to toggle a high-contrast theme on or off.

To activate or deactivate this keyboard shortcut, you can visit Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Ease of Access Center\Make the computer easier to see, to change the settings.

keyboard high contrast

If you wish to permanently use a high contrast theme, right-click on the desktop, select Personalize. Scroll down to see the default high contrast themes.

high contrast themes windows

Select the desired theme and apply it.

If you wish to customize your high contrast theme, you can open Windows 10 Settings > Ease on Access > High Contrast.

High contrast themes in Windows 10


From the drop-down, select the theme format and then customize the colors.

Your computer screen will now display a high contrast theme which will make it a lot easier for you to read the text.

Some application and browsers also have support for the high-contrast mode on Windows. For instance, here is a screenshot of a notification from Chrome, automatically offering to install a high contrast extension and theme, once you switch your Windows to high contrast mode.

contrast themes

There are also several high contrast themes for various applications and software, available as free downloads on the Internet.

If you are visually impaired, you can also change the Windows Cursor Thickness & Blinking Rate to make it more visible. If you wish, you can check out some more Accessibility features in Windows.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

One Comment

  1. D Sandoval

    Just started using High Contrast mode (Windows 8.1) because I finally found out that you CAN change the window title bar font color! Loving the way that I am setting up my window/font/button colors, however, I’m see that it changes the color for EVERYTHING (I’m new to the PC world) so that all the programs/apps I have/use are also affected and some in a bad way. I pretty much changed all my colors to black background with white text and red, dark red buttons. Bringing up my AV window will change it’s color almost the same, background is black but there’s different color text and buttons. Google page (Firefox) has black background, white text but there is blue (bold?) text that stays the same in High Contrast (any setting) or default standard color scheme, BUT in High Contrast the blue text bleeds into the black background and looks fuzzy, also in Firefox browser “new tab” where you are supposed to see pinned sites or frequent sites in multiple windows below the search bar the windows images are empty, just a red outline of the window and the site name/address inside at the bottom of each window.
    Don’t mind the black bg in other apps but all the other things are a real let down. Plus I already use dark add-ons for Firefox. Is there any way to have HC mode in the system UI ONLY but have every other app/program function normally and in their default state?

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