How to switch to White, Gray, Colorful or Black theme in Microsoft Office 2016

I have been a long time Office user and find the software to be of great use to me. Some people started complaining that though the newly added start pages for Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other applications in Office helped them get to recent documents and new templates immediately upon launch, it had too high a contrast color.

Many found it as a challenge to even sit in front of the bright background of Office 2016/2013 and use it for a few hours. However, after receiving users’ feedback about the white UI in Office, Microsoft decided to introduce two new themes or color schemes in Office: White, Gray, Colorful and Black. Microsoft Office offers the first three only, whereas Office 365 offers the Dark theme as well.

The option offers users a way to work comfortably with the Office applications as it provided some optional skins. In this post, we see how to apply these new themes by following simple steps highlighted below.

Change Office theme

Open any Office program (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and click on the ‘File’ menu residing in the Ribbon. Next, choose the ‘Accounts’ tab from the left-side bar.

On being directed to the account settings page, change the current default theme to the desired theme of your choice. As shown in the screen-shot below you may find the following three optional skins:

  1. White
  2. Dark Gray
  3. Colorful.

In Office 365, you will see a fourth option – Black.

Simply, select the one you would like to use from the drop-down box, and it will be instantly applied.

Alternatively, you can choose ‘Options‘ from the left side-bar and under General tab, choose the desired theme from the drop-down menu.

White, Gray, Colorful or Black themes in Microsoft Office 2016

Hope this helps in making working with Office easier on the eyes for you.

Posted by on , in Category Office with Tags
The author Hemant Saxena is a post-graduate in bio-technology and has an immense interest in following Windows, Office and other technology developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software, and being careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware is recommended.


  1. In Officer 2013 that doesn’t exist for me. Only things like gears and calligraphy…

  2. Saxenahem2507

    Is it the preview version? You do not see it in the preview version.

  3. Kevin Vesga

    It would have been nice to see screenshots of the different themes. At least for those users who do not have access to Office 2013.

  4. Jane Wilson

    I change the theme to dark gray. I log out. I log in again. Has gone back to white. What do I have to do to get it to retain dark gray so I don’t have to change it 30 times a day? I’ve had this software for 24 hours and it is already a mistake…..

  5. mike

    it will only change on one monitor – not both..
    the grey option really does very little to show the area on the doc that gets highlighted. a poor fix by microsoft.

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