How To Change the Office 2013 Color Theme


Changing the Color Theme in Office 2013 was not possible until the Office 2013 RTM release. Good news is it’s possible and here’s how to do it.

Update: If you are running a newer version of Microsoft 365 (formerly O365), read our article on changing the Office Color Theme. You can also change the color theme on Office for Mac.

Change Microsoft Office Color Theme

Changing the Color Theme in Office 2013, including Outlook 2013, Word, Excel, was not possible until the final RTM release, which is unavailable on Technet and Volume Licenses sites at Microsoft. This has been a very sore subject with the Office 2013 Preview as the default White theme has been quite painful on the eyes. So changing the colors was the first thing I checked on after installing the RTM, and I’m excited to announce it is possible, and here’s how to do it.

Again – This only works with Office 2013 RTM “Release to Manufacturer.” You cannot change the theme colors in the Preview.

Launch Outlook 2013 (or Word or Excel…) and Click File > Options.

office 2013 change color theme - click Fileoffice 2013 change color theme - click options

On the General Tab, click the down arrow under Office Theme to choose a new Office Color. White, Light Gray, and Dark Gray are the available options.

office 2013 change color theme - click color

Once you choose a new Color Theme, it will take effect in all Office apps including Outlook 2013, Word 2013, Excel 2013, etc. Here’re a few screenshots of the new look.

Click to Enlarge:

office 2013 change color theme - white theme office 2013 change color theme - light gray themeoffice 2013 change color theme - dark gray theme

My favorite is the Light Gray; however, I was also getting quite used to the White Color Theme. Microsoft is apparently trying to maintain a particular look here because the colors are relatively limited vs. Office 2010.



  1. Austin Krause

    Thank goodness, the default white is terrible! The light grey is much better, but I prefer the dark grey myself.

    • Steve Krause

      Agreed. Funny they left this out of the preview. Glad it’s back.

      Btw — dark gray??? Yuck!!! :)

      • CS

        The dark grey isn’t the least bit “dark” so I don’t understand the “yuck” part. What we have here is White, Light Grey, and Grey. I would prefer the dark grey to be dark. I also don’t understand why Microsoft is trying to make its schemes flat, mimicking the bland new look of Apple operating systems. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I’m sure Apple is pleased to be imitated.

        • Jan

          How nice that Apple may be pleased! (I presume you are being sarcastic, too.) And too bad if the people who have to use this horrible, hard-on-the-eyes, lifeless version of Word are NOT pleased. Right, Microsoft?

          • Jennifer

            Agreed! It is very hard on the eyes! They NEED to have a darker option

        • Cam

          I could not see when it’s in white. Dark Grey help

      • CS

        Maybe you were being facetious in your yuckage ;) Anyway, the first thing I did when our office received this downgrade (I mean “upgrade”) was to change the color. I was saying “yuck” myself when I saw the so-called options. The next thing I did was double-click on the Home tab so that function icons didn’t keep disappearing on me. A few more tweaks and I was happier with this version, except that it remains lifeless and flat and its heart lacks color and spice. At least you can add some real colors to the calendar.

      • Jaco

        Hey guess what – Windows 10 is coming at the end of this year.
        They are just going to the colour back and sell it as a new release.

        BETTER THAN EVER !!!

        I can’t wait !
        Yah right.
        (being 100% sarcastic)

      • John

        Just purchased Office 2016 as an upgrade to 2007. Wish I read this before purchasing it. I totally agree with the comments on the color scheme and the crappy squared off look without any type of bordering around transitions, it truly sucks. I think I know why Microsoft released it this way – they know that it will cause most of their customers to purchase their next upgrades that will slowly improve the looks of the interface. After about three or four upgrades, say about 2020 and beyond, the appearance will be back to the older 2010 and earlier versions. The problem is, I think they went too far this time. I am so pissed that I now dislike them very much. Why? Because it truly appears to be intentional.

        • Jan

          John: My hatred of what Microsoft is doing with Office had not yet led me to the thought that they might deliberately be making it horrible (particularly Word, which is what I mainly have to deal with — and sometimes Excel) merely to be able to sell upgrade after upgrade to those of us who can’t stand it. But now you have put that thought into my mind.
          Well, unless the premature demise of my present hard drive or some other calamity forces me to go to Windows 10 before 2020, I will be sticking with Office 2010 and my poor husband will be stuck with Word from Office 2013, and NOT buying upgrade after upgrade. (Oh, how I hope someone at Microsoft reads the comments on this thread!) And (smile), I hope if the scenario that you envisage comes to pass, Word 2020 really will turn out to be much like Word 2010.!

          • Bonnie in Seattle

            There’s more steps to do anything with Office 2010. And I really don’t know why MS got rid of the BEST-EVER simple and quick Picture Manager! I’m not upgrading my home version. I had to at work.

    • Gary S. Norton

      Hey, one of you geeks. It would be great if you could locate the registry location and change the code to blue.

  2. Sjan

    Where do you get the RTM? I have Preview

  3. Funbit

    Thanks, you made my day

  4. Tommy P. Orndorf III

    Theme choices are a complete joke, white, grey, dark grey. Really? Horrible. Im using it in dark grey mode mainly because I must, my clients will be using this soon so I have to know the in’s and out’s but i really hope Msoft gives more color options, this is awful…

  5. VitaminRuckus

    Wow! Three options (which is still a 200% improvement over the original)is pretty disappointing. If we were still using Comodore 64’s this would be acceptable. LIke Tommy, I’m going to have to roll this out to my client base. I wish Microsoft would simply realize, when they make these kinds of changes, the IT Support staffs get blamed for their decisions.

    Kudos to the GroovyPost team for this fix.

    • Centurion

      Don’t trash talk my Commodore 64. It has way more colors than 2.

  6. Anon

    White, Grey Dark Grey, its still to white

    Include the option for any color the customer can use for Office themes.

  7. TuffGuy

    Yeah this colour thing is total rubbish. As too is the whole flat 2 dimensional retro monocolour look of both office 2013 and windows 8. I know I said goodbye to this crap back in the mid nineties when windows 3.1.1 disappeared. Did not like it then and don’t like it now. And to put up this rubbish AND remove all customising choices just sucks. No, white, light and dark grey are not choices, even when it is only a small part of the screen area.

  8. Wilma The Fierce

    Wow. I agree. Three options. At least it’s better than the black/white color choices for cars in the olden days. Come on, I am very visually oriented and I like soothing backgrounds. I want the colors options back.

  9. Wilma The Fierce

    BTW, thanks for posting the path to make the change. You are not the one making the color choices so my distain is not for you ;-) I found another post which takes you through FILE –> Office Account…. either works.

  10. Sean S

    Wow, they gave us the option of white, mostly white and slightly less white.

    Nevertheless, thanks for posting.

    • Steve Krause

      Exactly! What more could the users want?

  11. TuffGuy

    In addition to my previous comment I am also colourblind (red/green they say) and I find the all-white look very straining on the eyes. Something Microsoft in their wisdom have given zero thought about. Personally I have found a light green (to me anyway) causes less strain and is much easier to look at for long periods.
    Since I am also seriously avoiding that other piece of crap software they call Windows 8 does anyone know if this has also become a Windows issue too?

    • Steve Krause

      Windows 8 actually gives you more options so no, however the new “color” standards are set throughout Office 2013 including LYNC.

      They need to give back the options from 2010 I think.

      • Chuck

        I’m really curious how Msoft can make such poor choices – shades of white? The color theme for Office 2010 were real good. This is just flat and totally unattractive. So bad that I’ll go back to Office 2010.

        Thank you for your comments here. The dark grey works better, but still crummy.

  12. Steve F

    What’s the problem, they’ve done away with 3d, removed colours, and made a new UI that doesn’t have windows, removed visible borders from popup windows, made text dark white on white, taken away configuration options, removed menus, forced us to use the shell to do anything useful.

    So finally we don’t have to worry about anti-trust as any version of any OS is going to be competitive by comparison. My 16yo daughter blew away Windows 8 and loaded Ubuntu last weekend.


  13. Confucious

    Confucious says: “Mother nature gives is the wind and changing of the seasons which acts to cleanse the trees and foliage of the year, removing the colors of fall, and allowing the plants and animals to sleep for the winter. In the spring, the plants regain their color and the animals awake with a new”
    Roughly translated: “This new version blows, the lack of color is mind-numbingly boring, severely reduces my productivity, and… I’m going back to 2010!”

  14. Safety Don


    Like always Microsoft has SCREWED UP again BIG TIME. Why can’t Microsoft just leave things alone? Please will someone tell them to STOP! (FYI: If it’s not broke don’t fix it). I use Microsoft 2010 at the office, in fact our entire network world wide does. Ok, so I come home and install MS-Office 365 2013 –Hello! It SUCKS just like windows 8 sucks. Windows XP was the Cadillac of all programs until Windows 7 came out. Windows 7 was nice and pretty cool.

    This weekend past, I bought a new PC and MS-Office 365. MISTAKE on two counts. Microsoft Office offers only three color choices, Crappy white, Dull Gray or Drk gray. In the “To-Do-Bar” it no longer gives you all of your appointments, it Only shows appointments for today, not even tomorrows will show up. 100% USELESS to me. As if this is not enough to tick you off, even the setup is all wrong, if you insert a photo directly into your email test …Sorry –Microsoft has removed Sharpen.

    There is not enough space here for me to continue with my warnings and issues about this program, it looks and feels cheap !!! It’s not professional at all like MS-Office 2007 or 2010. I’m going back like many of you here have stated. More money out of pocket but so be it to get what I want. Now if I could just downgrade form Windows 8 back to 7 this easy.

    • Jan

      I couldn’t agree more. Why “fix’ things people are used to and happy with? Would it have hurt them to allow more color choices? White, grey, and darker grey are soul-numbing to me, and for my husband, whose eyesight is very poor, scrolling is painful, even with the dark grey scheme.

      Allow me to yell a bit here, in the hopes that someone from Microsoft will notice it:

      AND, as you point out, Word 2013 looks and feels cheap. It’s as if MS were trying to make us think they have improved things, when they actually have put very little work into it. We are translators and have to have two computers for our work. I never dreamed that Microsoft would have made the new version of Word this awful. There should be warnings on the package! Unfortunately, we can’t afford to take the obvious solution and buy another copy of Word 2010 so that we would both have the same version.

      I also fail to see what advantage there is in making the scroll bars practically invisible until you hover over them. It is tiring to have your work surrounded by a barren plain of white with a few pale thin lines of black that you can hardly see!

      As it is now, we hate Word 2013. The only thing I have found to like about it is the fact that in Track Changes mode, you can click on the lines to the left to toggle between showing markup or not. That sure beats having to go to “Show Markup” and then clicking “Insertions and Deletions” over and over, when we are editing something.

      – from another Windows 8 hater

      (We even bought a new PC last month with Win 7 on it to replace my husband’s old one running XP.) Unlike Word 2013, there’s plenty of color in Win 8, but not the colors I like, and I would miss being able to set the desktop background as a slide show of my favorite photos. The tiles and colors are, of course, not all that I dislike about it, and we intend to hang onto Win 7 until Windows 9 comes out or longer. In case Win 9 is too much like Win 8, I am already looking into switching to some form of Linux, even if it means losing some of our favorite old programs. May experiment with Ubuntu on an old PC we have kicking around…)

  15. Paulo RDF

    Que porcaria, Branco, Preto e Cinza ! Que funéreo, será que não há nada melhor ???
    Alguma coisa no Office 15 também não agradaram. A MS parece que anda para trás !

  16. tahrey

    I think it leaves us with one question to present to the company:

    Why does your latest software feel less powerful, less flexible, less sophisticated, harder to use, and leave me as a user feeling less empowered than Word 6 et al did on a crummy old 386SX (then 486SX, then DX2) twenty-ish years ago? Two decades is a long time to have been making essentially the same set of programs (WP, SS, DB, DTP, Email and various project planners and also-ran graphics packages) with minor changes to their actual core usefulness, and – since the latter third of that period – gradually more ruinous changes to the UI.

    Are you so mired in a rut of inability to actually improve its workplace usefulness vs the days of Windows 3.1, and therefore feel so threatened in your ability to continue shifting units and continue as a business (as people find they have no “real” reason to upgrade once they’ve bought a copy) that your only weapons are to regularly change the document formats to ones that become gradually less compatible with older versions of the program, to mess about with the interface (uglifying it and stealing away familiar structures, powerful if deeply-nested commands, and acres of ever-more-precious vertical on-screen real estate in the dubious name of “streamlining” even though the result seems the exact opposite, making the UI clunky and “in your face”), and to gradually transition over to a subscription and cloud based (and therefore ultimately very friable) infrastructure to keep the money rolling in?

    I still have a 486SX in my lounge, for retro gaming. It has Word 6 on its hard disk, and Win3.1… with a bit of coaxing, it will do 1024×768 mode in 16 colours, with some side borders, through my 1366×768 TV. For all practical intents and purposes, this makes it at least – if not more – usable for the actual business of word processing documents than an otherwise bleeding-edge laptop with a WXGA screen. It’s got more usable vertical pixels. Horizontally, it doesn’t have subpixel rendering, but that’s not SO massive a loss. The 8.3 filenames can be a pain, as can be converting the files back and forth, but, hey, we’ll always have RTF, right? And Wordpad still groks .DOC quite nicely, even if the kerning goes a bit strange.

    Just gotta figure out how to hook up a wireless keyboard to it and we can let the good times roll.

    And get this – I can still set the colour scheme to WHATEVER I DAMN WELL PLEASE. Win 3.1, in 16 colours, still had a bunch of perfectly good High Contrast choices (AND a Large Fonts option with most video drivers), plus some more subtle ones that were quite pleasing to the 20/20 trichromat (and of course, the option to make your own), and all of the programs followed it, rather than being allowed to carve their own crazy path like Office (despite it coming from the same company!), Chrome, Quicktime et al.

    • Alix

      What we have here is the result of a monopoly in the PC software business. Just imagine what we’d have, and the cost, if Apple were not around. I know, I know, Google and Oracle offer “office” products, but they are not the same.

      When we had competition in the 1990s from dBase, Harvard Graphics, Word Perfect, Lotus 1-2-3, Lotus Symphony, ect, Microsoft had reason to strive to be better – it’s called free market competition. Now, not so much.

      Now it looks like “Mister Softee” is trying to look more and more like Apple.

      • tahrey

        Pretty much, yeah … and I can’t say I’m particularly enamoured of the OSX interface or concept. Moving from MacOS-aping GEM to Win95 (by way of 3.1) was one part familiar, one part much improved. The permanent menu bar across the top belongs to the single-tasking days. The window elements themselves are horrendously naff and unintuitive. No proper full-screening. The less said about the keyboard shortcuts and drive access structure the better. No real touch control unless you’re using an iOS device. Etc. Microsoft could do well to work in exactly the OPPOSITE direction to Mac, keep carving their own niche for those who appreciate the more practical-focussed way their products work (or at least, used to). I don’t want my computer to be a toy, I need to it to be a useful tool. Apple themselves recognised this – hence the old adverts with the businessman and the slacker… they didn’t try to copy MS, so why are MS trying to copy them?

        I am also seriously considering a jump to Open Office, if MSO’13 is as horrid as the previews seem and we end up getting forced to upgrade at work…

        Also, what’s it like for bulleting, paragraph spacing etc? Does it still do all sorts of annoying automatic formatting stuff, generally getting it 100% wrong (as in not just a slight misinterpretation, but the polar opposite to what you actually wanted to do, and would have done quite easily in a previous generation, and now have to waste time trying to fix the terrible-looking mess it’s forced upon you, turning the work of a 2-decades-experienced MSO typist into something that looks like it was made by a 6-year-old) ?? … and for the love of God have they worked out how to make Page Breaks work properly yet?! I mean, it’s only been maybe ten years since they started going wrong, I know that’s not a lot of time to fix a small but very troublesome piece of misbehaviour that can seriously wreck the pagination and formatting of an important document…

    • Tamara

      Empowerment! That’s it. We should feel good about our newest upgrade, we should feel like … Wow, it was great before and now look at all these extra options and features I get to work with now!

      Updating to a new computer and operating system should not be having to go back to school.

      If it has extra bells and whistles that’s great, but I want to open up my computer and get working immediately. Just give me a video to show me what is new and exciting and I’ll start experimenting the new features when I get around to it.

      If I’m going to be forced to relearn everything then I might as well go to a whole new operating system.

      • Steve Krause

        Hi Tamara — thnx for the comment. Yeah, the new Office 2013 has a few learning curves however it’s honestly not as bad as going from 2003 to 2007. At least now you’re used to the new Ribbon. That being said, we’ve been publishing Office 2013 tips for a few years now. Hope a few of them help:

  17. Paulo RDF

    Its all bad color ( ligth gray and dark gray are colors ??? ).
    Life is gray, life is color !!!

  18. Paulo RDF

    Its all bad color ( ligth gray and dark gray are colors ??? ).
    Life is gray ???, life is color !!!

  19. ksenija gburcik

    Why don´t you add red colour??? I need to correct a text and to write everything in red. Got sick of having to click the A button every 10 seconds – as soon as start a new line. :( Thx, anyway.

  20. Chris

    Only managed to glance at the intense white background in word before I felt the need to squint, my eyes and the eyes of many people thank you sincerely, long live dark gray!

  21. Scott Weible

    MicroSoft has, once again, proven that it is the World’s Best at screwing their ‘loyal’ customers.

    Whomever was the unmitigated idiot who approved these limited, nearly impossible to read, color schemes should be fired, and never allowed to work again.

    Idiots. Idiots. Idiots

  22. Frank

    Wow, this really sucks if this is the best they are willing to offer.

    I will switch to open office!

  23. rcj

    I wanted the change the background of the TYPING AREA on Word 2013. I’m a transcriptionist, and looking at that glaring, white screen all day is murder on the eyes. Even in the “old days” I could change Word’s background screen color.

    Word sucks anyway. Always had. Much preferred WordPerfect in my law office days.

  24. Graham

    Got Office 2013 for £7 on Microsoft’s HUP. My God, it’s like all the colour has been sucked out of my life. I may as well have paid someone £7 to depress me for a thrill. It’s grey and raining outside, now it’s grey and more grey on my monitor. Or blinding white. Or maybe you’d prefer the kindly provided alternative option of searing white with a touch of leaden sky. All nicely set off with SCREAMING MENU OPTIONS. All a bit schizophrenic because the Soviet brutalist design is strangely complemented by stupid bunny rabbit cursor animations which make you want to kill yourself after a few minutes. I loaded up Office 2010/2007 instead. It’s lovely and welcoming in comparison and makes me want to actually stay in there and do productive work as opposed to reaching for the painkillers.

  25. Anonymas

    Not ‘white’, ‘light gray’ or ‘dark gray’, more like ‘white’, ‘a little greyish’, and ‘a little more gray than the other one’. Thanks for trying Microsoft.

  26. Lizavetta

    Boring topic … I want something brighter .. blue, pink, green … where it all go???

  27. Catherine

    I dutifully read all comments above and agree with every one of them. Frustrations to the 10th degree. Does Microsoft pay any attention to these comments? The only solution is to boycott Microsoft. Change will come only if the company feels the pinch.

  28. Turk

    How bright the dark grey is …. Hahaha … It Sucks !

  29. Ben Turpin

    I can’t believe people are calling the grey-scale theme in Office a color. There is no color. The cost of grey and color are equal in hydro cost. But unequal to productivity and strain. I will return to the older Office.

    • Steve Krause

      I agree. The colors are very very bad…. Microsoft needs to give us more options.

    • Jan

      We would return to the older office, too, but we can’t afford to buy a new copy of 2010 and just throw the software for 2013 away, when Microsoft has now arranged things so that when we buy a copy of Word, we can only use it on one computer. Presumably if that computer dies, we will be forced to buy a new copy of the software for a new computer, even if we have only used it on the old one for a few months, and of course, we can no longer sell the now useless (to us) software to anyone else, either. So as it is, my PC is running Word 2010, which I like, and my husband’s is running the detestable Word 2013. We also have OpenOffice on both computers and like it, but there are times when we have to use Word, and how we hate 2013!

  30. Sassy Lou

    F U C K Microshit. The DARK gray isn’t even beyond the 50% mark. Where is BLACK????

    AND what is with the FLAT look??? It’s called creates DEPTH. I want buttons to look like friggin buttons!!!

  31. Mete Tek

    I have got the solution: Uninstalled Office 2013, reinstalled 2010. There is no obvious functionality gap between them. And my eyes are in peace now.

    Congratulations Microsoft.

  32. Justin

    I have an old injury to one of my eyes where the pupil stays dilated by an extra 1mm, so I need to set many of my backgrounds to black. Now I have to use Office 2013 in my corporate environment. I guess I’ll need to work with the ergonomics/IT folks to set me up with a private copy of 2013. This is very frustrating for me.

  33. Justin

    … I mean a private copy of 2010

  34. Pat

    I am now using Win 7 and 8 on different machines with Office, and I often have many windows open. Inactive windows have a bland grey border, and I am constantly selecting the wrong window because they all look the same. Switching to a darker grey for Office helps, but honestly I would prefer borders be fully customizable for each program, including different shades or even colours when they are not in the foreground.

    I also work with Intuit QuickBooks, and they even allow different border colours for different data files – very handy when you are juggling more than one file for the same program!

  35. GasMan

    How can I have a different color for Word, Excel, and PPT? When they are all open, it is difficult to tell one app from the other because they all blend in together since they all have the same background theme… very disappointed in Microsoft’s styling of 2013 :(

    • Kelli Jameson

      And, not only do they all look the same, but you can not tell which is active. Before, I would always set my Active window to have white lettering and Inactive to have black, but now there is no difference.
      I also do not like the fact of no separation from the window line and the menu bar at the top. Sometimes, I go to move the window, but I did not click high enough.

  36. Jes

    I hope Microsoft start working on 50 more shades of grey, I’d really enjoy a medium grey slate with a silver gradient next.

    Or they could make it look good again. This version of Outlook 2013 is complete garbage.

  37. Jan

    Ha, ha, Jes. Love that comment! Please ask them for “dove grey.” “‘grey day’ grey,” “‘Old Grey Mare’ grey” (You young people: That’s a song reference.), and “‘get rid of that grey hair’ grey” too. Obviously they have no consultants to tell them how colors can affect people, so they have ended up causing mild depression in a lot of people who can’t afford to get rid of Windows 2013 for a better version, which includes my family.

  38. Carl

    For some reason, my color scheme reverse to white every time I launch Outlook.
    Is there a fix for that?

  39. Jaco

    Yes, in fact there are 2 fixes.
    The one is called Office 2013. The other one is called Linux where you get more than a word processor. You get a whole operating system also.

    Seriously, I believe in the freedom of information. I also believe in paying for services rendered. This means that I will not pay for something all of us own. It also means that if you put in effort to make something of that which all of us own, then I will gladly reward you for your efforts. SO, this shit thing about the missing colour Microsoft decided to do with their product does not have me appreciate the lack of effort, in fact it caused me the inverse – it frustrated the hell out of me. 2 months later a techie at work popped up from nowhere one day and told me they are reverting back to the old Outlook, since too many complaints and loss of income due to people complaining about this. He reverted after I hesitated and an hour later I could see in color again. The next day I realized that I lost all my emails between april 2013 and july 2014. I am still debliksim in, because I work from email history.

    I for one HATE Microsoft, just because they along with the elite causes billions of people slavery lifestyle. This is not just about colour, but the colour represent a far deeper shade of black we are moving in as a civilization.

  40. Jaco

    Previous post I did said 2013 – sorry I meant 2010.

  41. Anon

    Yuppp… None of the theme colour in office 2013 is good…! and the default white just sucks..!

    • Steve Krause

      Yeah, white is rough however I do have to say — you get used to it…

  42. Curtis Powers

    Well Steve, you go ahead and get used to this MS crap. I personally am grateful to all the P2P sites that allow one to review new software before buying a valid license. I’ll be using 2007 until something really better comes along. All the comments on Office 2013 are right on, took me less than 30 minutes into the program to decide that I wanted no part of it. I hope MS will learn someday that they don’t HAVE to change a workable program, but I doubt it. They’ve lost touch with reality and only think in terms of $$$$

    • Jan

      Thinking in terms of $$$ may eventually lead them (a lot of us are hoping) to go back to putting real color (to my mind, white, grey and darker grey hardly qualify) into Office. When possible, I prefer to use the free Apache Open Office.

  43. Isaac Levendel

    Of course, I like nice colors, but for me, the color is not the essential issue. The essential issue is readability. I want enough contrasts so that I do not have to constantly change the screen orientation to find out where to put the cursor in order to do the simplest thing. This is complicated if you have another window open and overlapping. I am sure that no executive who has any decision power has tried the product before it is released.
    They forgot that we buy tools to use them in our work.

    • Jan

      Right on, Isaac! I agree with everything you say. II hate having to find out where to put the cursor. What possible benefit is there in making things invisible or hard to see? The thinking that must lie behind that innovation seems to me to resemble the thinking of a pretentious author. There is something false about it.

      These statements you made are true, too:
      “I am sure that no executive who has any decision power has tried the product before it is released.
      They forgot that we buy tools to use them in our work.”

  44. Debbie

    Have you upgraded to Windows 10? Since I did earlier today, my preferred light gray became a horrible shade of green. Still says light gray but it’s green.

  45. Jan

    I have no intention of upgrading to Windows 10. When support ended for XP, I bought a new Dell with Windows 7, which was still available, and my husband also has Windows. If our computers last that long, we fully intend to keep them until 2020. When support ends for Windows 7, then I suppose we will buy Windows 10, which will hopefully have been getting better and better in the meantime.

    I admit that 10 sounds much better that 8 did, but I still love being able to make my desktop a slideshow of all my favorite photos, and in any event, I very much dislike the Windows 8/10 desktop that forces you to use all those jewel colored rectangles. Fine for people who don’t care, but I do! Anyone know if Macintosh lets you run a slideshow as the background on the desktop? Probably not, huh? Sigh…

    • Debbie

      After dealing with Windows 8, I was nervous about switching to 10, but I like it much better. You might be surprised. However, I understand your hesitation.

    • Jan

      Sorry, meant to write, “My husband also has Windows 7.

  46. Kevin

    Just migrated from Office 2010 to 2013 yesterday…. headache from the bright white screen but I toughed it out. This morning I adjusted the brightness on my monitors way down and especially the contrast. This Office version does not seem to have been vetted with enough of the user population. Otherwise, this issue would have surfaced. I have to strain to follow my cursor from app to app and across monitors. I’m afraid this impedes my productivity instead of improving it.

    I started computing in the early 80’s and the driving force then was exploration, creativity, freedom and choice. This software makes me feel like I’m being herded into a corral where I’m expected to be like everyone else and like what they think I should like. I don’t want to work in a stodgy, drab sterile office environment and this makes me feel like that.

    Talk about squelching creative juice! HELP ME!

    • Jan

      My PC is running Office 2010, and I am sticking to it! We had to buy a new copy of Office for my husband’s computer and I made the mistake of getting Office 2013, rather than 2010. Had no idea that Office 2013 would be so awful and also so hard on my husband’s not-very-good eyes. Those hardly visible lines, the disappearing scroll, the pale lettering! And personally, as I have grumbled here more than once, the soul-chilling color scheme (or lack thereof)! This is driving us to use Open Office when we can. At least the lines between sections are clearly marked. It isn’t beautiful or cheerful, but it doesn’t cause eyestrain.

  47. Jan

    Forgot to ask, Kevin–why did you switch from Office 2010 to 2013? As with Windows 8 and 8.1, which we skipped and stuck to Win.7, and now Windows 10 promises to be better than any version of 8, we are hoping that by the time we again have to buy a version of Office, it will have become truly colorful and easier on the eye. Meanwhile, “stodgy, drab, and sterile” are indeed the words for 2013!

  48. Steve

    How can I change the selected cell color or border width? I am colorblind and cannot see the red selected cell vs. the black border of all the rest of the cells. It looks almost the same to me. Nothing in the theme colors seems to change the selected cell color.

    • Bonnie in Seattle

      I agree with your Steve. I’m not color blind, but I’m an ADA coordinator and the contrast in text and borders is TERRIBLE. I hate the blue unread Outlook messages vs having them in bold black. The text for the mailboxes appears to be dark grey instead of black. In reply to your qusetion about borer width, try changing it in Windows: Start, Control Panel, Personalization. At the bottom look for Window Color (we have Win 7 Basic at work still). You have to select each line from the “Item” pull down menu for changing. The color changes from this menu, however, don’t seem to work if you have Office 2013. But, maybe the “Border Padding” will work for widening the scroll bar. Also select “Scroll Bar.”

  49. PS

    Since when is choice between white, light gray and gray actually choosing a color? it’s all plain, boring, terrible to work with, step back into the days of monochrome monitors! Please change it, how difficult can it be to add a bit of color to the world?!

    • Jan

      “Since when is choice between white, light gray and gray actually choosing a color? it’s all plain, boring, terrible to work with, step back into the days of monochrome monitors!”

      Exactly! Has there been any sign that anyone at MS is listening? Still hoping…

  50. Jorge

    Wow. I’m realliy digging the “less eye-burning white” theme. Thanks Microsoft!

  51. Rickr

    The reason I want to switch to Excel 2013 from 2010.
    Excel 2010 does not allow you to copy formulas from a single instance of Excel to another.
    Excel 2013 does allow you to copy formulas but the 3 themes Microsoft has in Office 2013 are awful.

    I like running single instances of Excel on two monitors.

  52. BlindBat

    We’re supposed to get excited because there are now THREE themes? I would rate them as three different versions calculated to sear your eyeballs. Computer Vision Syndrome has become a severe public health problem, and Microsoft products are a huge cause of the problem. There is no excuse for the terrible design of MS Word. This is an industry that needs federal regulation to curtail loss of vision. People in their 20s are now being diagnosed with macular degeneration. Each version of Word is more complicated, less intuitive, more laborious, and harder on the eyes than the previous version. Word 2002 was simple, quick to learn and quick to use, and you could customize the colors using a high-contrast theme. As of 2013, the high-contrast themes look terrible. As soon as Libre Office fixes a couple of lingering problems I’m gone from Word forever.

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