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Is there a way to change Outlook color theme?

Microsoft Outlook is one of the most popular email clients used by millions of people worldwide. It comes bundled with Microsoft Office suite and provides a smooth emailing experience. Outlook offers several customization options to let you personalize your email client. One such customization is the ability to change the color theme in Outlook.

The default Outlook color theme is blue. If you wish, you can change it to another color theme based on your preference. Changing the Outlook color theme allows you to give a fresh look to your Outlook interface. It can also help reduce eye strain if you spend a lot of time on Outlook daily.

Why would you want to change the Outlook color theme?

Here are some common reasons why you may want to change the default blue color theme in Outlook:

  • The default blue color scheme feels boring – Changing to another color theme gives your Outlook a vibrant look.
  • Blue light causes eye strain – Using a warmer color theme like green, yellow, or brown can reduce eye strain.
  • To differentiate between different Outlook accounts – Changing color themes for each Outlook account helps distinguish them easily.
  • Make Outlook visually appealing – Coordinating Outlook’s color theme with your organization’s branding colors looks more professional.
  • Personal preference – Some users simply prefer Outlook interfaces with brighter or darker color themes.

How to change the Outlook color theme

Outlook makes it easy to change its default color theme. Here are the steps to change the Outlook color theme on Windows:

  1. Open Outlook on your computer.
  2. Click on the File tab from the ribbon at the top.
  3. Select Office Account from the left pane.
  4. Click on Office Theme from the right pane.
  5. You will now see a list of different color themes for Outlook. Click on the theme you want to apply.
  6. The preview pane on the right shows how Outlook will look with the selected theme. Click Apply to apply the chosen color theme.
  7. Outlook will now change its color scheme to reflect the selected theme. The new theme will be applied to the mail, calendar and other sections of Outlook.

The whole process takes just a few clicks. You can follow the same steps at any time to change the Outlook theme again as per your preference.

Outlook’s default color themes

Outlook comes with several built-in color themes. Here is an overview of the different default themes available in Outlook:

Theme Color Scheme
Blue Blue and White
Green Green and White
Purple Purple and White
Red Red and White
Orange Orange and White
Brown Brown and Beige
Dark Gray Dark Gray and White
Black Black and White

As you can see, the default themes in Outlook cover the most commonly used color schemes. So if you want Outlook to use bright or dark color themes, there are options available to match your needs.

Custom color themes in Outlook

Apart from the default themes, you can also create custom color themes in Outlook and save them for reuse. Here are the steps to create a custom theme:

  1. Go to File > Office Account > Office Theme
  2. At the top, click on Custom to open the custom theme options.
  3. You can now customize the following elements:
    • Primary: Changes top bar color
    • Secondary: Changes left pane color
    • Tertiary: Changes message pane color
    • Primary Text: Changes text color of top bar
    • Secondary Text: Changes text color of left pane
  4. Click on each element’s color box to open a color picker and choose the desired color.
  5. Once done customizing, click Save to save this theme and enter a name for it.

This custom theme will now show up in your themes list. You can apply it or modify it any time by following the same process.

Get additional themes for Outlook

The default and custom color themes give you plenty of options to change the Outlook interface. But if you want even more themes, you can download and install the following add-ins:

  • Theme Manager – Provides over 100 color themes to completely customize Outlook’s look.
  • More Themes – Adds modern themes with custom icon styles.
  • Theme Colors – Lets you pick any RGB color instead of preset themes.

These add-ins can be installed from Microsoft AppsSource. They make theme customization more flexible in Outlook with more color, font and layout options.

Customize other elements beyond color theme

Apart from the overall color theme, you can customize the following UI elements in Outlook:

  • Fonts – Change the text font for the entire Outlook UI or just for reading/composing emails.
  • Background – Set a custom background image for the main Outlook window.
  • Layout – Adjust the spacing, padding, width of different Outlook panes.
  • Calendar – Change calendar highlight colors and calendar day/week views.

These granular customizations can be accessed from the individual sections of Outlook. Together with the color theme, they allow you to completely tailor the look and feel of Outlook as per your needs.

Reset Outlook themes

Changed your mind after customizing Outlook’s theme and layout? No problem, you can easily reset Outlook back to the default settings:

  1. Go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon.
  2. Click on Restore Defaults in the right pane.
  3. Check the option for Restore Outlook customizations.
  4. Click OK to confirm.

This will restore the default Outlook theme blue, fonts, layouts, calendar settings and other customizations.


Changing the default theme is an easy way to customize the look of Outlook on your desktop. The default color themes provide options for warm, cool, bright or dark themes. You can further create custom color themes and also download add-ins for more theme options. Complement the color theme customization by tweaking fonts, backgrounds, layouts and calendar views. So go ahead and change up the boring default blue theme to something that better suits your style!