Changing background colors in Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016

Starting from Microsoft Outlook 2007, you can change Outlook’s appearance. Apart from the default font for messages, calendar etc. you can change the background color. Here is how to do it in Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016:

Outlook 2007

1. Go to: Tools, Options.
2. Select the Mail Format tab, and then click the Editor Options button.
3. From the Color scheme drop down menu, you can choose one of three colors: blue, silver, back (Fig. 1.).

Choosing preferred color scheme from the drop down menu in Outlook 2007
Fig. 1. Choosing preferred color scheme from the drop down menu in Outlook 2007.

4. Save your new setting by clicking the OK button.

Outlook 2010

1. Go to the Backstage view: File, Options.
2. In the General tab, you can select the color you wish to have: blue, silver black (Fig. 2.).

Choosing preferred color scheme from the drop down menu in Outlook 2010
Fig. 2. Choosing preferred color scheme from the drop down menu in Outlook 2010.

3. Save your new setting by clicking the OK button.

Outlook 2013

1. Go to the Backstage view: File, Options.
2. In the General tab, from the Office Theme dropdown menu you can select the color you wish to have: White, Light Gray, Dark Grey (Fig. 3.).

Choosing preferred color scheme from the drop down menu in Outlook 2013
Fig. 3. Choosing preferred color scheme from the drop down menu in Outlook 2013.

Additionally, you can customize your Office background theme (Fig. 4.):

Choosing preferred Office background theme from the drop down menu in Outlook 2013
Fig. 4. Choosing preferred Office background theme from the drop down menu in Outlook 2013.

The Office background setting will display the selected pattern in Outlook top window bars (Fig. 5.):

Background-geometry
Fig. 5. Geometry Office background in an Outlook new message window.

3. Save your new setting by clicking the OK button.

Outlook 2016

1. Go to the Backstage view (File, Options).
2. In the General tab, from the Office Theme dropdown menu select: Colorful, Dark Gray, or White (Fig. 6.).

Outlook 2016 theme options
Fig. 6. Theme options in Outlook 2016

Additionally, like in Outlook 2013, you can select a background pattern that will be displayed on all Office 2016 background panes.

NOTE: The Colorful option sets the Outlook background theme to blue. There is no way of picking a different color.

3. Save the new setting by clicking OK.

Software tip

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Changing background colors in Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 by

64 thoughts on “Changing background colors in Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016


  1. Date: 5/31/2015
    To: All Microsoft employees
    From: Military Painting, Inc.
    Subject: Office painting starts on Monday, all Microsoft buildings

    All Microsoft employees should be aware that office hallways, bathrooms, individual offices, conference rooms, lunch rooms, desktops, and windows will be painted this week. You get your choice of white, light gray or dark gray. Please advise or by default the paint crew will use white. Please bring your sunglasses to work on Monday. That is all.

  2. I know, Doug Phillips – isn’t it exciting. I can’t believe the wide number of color choices we’re being given in Office 2013. I’m having difficulty deciding from the array of riches presented. Ugh. Every new Microsoft update takes at least 2 steps backward.

  3. My biggest complant is that when I’m moving files my archive lights up with light blue on grey…… problem is I can’t see light blue on grey!
    I agree that Microsoft is in Full Reverse with this latest “Down Grade”

  4. Hi,

    I’m a 2013 Ms Outlook user. I’ve tried to change my background(Theme) but it says that: “The end date you entered occurs before the start date.”

    Please help.

    Thanks,
    Boyee

  5. I completely agree with Doug and the rest! Who at Microsoft thought white, gray and dark gray would be a wow factor for it’s users. So basically you’re saying we have our choice of ugly, uglier and ugliest! Nice! Great job to all! Round of applause everyone!

  6. It would be great if the mailboxes could be made into different colours. It is so difficult when I have something like 200 mailboxes to pick the one I want. No such luck and nothing like utterly boring and tedious searching up and down for a particular box when with a bit of colour it would be so obvious which section to be in as I have quite a few nested mailboxes.

    Please do not tell me to remove mailboxes I have a rather complex business and I need access to all of them frequently.

    Cheers
    Anthony

  7. Yes, the grey, grey or even greyer is killing my soul. I spend 10 hours a day at work in my virtual Outlook office longing for some bright, fun, happy colours to take away the drudgery of work. Come on Microsoft, get a bit creative. Life is too short for grey. Completely uninspired and unnecessarily boring.

  8. Dears

    I have big issue with new outlook that I can recognize read and unread mails due to Coloers I received more than 500 mail per day I don’t understand why you change it I try a lot to rollback to ms outlook 2007 but my company policy I can’t

    Regards

  9. the new Outlook email program is a perfect illustration of mindless “change for the sake of change”.

  10. Hi
    In Fig. . is seems possible to choose a background, but i don’t have that option, is that some thing need to activate somewhere else ?

  11. They are not stepping backwards by accident. It is intentional! They are trying to take over the world. The first step is trying to make people accept dull colors by taking away freedom of choice. Accept White, Gray or Black, or else!

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