How To Change Color Scheme in Outlook 2013

 outlook color scheme lead

Outlook 2013′s default layout and color scheme has almost no contrasting colors to show where the navigation bars and sections are. Whether you want to make your inbox easier to look at or simply want a change of inbox “scenery,” it can be very helpful to change Outlook’s colors. Here’s how to do so in five easy steps.

1. Click File at the top left of the screen to pull up a backstage panel.

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2. Click Options. This opens an Outlook Options window to edit more settings.

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3. Select your preferred background. Under the “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office” section, look for the field that says Office Background. This changes the small decorative pattern at the top right of your screen. 

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Outlook provides a list of 14 backgrounds for you to choose from. We selected Doodle Diamonds for this example. 

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4. Select Theme. In the Office Theme field below Office Background, choose from White, Light Gray or Dark gray. This decides the color of your navigation bars. For greater contrast, we picked the Dark Gray theme.

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5. Click Ok. You’re done. Here’s a preview of what those changes will look like.

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You’ll see that scrollbars, navigation panels and the left sidebar are now all gray (if you chose gray like we did), making it easier to distinguish one of part of the Outlook window from another.

Cherlynn Low
Cherlynn Low
Cherlynn joined the Laptopmag team in June 2013 and has since been writing about all things tech and digital with a focus on mobile and Internet software development. She also edits and reports occasionally on video. She graduated with a M.S. in Journalism (Broadcast) from Columbia University in May 2013 and has been designing personal websites since 2001.
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Submit Comments

  1. Abs Says:

    Thanks a lot, the white was very annoying.

  2. Kent Says:

    Bland colors in Outlook. Even the Outlook title bar looks like garbage. I can’t believe anyone thought this looked good enough to put their name on it and send it to consumers.

  3. Gunnar Lohse Says:

    Terrible look inside Outlook
    no contrast,cant choose background, nothing.

  4. Marsh Says:

    Thanks. Not many options but at least dr gray is better then white. In my opinion.

  5. Felipe Camocardi Says:

    Thanks, this tips helped me a lot. Irritating that white layout!

  6. Howard Sundwall Says:

    Really? My options are white, light gray and dark gray? That’s real customization (Microsoft style!). Maybe they’re working on…. medium gray?

  7. Leon Says:

    “Worst customization options EVER!”

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