Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The 3 color schemes (blue, silver, black) available in Office 2007 provide poor differentiation for active windows. It is really hard to locate the currently active editor (Word) window at a quick glance. Cursor hover response is also poor.

Is there a way to configure Office 2007 to use other color schemes?

share|improve this question
@#%@%@$#% -- we just got forcibly upgraded at work from Office 2003 to Office 2007. I want something besides blue/silver/black, don't understand why I can't just have the default color scheme selected by Control Panel that applies to all other Windows applications. – Jason S Aug 5 '11 at 13:41
That's the way it is ... – harrymc Aug 6 '11 at 15:49

I dont think so.... They may not add any custom themes concept because it exposes the security vulnerabilities.

share|improve this answer
There are no other alternate themes for the office 2007/2010 products built-in. Running a websearch, there are no results that actually show how to hack or modify the system to revert to 2003-esque looks or to allow third-party tools like WindowsBlinds. So it appears you are out of luck. – music2myear Aug 5 '11 at 14:43
As a note, which Color Scheme is used is read from the registry path: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Theme and this value only takes 1,2 or 3 as accepted input. Given that, I would say the color schemes are build-in and thus no chance of adding anything. – Tex Hex Aug 8 '11 at 17:52

Which OS are you using? If you got Aero on, you'll have to jack up your Color Intensity and/or turn off transparency, which really screw with the colors.

It's easy in XP to differentiate.

share|improve this answer

I think I eventually found the "final answer" to "how to differentiate active/inactive windows in Office?" long aged question! :-)

  • Select an "high contrast" theme from standard Windows themes
  • edit it slightly
  • save it to "mytheme"
  • find your custom themes folder (%localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Themes)
  • open mytheme.theme into a text editor
  • replace last section "Control Panel\Colors" contents by these:

    [Control Panel\Colors] Scrollbar=250 250 250 Background=150 150 150 ActiveTitle=0 0 185 InactiveTitle=192 192 192 Menu=192 192 192 Window=255 255 255 WindowFrame=5 5 5 MenuText=0 0 0 WindowText=0 0 0 TitleText=255 255 255 ActiveBorder=0 0 0 InactiveBorder=252 252 252 AppWorkspace=55 255 255 Hilight=100 100 255 HilightText=255 255 255 ButtonFace=192 192 192 ButtonShadow=127 127 127 GrayText=192 192 192 ButtonText=0 0 0 InactiveTitleText=0 0 0 ButtonHilight=224 224 224 ButtonDkShadow=0 0 0 ButtonLight=192 192 192 InfoText=0 0 0 InfoWindow=255 255 55 ButtonAlternateFace=192 192 192 HotTrackingColor=100 100 255 GradientActiveTitle=0 0 128 GradientInactiveTitle=128 128 128 MenuHilight=160 160 160 MenuBar=255 255 255

The most important values are:

ActiveTitle=0 0 185

InactiveTitle=192 192 192

  • Save the text file
  • Refresh the themes list by closing/opening theme selector
  • Double click "mytheme"

Enjoy! :-)

share|improve this answer
Welcome to superuser. We arn't a traditional forum - we expect answers to directly answer questions (and I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt to whether this will work on 2007), and you're always free to edit your answers. I've deleted your older non answers. – Journeyman Geek Apr 20 '15 at 10:59

To answer your question, no, not that I know of. However, a minor workaround: If you revert to windows classic, there is a little more contrast between active and inactive windows as the top part of the window chrome turns a darker shade of gray.

share|improve this answer
office 2007 ignores that and continues to be the only ugly themed window even if you kill the theme service. – gcb Nov 12 '13 at 18:05

There is another workaround, though the cure may be worse than the problem. You can change the OS theme to a high-contrast theme, then manually choose the colors you want. But as I said, this is system-wide, so it's going to change everything, not just Office.

In XP you'll find it under Control Panel-->Accessibility

In Windows 7 it's under Control Panel-->Appearance and Personalization-->Change the Theme

So it can be done, but not likely to help much.

share|improve this answer
office 2007 ignore all that and uses its own crappy bloated theme that you can't even tell which window has focus. – gcb Nov 12 '13 at 18:05

no there is no other way to customize this color scheme but you can make it look like office 2003 and your main concern is visibility so I think this'll be appropriate ... check this article over here

share|improve this answer
It would be nice to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link only for future reference. – slhck Aug 12 '11 at 10:07
The link doesn't work any more. So yes, a bit more detail would have helped. There's not even enough information here to formulate a search. – Ian Goldby Apr 10 '12 at 8:27
found a cache… and with that i could find the new url it is NOT about color scheme, but about the menu ribbon, and suggest a plugin that makes it a regular windows menu – gcb Nov 12 '13 at 18:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .