How To Enable Dark Gray Theme In Office 2016

Back in 2012, when Microsoft released the Preview build of Office 2013, the dark gray theme was missing from themes list. Users who tried and tested Office 2013 Preview sent feedback to Microsoft requesting to include the dark gray theme in the final version of the Office 2013. Despite that, the office team offered a light gray theme in Office 2013 and named it as Dark Gray!

For those who have been missing the dark gray theme while using Office 2013, here is a good news. Microsoft has included a dark gray theme in its newest version of Office suite for desktop, Office 2016.

As you likely know, Office 2013 includes only three themes: White, Light Gray and Dark Gray. The Dark Gray theme in Office 2013 isn’t actually dark and is bright compared to the Dark Gray theme in Office 2010.

Dark theme in Office 2016 enable

Unlike Office 2013, Office 2016 comes with a total of five themes: White (identical to the one in Office 2013), Colorful (new theme), Light Gray (same as in Office 2013), Medium Gray (known as Dark Gray in Office 2013) and Dark Gray (new theme).

As you can see in the above picture, unlike the Dark Gray theme in Office 2013, the Dark Gray theme offered in Office 2016 is actually dark and easy on eyes. For many, this might sound like a small feature but there are millions of users around the world complaining about the lack of this actual Dark Gray theme in Office 2013.

With default settings, Colorful theme is set as the default theme in Office 2016. The colorful theme shows each Office 2016 application in different color. Although the default Colorful theme is elegant, it’s not for users who prefer to have an easy-on-eyes theme.

If you prefer using the Dark Gray theme, which is not applied by default, please follow the given below directions to change the default theme to Dark Gray in Office 2016.

Enable Dark gray theme in Office 2016

Method 1

Step 1: Open any Office 2016 application.

Step 2: Click File menu and then click Options.

Dark theme in Office 2016

Dark theme in Office 2016 picture4

Step 3: Under the General tab (selected by default), look for the option named Office Theme.

Dark theme in Office 2016 picture5

Step 4: Select Dark Gray theme from the drop-down menu and then click OK button to apply the selected theme.

Note that the newly selected theme will appear on other Office applications as well. For instance, if you have set Dark Gray as the theme in Word, the same theme will appear in Excel and PowerPoint applications as well.

Method 2

Step 1: Launch an Office 2016 application.

Step 2: Click the File menu and then click Account.

Dark theme in Office 2016 picture2

Step 3: On the right-side, under Office Theme section, select Dark Gray theme. That’s it!

Dark theme in Office 2016 picture3

Hope this helps!



  1. Denise says

    The majority of my job is done via email and the new color choices range from colorful (which is not colorful in the email program at all), white and dark grey. There is no happy medium. If it is not dark gray then it is blinding me and the dark gray has me straining to read it. I have read that there was a light grey or medium at one point but that appears to have gone away.

    This update is awful for the email program. Aside from the ridiculous color choices they made everything take up more room. When efficiency is an important element to business this update has taken two steps backwards.

  2. Adam says

    In my university’s Office 2016 subscription I can only see “colorful” and “white” – why can’t I see “Dark Gray”?

  3. oliver says

    following your command at my Office 2016 version I cannot see “light gray” theme. I love that “light gray” theme, you can I retrieve it?

  4. Ice_Blue says

    Unfortunately, this does not work in Access 2016.
    Microsoft seems to have largely abandoned this software.

    This is unfortunate, since it is how I make a living.

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