The Microsoft Office suite of apps include distinct visual themes that make those apps easy to identify, for example Microsoft Word on Mac has a dark blue visual theme on the Mac, Excel is green, and Powerpoint is red / orange.
If you’d like to change the appearance theme of Microsoft Office apps, including Word, Excel, or Powerpoint on the Mac, so that they visually match the light theme or the dark mode theme appearance of Mac OS, you can do so with an adjustment in the Microsoft Office app settings.
How to Change Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) Theme on Mac
This change can be invoked from any of the Microsoft Office apps, and the theme change applies to all other Microsoft Office apps too. In other words, if you change the theme in Microsoft Word, it will impact the theme in Microsoft Excel as well, and vice versa. For the walkthrough here we are demonstrating this process in Microsoft Word.
- Pull down the “Word” menu and choose “Preferences” *
- Go to “General”
- Look under the ‘Personalize’ section to find “Office Theme:” and choose “Classic”
- Exit out of Office Preferences
You will get a little notification informing you that changing the Microsoft Office theme will impact all other Microsoft Office apps.
The visual theme change occurs immediately, and assuming you choose Classic you will find the colorful window dressing is stripped and returned to match the grays of whatever the Mac OS theme is set to.
Obviously what the appearance of Office looks like will depend on what the Mac default appearance theme is set to, and if the computer only supports the Light mode Mac theme then Office will look that way, whereas if the MacOS version is new enough and Office is updated to a recent version, the Office suite apps will respect the Dark Mode theme in Mac OS if that is in use.
* Note we are demonstrating this with the Microsoft Word app, but you can do the same from Excel or Powerpoint by pulling down the app-name menu (i.e.; “Excel” or “Powerpoint” menus, then choosing Preferences). All else is the same.
How to Change Microsoft Office App Themes Back to Colorful on Mac
You can reverse this change in any Microsoft Office app by returning to the “General” Preferences and selecting the “Colorful” Office theme.
- Pull down the Office app-name menu (i.e. Word, Excel) and choose “Preferences” *
- Select “General”
- Look under the ‘Personalize’ section to find “Office Theme:” and choose “Colorful”
Once again the change made in one Microsoft Office app will impact the other apps themes too.
Whether or not you like the colorful theme or the classic theme is entirely a matter of personal taste. Many Office users really like the distinct colors of Office apps because it offers an immediate visual cue as to what app is actively in use, but other Office users may prefer to have Word, Excel, Powerpoint, or Outlook look more like the general appearance theme on the Mac.