Change a theme and make it the default in Word or Excel

Changing a document theme or color scheme can be confusing. To change your current theme, switch to a different one, or create a new theme, you use slightly different commands, depending on which app you are using:

  • Design tab in Word

  • Page Layout tab in Excel

I want to

Choose a standard color theme

Create my own color theme

Change theme fonts

Change theme effects

Switch or remove a theme

Save a custom theme for reuse

Make my changes the new default theme

Learn more about themes

Choose a standard color theme

  • On the Page Layout tab in Excel or the Design tab in Word, click Colors, and pick the color set you want.

    Excel

    Theme Colors Gallery open via the Colors button on the Page Layout tab

    Word

    Theme Colors gallery

    Tip:  The first group of colors are the colors in the current theme.

Create my own color theme

  1. On the Page Layout tab in Excel or the Design tab in Word, click Colors, and then click Customize Colors.

  2. Click the button next to the theme color you want to change (for example, Accent 1 or Hyperlink), and then pick a color under Theme Colors.

    Change a theme color

    To create your own color, click More Colors, and then pick a color on the Standard tab, or enter numbers or select a color on the Custom tab.

  3. In the Sample pane, preview the changes that you made.

  4. Repeat this for all the colors you want to change.

  5. In the Name box, type a name for the new theme colors, and click Save.

    Tip: To return to the original theme colors, click Reset before you click Save.

Change theme fonts

  1. On the Page Layout tab in Excel or the Design tab in Word, click Fonts, and pick the font set you want.

    Excel

    Fonts gallery on Page Layout tab

    Word

    Fonts gallery on the Design tab

    Tip:  The top fonts are the fonts in the current theme.

  2. To create your own set of fonts, click Customize Fonts.

  3. In the Create New Theme Fonts box, under the Heading font and Body font boxes, pick the fonts you want.

    Create new theme fonts

  4. In the Name box, enter a name, and click Save.

Change theme effects

Theme effects include shadows, reflections, lines, fills, and more. While you cannot create your own set of theme effects, you can choose a set of effects that work for your document.

  1. On the Page Layout tab in Excel or the Design tab in Word, click Effects. Button image .

  2. Select the set of effects that you want to use.

    Effects options

Switch or remove a theme

  • To change themes, simply pick a different theme from the Themes menu. To return to the default theme, choose the Office theme.

  • To remove theme formatting from just a portion of your document, select the portion you want to change and change any formatting you like, such as font style, font size, color, etc.

Save a custom theme for reuse

Once you’ve made changes to your theme, you can save it to use again. Or you can make it the default for new documents.

  1. On the Page Layout tab in Excel or the Design tab in Word, click Themes > Save Current Theme.

    Theme gallery accessed from Theme button

  2. In the File name box, enter a name for the theme, and click Save.

    Note: The theme is saved as a .thmx file in the Document Themes folder on your local drive and is automatically added to the list of custom themes that appear when you click Themes.

    Custom themes accessed from the Themes button

Make my changes the new default theme

After saving your theme, you can set it so it’s used for all new documents.

Excel

Apply your custom theme to a blank workbook and then save it as a template named Book.xltx.

Word

  • On the Design tab, click Set as Default.

    Save as Default option for Word Themes found on the Design tab

More about themes

A document theme is a unique set of colors, fonts, and effects. Themes are shared across Office programs so that all your Office documents can have the same, uniform look.

You can also change the Office theme. The Office theme is the color scheme for your entire Office program, while document themes are more specific (they show up in individual Word documents or Excel spreadsheets).

Choose a different Office Theme

In addition, you can add a pattern to your Office program, by changing the Office Background.

See Also

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