Office 2013 is Colourless or Colorless

Now for something completely different. Technology.

I have a new laptop with Windows 8 and Office 2013/Office 365. Very fancy. I like the backlit keyboard.

The Start button has gone! I hear Microsoft have brought it back with Windows 9 – good move.

The Office themes are too white. Whiter than white. Oh, there is a Dark Gray and a Light Gray option. Not very artistic choices, sadly.

First let us look at the default White option. I had to put a border around the screen snip or you’d never see it!


This is the DARK Gray option

Dark Grey

Dark Grey

The Dark Gray looks darker in the screen snip than it does in “real life” on my screen! Other users don’t seem too happy with the colours, so I am not alone. I discovered this when researching were there other themes I could download. I came across this thread on Microsoft. One user expressed his opinion as:

How do I change the color scheme in Office 365 – Microsoft Community

I am in my second day of my trial subscription to Office 365.  I am trying to fix the color scheme of Outlook because it looks terrible, is difficult to read and is very hard on the eyes.  Nothing but bright white every where.

I have to say I agree. It is way too bright, especially if, like me, you have two large monitors on your office desk. Outlook I find particularly hard to read. Have Outlook on one screen and Word on the other and I feel as if I am in a snow storm.

Following the trail to another thread, I found people had been complaining since 2012!

Jennie of Microsoft had offered this advice:

Thank you for the feedback on Office’s new look. We are actively collecting, sorting and reading through feedback on Office 2013’s design and User Experience. As the audience for Office 2013 grows, we are being mindful of patterns and pain points that emerge from user feedback. While we do not have any additional Themes planned at this time, it is an issue we are watching very closely.

Well, we are now in 2014 and the choices are still horrible.

Then there is the question of the menu being in capital letters. I had always understood research had found capitals to be harder to read.


I tried to find a suitably academic link, but came up with nothing more than others looking for a suitably academic link.

I don’t like it at all. The functionality is fine and I have seen Office 365 in flight and love the collaborative features. Drag and drop from Outlook to Sharepoint is wonderful. I just don’t like the lack of personalisation available  with these colours. Lack of colours, I should say. Plus I can’t have a different colour on Word than Excel or Outlook. ALL the same!

The mouse pad on the laptop is one of the new-fangled ones with no actual buttons – you just have to push in the right spot. I will learn. After all, I was using computers before clicks were a thing and I managed to migrate from the DOS prompt eventually.

Microsoft, please listen. You’ve had two years. Give us some colours!

6 comments on “Office 2013 is Colourless or Colorless

  1. I’m still using Office 2010. I’ll have to make the jump sooner or later I guess. It took me a while to acclimatise to Windows 8 but I find it OK. I miss the start button, though you can get most of the functionality with a right-click on the Windows icon. It’s irritating that they keep changing the interface, apparently for change’s sake sometimes. But I have to say that with the various ‘system security exploits’ floating around Unix (Apple, Android, embedded router systems etc), Microsoft is looking pretty good just now… 🙂


    • Windows 8 is pretty painless really. It doesn’t seem much different to me.

      You make a good point about the latest exploits. It is a major worry forvthe Linux/Unix fraternity worldwide. I read about it late last week, quite a risk. Strangely there has been no updates for my Android yet!


      • Mine neither – and what also worries me is things like home routers, which uses UNIX with the BSH shell (the one that has the latest exploit). Ouch. I can’t get over the extent these days to which everyday consumers like us are prisoners to (a) the parameters, design and capacity of commercial products offered as the tools for us to do our everyday work and life, and (b) their accidental flaws. Sigh…


      • Not to mention our governments (i.e. the latest Australian legislation) having access to every thought we ever express on-line.

        How long before they can access our hard drives silently? And “legally”?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. After being the first to update and use the 2010 Microsoft suite, I’m now a
    ‘DON’T DO IT!!’ kind of girl. It wasn’t the new presentation, although it did take me some time to work out and to remember where the less commonly used options were. It was the time taken from my workday by the “Hey Jan, how do I ….. ” enquiries.

    I’m now living by the ‘Don’t Volunteer’ ethos. Good to know though that you’ll be there for me when I say “Hey Robyn, ….” 🙂


    • So far I am finding the searching in Outlook rather problematic!

      2010 did move things around a bit an retired some functionality as well.

      I just want this whiter-than-white gone! Good for a laundry powder ad, not good for my eyes!


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