Office 2013, so bright it hurts my eyes

I recently made the move from Microsoft Office 2010 to Office 2013. Not much has changed in the new version, but one thing seems to annoy many people around the world including me. For some reason Microsoft has decided that everything in Office 2013 has to be very white and bright. Not sure why, but it seems to be some kind of trend that many other software companies like Google and Apple also apply to. White seems to be the new black for some reason!

How can we change the brightness of Office 2013?

Okay, there are two other themes you can choose, Light Gray and Dark Gray, but that does really not solve the problem. In older versions of Office, we also had the possibility to choose Black, Silver or Blue, but that is for some reason no longer an option.

How to change color Theme in Office 2013

If you want to change to one of the gray themes, here is how it is done. It does help a little I think:

  1. Click File > Office Account (or File > Account)
  2. Select the Office Theme you want from the dropdown list

Office 2013 Themes

I went to Microsoft own TechNet forum to see what solutions there was available for all the people that would like another theme with some colors or maybe just a darker theme. I did not found a solution, but look what I found instead:

Question about Office 2013 Theme:


Answer from Microsoft TechNet Community Support:


The guy is asking for another color theme because it is too bright and the answer is to adjust brightness of the monitor..!! That is just bad customer service if you ask me. Why not listen to your customers and try to give them what they want, if it is in your power? I have found so many people asking for this all over the Internet. We are not asking you to redesign your Office logo. We are not asking for to change the default theme in your Office distribution. All we are asking for is to be able to download or design a theme with a little bit of colors. Is that really too much to ask for Microsoft?

Outlook 2013 Logo change from Yellow to Blue

Another thing that has changed is the color of the Outlook icon. After many years with a yellow Outlook icon, the Office theme has changed it a blue icon for some reason.

History of Outlook icon   Outlook-2013-High-res

What people things about the new Office 2013 Design

I have found some quotes from people’s reaction to the new design of Office 2013:

“Office 2013 is much too bright & white”

“Did the Adams Family design the Office 2013…?”

“Everything looks so flat and dead. I’m working with these tools all day long…and it’s like I’m living in a Twilight Zone episode”

“Worst design – ever! The 1950’s called and they want their Office back”

“Is it me or is office 2013 meant to make eyes bleed?”

 What do you think about the new design of Office 2013?

Please let me know what you think about the new design and the fact that there is no way to select a theme with some colors? Please drop me a comment below.

About the author:
I am an IT Professional that has this blog as a hobby project in my spare time. I have been in the IT business since 1996 and want to share some of the thing I have picked up over the years, with people who visit this blog.

>>Subscribe to my Newsletter<<

22 Responses to Office 2013, so bright it hurts my eyes

  1. Microsoft should focus on user cool display for viewing experience. After all we love Microsoft their software products which help in easy & cool UI experience.

    We want Crystal clear things not over brightening graphics in Office. Office is not tool which will be used for 1-2 minutes, It is tool for doing various task may take upto hours in completion. So it should be cool viewing for us.

  2. Sekhar says:

    Very much true. I have Office 2013 in my laptop, but I like Office 2010 in my office system. I never liked the new UI of 2013, it has a bit of learning curve for regular users also.

    • Thomas says:

      I do not think that it is that different to use compared to Office 2010, but oh boy do I wish for a theme that is not as bright as the three themes built-in to the new release.

  3. Raddix says:

    Well I really like MS office 2013, as the cool features such as amazing animation, cloud storage and back up, pretty fast. Just some graphic issue, it isn’t that bad.

    • Thomas says:

      I do like the features of Office 2013 too. It is a great set of programs, but I can’t understand why we can get the option to change the theme to something a bit darker and more relaxing for our eyes.

  4. Carolyn says:

    Hi Thomas, I haven’t actually seen Office 2013 yet and now I’m afraid to. I don’t want my eyes to bleed!

    Perhaps the next update to Office will address these issues, whether or not Microsoft will admit to the problem.

    I haven’t moved to Office 2013 because of the subscription pricing. I prefer to pay once for software not multiple times.

  5. It seems to be these days that developers want every one to damage their eyes, may be they have a secret firm that sells eyewear after lol.

    • Thomas says:

      I really don’t understand why it all has to be so damn bright and white. It is not just Microsoft. Google and Apple themes to do the same, but in Gmail at least I have the possibility to change the theme do something darker. That is pretty much all I ask of Microsoft. Give us some darker, colorful themes to choose from..!

  6. Grace Cinotti says:

    Ack! Too much brightness is a no-no for me. Good thing I haven’t made the change yet. Guess I’m sticking to Office 2010

  7. Alysha says:

    I don’t like high brightness in my office workshop. Because I am not comfortable with it though I love light gray.

  8. Pau says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they never fixed this. I have found as of late that a few of the big companies are playing deaf ear to what their customers want. I think this will only hurt them in the long run as they lose people’s trust.

    • Thomas says:

      I am afraid you could be right about this one Pau. Microsoft should listen more to their customers and admit if they have made something their customers do not like.

  9. Alysha says:

    Hello Thomas, If I was the Developer of Microsoft Office then I definitely change the brightness.

  10. videojeeves says:

    Hello Thomas,
    I use this software I found many new thing but the design and look of office 2013 is very bright. I am agreed with you I also experience the same problem.

  11. keshu says:

    awesome post with good information and well written.Thanks for sharing.

  12. madhusudhan says:

    I agree, in my office I am being forced to use this too bright useless Office 2013. MS guys/management, is it that hard for you to release a darker theme? Its been over one year, nothing has been done! CRAZY!

  13. Gary Stein says:

    Oh i didn’t know there were different themes you could change it to! That is great! I would love to use a smaller colored theme. Thanks for putting this up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *