Microsoft Office 2023 Theme Color Update

By Chris Newman •  Updated: 08/06/23 •  6 min read
How to create multiline text in ribbon tooltips with Excel.

Introducing the New 2023 Microsoft Office Color Theme

Over the years, we've seen the Microsoft Office suite undergo a plethora of changes. Whether it's new features, enhanced capabilities, or improved performance. Each update brings a fresh experience to millions of users globally. Today, we'll dive into one of the suite's subtler, yet profoundly influential updates: the introduction of a new color theme in 2023.

Why does theme matter? Think of the theme as the attire your software dons. Just as you'd pick a comfortable outfit to work in, a theme is chosen for comfort, readability, and usability. It affects how users interact with the software, how long they can use it without fatigue, and even how they feel about their work environment. In essence, a theme can have a direct impact on productivity and user satisfaction.

Here's an intriguing observation: Despite the range of themes and customization options available, a vast majority of Office users tend to stick with the default theme colors of any given Office program. This underscores the significance of introducing a new default theme, as it directly influences the day-to-day experience of countless users. So when Microsoft changes its colors, it impacts us all, for better or worse!

Overview of the New 2023 Color Theme

The Microsoft Office team changed all the accent colors with the release of their new default theme color palette in 2023. The background/text colors remained unchanged, except the Dark Blue got darker than what the Office 2013 theme had.

Screentip and Supertip example in Excel.

Below is the full-color palette available to you in the 2023 Office theme. You'll notice the lighter variations of the primary color are very pastel-like (somewhat reminiscent of the Office 2023 colors).

Microsoft Office Color Palette 2023

Inspiration For The 2023 Office Theme

In the vast and intricate world of design, color selection is more than just an aesthetic endeavor; it's a responsibility. Microsoft's decision-making process for their 2023 Office color theme highlights this sentiment profoundly. Behind every shade and hue is a commitment to accessibility, ensuring that the software remains user-friendly and inclusive for all.

Why is accessibility crucial in color selection?

  1. Inclusivity for Visual Impairments: A significant portion of the global population lives with some form of visual impairment, be it color blindness, low vision, or other conditions. Picking contrasting colors that are discernible by those with color vision deficiencies ensures that a broader range of users can effectively interact with the software.
  2. Ease of Readability: Colors influence the legibility of text. High contrast between text and background reduces eye strain, making it easier for users to read and work for extended periods. In an application suite like Microsoft Office, where documents and presentations are central, this becomes especially vital.
  3. Cognitive Considerations: For some users, particularly those with cognitive disabilities, certain color combinations can be disorienting or even distressing. Thoughtful color selection can create an environment that's both comfortable and conducive to concentration.
  4. Universal Design Benefits All: When products are designed with accessibility in mind, they often end up benefiting a broader audience than initially intended. For instance, high-contrast settings meant for the visually impaired can be advantageous for users in bright sunlight or low-light conditions.

By prioritizing accessibility in its color palette, Microsoft is championing a philosophy of inclusivity. It's a testament to their dedication to creating products that resonate and function seamlessly for everyone, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. In the end, such considerations highlight the importance of empathy in design, reminding us that technology, at its best, bridges gaps and fosters connection.

Alignment To The Office Program Colors

It is also noteworthy that the colors seem to align very nicely with the colors assigned to the Office Programs themselves: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, and PowerBi.

Yes, I know, PowerBI might be a stretch!

Office 2023 Theme Inspiration

Comparing The 2023 & The 2013 Theme

When comparing the 2023 theme to the prior theme from Office 2013, there are quite a bit of differences.

  • The colors are bolder
  • There are two green variants
  • Yellow gets replaced with Purple
  • The shades of the primary colors seem to be neon/pastel
Microsoft Office Theme 2013 vs 2023

What is your opinion? Did Microsoft improve upon the prior theme's color palette or make it worse? Let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this article!

Microsoft Excel Theme 2023 and 2013

Color Codes of the 2023 Microsoft Office Theme

For those eager to get an in-depth understanding or even replicate the aesthetic of the new 2023 Microsoft Office color theme in other projects, we've compiled a detailed breakdown. In the following table, you'll find the specific color codes associated with this theme, presented in both HEX and RGB formats.

Whether you're a designer seeking consistency across platforms or just a curious user, these codes offer a precise insight into the color choices that define this fresh theme.

Color NameHEX CodeRGB Code
Dark Teal#15608221, 96 130
Orange#E97132233, 113, 50
Dark Green#196B2425, 107, 36
Turquoise#0F9ED515, 158, 213
Plum#A02B93160, 43, 147
Green#4EA72E78, 167, 46

Frequently Asked Questions About the 2023 Office Theme

When Did Microsoft Release The 2023 Office Theme?

Microsoft announced they were changing the Office suite theme colors on July 19th, 2023. It was first released to Office Beta shortly after.

How often does Microsoft change its Office Default Theme?

Microsoft has varied the number of years it will retain a theme. MS Office had the same theme from Office 2007 to Office 2010 (6 years). Office 2013 saw the release of a new theme and subsequently in 2023, Microsoft changed its default theme once again (10 years).

How Can I Change Back To The Prior Microsoft Theme In Excel?

You can change your Excel file's theme colors by navigating to the Page Layout tab, clicking the Colors menu, and selecting Office 2013-2022.

Will the colors in my old spreadsheets change with the new 2023 Office Theme?

No, if you created an Excel spreadsheet using the prior default theme, your colors will not change. The file will automatically point the theme reference to the Office 2013 - 2022 theme going forward

I Hope This Microsoft Excel Article Helped!

Microsoft's 2023 color theme update stands as a testament to their evolving commitment to user experience, merging both aesthetic appeal and accessibility considerations. However, as with all design choices, colors are deeply personal and subjective. While many may find the new palette refreshing and more accessible, others might have a fondness for the familiarity of the old theme.

The beauty of Microsoft Office lies in its adaptability. For those who feel more attuned to the previous theme, the option to revert remains just a few clicks away, ensuring that every user feels at home in their digital workspace. After all, it's about granting everyone the freedom to tailor their environment to their preference.

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Chris Newman

Chris Newman

Chris is a finance professional and Excel MVP recognized by Microsoft since 2016. With his expertise, he founded TheSpreadsheetGuru blog to help fellow Excel users, where he shares his vast creative solutions & expertise. In addition, he has developed over 7 widely-used Excel Add-ins that have been embraced by individuals and companies worldwide.