Inverting Colors in a Document

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 7, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Steve has a friend who is suffering from macular degeneration, and has trouble with a white background. He tells Steve, though, that he prefers white text on a black background. So, Steve wonders if it is possible to invert the colors in his Word document, so that it shows white text on a black background to help out his friend.

One easy way to do this is to open the document you want to affect, then display the Design tab of the ribbon. Within the Page Background group, click the Page Color tool. Word displays a color palate from which you can choose a color for the background. If you choose black, then Word automatically changes the text to white so it is visible on the page—there is no need to explicitly change the font color.

This may not be the best solution for your friend, however. Why? Because if the friend is having visual issues, chances are good it is with all computer output, not just the documents that you may send your friend. Thus, the most effective changes may be made on the friend's computer, not on any documents you might create for your friend.

Macular degeneration is a progressive disease, meaning that it will get worse over time. If things haven't progressed too far as of yet, and if your friend is using Microsoft 365, then he or she may find using "dark mode" to be sufficient. You can enable this mode by following the steps on this web page:

https://www.anoopcnair.com/enable-dark-mode-for-microsoft-office-apps-m365/

You can also have your friend choose a darker theme, which can be done by following the steps described on this Microsoft page:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/63e65e1c-08d4-4dea-820e-335f54672310

Your friend can also, if desired, apply color filters within Windows. This has the added advantage of affecting not just Word documents you may send to him or her, but also to increase accessibility to anything displayed on your friend's computer. Here's a link to an article on the WindowsTips site that can help:

https://windows.tips.net/T013702

There are a wide variety of other accessibility features built into Windows that may be helpful to your friend:

https://windows.tips.net/C0255_Accessibility.html

If your friend prefers, there are third-party companies that can provide software-based solutions for those with visual impairments. Here are two such companies:

https://www.freedomscientific.com/
https://www.enhancedvision.com/

Finally, it should be noted that these solutions may not provide satisfactory results for all parts of a Word document. For instance, if you have placed images within your document, the colors of those images may not be affected by all (or any) of the approaches described above. The only way to find out if the results are satisfactory for your needs is to try out the methods and see.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6136) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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