Changing the Document Window Background Color

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 11, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016


Cheryl wonders how to change the white background to another color that would be easier on her eyes. There are a couple of options to change the background color in Word 2007 and later versions. The first option allows you to change the background color to whatever you would like. Keep in mind that the color you choose is a part of the document and is visible when sharing the file. It does not show up when printed, however.

  1. Make sure the Page Layout tab (Word 2007 and Word 2010); or Design tab (Word 2013 and Word 2016) of the ribbon is displayed.
  2. Click the Page Color tool within the Page Background group. Word displays a palette of colors from which you can choose.
  3. Choose the color you would like to use for your background.

The color you selected is now the background color for your document. The color applies only to the current document. If you want to have a different background color for all of your documents (well, at least from this point going forward), you can change the color in your Normal template. For existing documents you'll need to change the background color in each of them individually.

Another option is to change the display appearance for all the windows on your computer. The way you do this depends on the version of Windows you are using. Here are steps that work if you are using Windows 7:

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Click Change Desktop Background located in the Appearance and Personalization group.
  3. Choose the desired color on the Choose your desktop background task pane or create a custom color by clicking More at the bottom of the task pane.

Here are the steps if you are using Windows 8 and Windows 10:

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Click Change the Theme located in the Appearance and Personalization group.
  3. Click Desktop Background found at the bottom of the dialog box.
  4. Choose the desired color.

Windows changes the background color in all windows to the color you specified. This change applies to every window on your computer. Because it is a system change, it will not affect the document if it is opened on another computer.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8021) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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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What is five minus 5?

2019-08-10 12:34:14

Doris M Morales

Easy to follow

2019-07-28 11:36:20

Abhijeet Kumar

Just So Simple workaround !!

2018-06-11 09:33:19

L Mizula

I went with
White, Background 1, Darker 15%

Huge improvement. is a favorite website and when I read book excerpts there I've come away feeling refreshed (even though it's crime) but I think it's because they use this darker background.

Thanks for the directions. I've bookmarked your site.

2018-04-26 22:11:43

Hugh Govan

By the way, it would be good to either correct the tip or change the title as currently Google misleadingly displays your article as the answer to that heading - which it is not.

2018-04-26 22:08:14

Hugh Govan

Thanks for your post. However, your answer relate to the document background color not the document window background. In Word 2016 the navigation pane and document window seem to be the same colour grey and this is confusing as they are only separated by a fine slightly darker grey line. What is needed is either to change the color of the navigation pane or the document window so that one is different from the other (and neither is the same colour as the actual document background default white).

2017-12-29 09:49:29


"Choose the color you would like to use for your background."

These are not colors for the background, but for pages, for Goodness sake!

2017-12-14 16:05:49


To change it for all windows you need to go to control panel/personalization, then click on Window Color then select Advanced Appearance Settings then select Window from the Item drop down menu then choose the color you want from the dropdown on the right. This will change the color for non-aero windows such as Word, MATLAB, etc as well as explorer windows if Aero is disabled, for example if you are using the "Windows Classic" theme. Hope this helps.

2017-10-20 09:16:44


I have a custom sized document and a background color of yellow. Looks great. But if I try and save it as a PDF only a portion of the document maintains the yellow appearance. Custom is 17.75 x 19.5. If I switch to a standard size, (12 x 18) in word, and convert to PDF then it stays all yellow background. Why is the custom setting not allowing me to keep the yellow background?

2017-08-31 05:01:44


You are right on the first part - changing it for the current document.

You are not on the second, changing it for all documents. What you describe changes only the desktop background, not the background for any of the Office programmes.

I found something that will do that for Windows 10 - but not for the creators update.

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