How To Change The Ribbon Color in Excel

Recently, a lot of requests have been received regarding how to customize the Excel Ribbon.

In case you are wondering what a ribbon is in Excel- Don’t worry!

In this article, we would take you through it along with the screenshots.

What is Ribbon in Excel?

The Ribbon is your control centre in Excel. It’s a dynamic system that organizes Excel’s functionalities into tabs, each serving a specific purpose.

Imagine cooking a gourmet meal without a recipe!- that’s how navigating Excel would look like without Ribbon.

The Importance of the Ribbon

The Ribbon helps you swiftly find commands to complete tasks. It’s your reliable assistant when dealing with formulas, large datasets and many more such commands.

Without it, Excel would feel like a chaotic library without a catalogue.

So, ready to give your Excel a makeover? Let’s dive in and sprinkle some colour! 

Understanding the Excel Interface

Before we dive into customizing the Ribbon, it’s important to get familiar with Excel’s interface.

Most likely, you probably already know what the Ribbon, Ribbon tabs, Groups of Commands and Buttons are, however, for reference, we will provide a brief explanation.

The Excel Window: Your Data Playground

When you open Excel, you’re greeted by the Excel window – your canvas for data analysis and visualization. This is where all the magic happens!

The Excel window

The Ribbon: The Control Center

At the top, you’ll find the Ribbon, your command centre in Excel. It’s divided into several tabs like Home, Insert, Page Layout, and so on. Each tab houses a group of related commands.

The ribbon tab

The Quick Access Toolbar: Your Shortcut Companion

Above the Ribbon, there’s a Quick Access Toolbar. It provides shortcuts to common commands like Save, Undo, and Redo. Did you know you can customize this toolbar to include any command you frequently use?

The Formula Bar: Your Calculation Corner

Just below the Ribbon, you’ll see the Formula Bar. This is where you can enter or edit data or formulas in cells. It’s like the brain of your spreadsheet operation.

The Formula Bar

The Status Bar: Your Progress Tracker

At the bottom is the Status Bar, which displays information about the current mode and any special keys you use, like Caps Lock. It also shows the progress of current commands.

The status bar

Understanding the Excel interface is crucial to efficiently navigating and utilizing the software.

With this knowledge, you’re now ready to customize the Ribbon’s appearance to suit your style.

In the next section, we’ll guide you on how to do this step-by-step.

Step-by-Step Guide to Changing the Ribbon Color

Here’s a simple guide to help you change the Ribbon colour:

Step 1: Navigate to the “File” Tab

Click on the “File” tab in the top left corner of your Excel window to open a dropdown menu with several options.

Navigate to the file tab

Step 2: Click on “Options”

In the drop-down menu, locate and click on “Options.” The Excel Options dialog box will pop up.

Click on the option tab
Tip: If you don't see it right away, try clicking on the 'More' tab and you should be able to locate the 'Options' tab directly. Check out the screenshot below for reference.
An alternate way to search for the option tab

Step 3: Select the “General” Category

In the Excel Options dialog box, you’ll see a list of categories on the left side. Click on “General.”

Select the general category

Step 4: Look for “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office”

Under the “General” category, you will find the “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office” section.

Select the section of personalised Microsoft office

Step 5: Choose an Office Theme

Here’s where you get to be creative! You’ll see a drop-down menu labelled “Office Theme.”

Click on it and select a theme that suits your style. You have four options: Colorful, Dark Gray, Black and White.

Choose the office theme

Step 6: Click “OK”

Once you’ve selected a theme, click “OK” at the bottom of the dialog box to apply the changes. And voila! You’ve successfully changed the Ribbon colour!

Click ok to apply the selection

Before and After: A Visual Comparison

To truly appreciate the transformation, let’s take a moment to compare the before and after looks of our Excel Ribbon.


Here’s how your Excel Ribbon looked before the change. The default theme is typically green in colour for Excel. 

The before screen


And here’s how it looks after applying the “Dark Gray” theme. Notice how the Ribbon now has a unified, sleek dark gray colour, offering a modern and minimalistic look.

The after screen

The difference is not just visual but also impacts the user experience. The Dark Gray theme could be easier on the eyes for some, especially when working for extended periods. Remember, Excel is a versatile tool – don’t hesitate to customize it to fit your style and comfort!

Points to Consider When Changing The Ribbon Color

Before you decide to change the Ribbon colour in Excel, there are a few considerations to bear in mind.

  1. Impact on All Office Applications

It is important to remember that changing the theme in Excel extends to all Office apps on your PC, including Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

Example: The Dark Gray theme in Excel will apply to all the other Microsoft applications.

The screenshot below shows a Microsoft Word document in the Dark Gray theme.

The screenshot of word document in Dark Gray theme

So, before making the change, consider whether you’d like the new theme to be reflected across all your Office tools.

  1. Choosing the Right Theme

Different themes serve different purposes and preferences.

  • Colourful: This default theme uses different colours for each Office application.
    • For example, Excel is green, Word is blue, and PowerPoint is red.
    • This could be helpful if you want to quickly distinguish between different applications at a glance.
  • Dark Gray: This theme offers a high-contrast look that can be easier on the eyes, making it ideal for those working long hours on their computer. An example of this is shown earlier.
  • Black: This is an even darker theme that might be preferred by users who like a sleek, modern aesthetic. However, it may not be as comfortable for extended use as the Dark Gray theme. 
    • Black is available in Microsoft Excel 2013 and above. Please verify the version of Microsoft Excel in case you are unable to view it as an option.
Screenshot of black theme
  • White: This theme provides a clean, bright workspace. It might be appreciated by those who prefer a minimalist design. However, it might be too bright for some users, especially when working in low-light conditions.

3. Back to the Default theme

You can easily reset to the default theme by selecting “Colorful” from the drop-down menu, which will revert all Office applications to the original Microsoft Word setting.

Changing the theme back to original

Wrapping Up

In essence, altering the Ribbon colour in Excel is a quick but impactful way to customize your workspace.

Just keep in mind that this modification extends to all Office applications. So, choose a theme that aligns with your work style and visual comfort. 

It’s not just a tool but a canvas for your data – let it reflect your style and creativity!

Transforming Excel into a personalized workspace should not stop here; we can also customize the ribbon tab per your needs and preferences. Want to know how? Stay tuned!

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