Office 365

Personalize your Office 365 experience by selecting themes

Lawrence Chiu is a senior product marketing manager for the admin experience on Office 365.

Who we are has always been important to both organizations as well as individuals. As organizations, we want to reaffirm our brand and foster positive relationships with our customers. As individuals, we want to show our personalities and preferences. Office 365 will now support your ability to both customize and personalize your Office 365 experience by using themes.

Rolling out over the next few weeks, two types of themes will become available. As an Office 365 admin, you will have the ability to create custom themes for your organization and, at the same time, your users will have the ability to personalize their experience by selecting an Office 365 theme.

Also, we recently rolled out improvements to your navigation and notification experience. The Office 365 top nav bar has been improved to provide quick access to more of your Office 365 services and to show more notifications cross-suite to help you stay connected to your email, reminders, and more.

Strengthen your brand by creating Office 365 custom themes

The goal of branding your organization is to establish a positive association with your organization and positive relationships with your organization’s users. Consistent and repeated visual identity reaffirms your brand. By adding the ability to create a custom theme for your Office 365 environments, Office 365 can help you strengthen your brand visually. You can upload a custom logo and URL, so that your users are only a click away from your websites. You can also reinforce the look and feel of your organization by selecting the colors of the Office 365 nav bar, its menu labels, and the Office 365 logo.

Setting your organization’s custom theme is simple. Click your company hyperlink on the top right hand corner of the Office 365 admin dashboard, right under the top nav bar, and then make your logo, color, and other selections.

Manage custom themes for your organization

Personalize your Office 365 experience by selecting themes

By default, individuals in your organization can personalize their Office 365 environment. You can change the default theme easily by selecting from a list of 22 pre-defined themes. The themes can change the top nav bar and menu colors as well as add a background image, Office 365 logo color, and more.

You set your theme by selecting the settings icon in the top nav bar and clicking Change theme.

Manage custom themes for your organization 2

Updated top nav bar

The recently updated nav bar now appears across your Office 365 environment, giving you the same look and feel regardless of which Office 365 service you’re using.

To give you more visibility into your services and quicker access to them, the updated nav bar dynamically scales to the width of your display. Previously, the maximum number of Office 365 menu items displayed in your top nav bar was six, regardless of how much space was available. With the updated nav bar, the number of Office 365 menu items available dynamically changes depending on the available space. If your window is wide enough, the nav bar displays all of the Office 365 services available to you and your users. If there isn’t enough space to display all the menu items, the menu items drop off the nav bar into the more menu (the ellipsis).

We know you and your users use Office 365 across your devices, so we updated the top nav bar to improve navigation on touch devices, too, by making it slightly taller.

Finally, to give you and your users a more personalized experience, we added a place for your photo. If you have an Exchange mailbox, your photo appears on the updated nav bar now, instead of your name.

nav bar

Stay informed across your services

We made another improvement to your Office 365 environment, too, to help you and your users stay productive. Previously, you and your users would receive notifications only within the service you were using. For example, you would receive new mail messages only when you were using the Outlook Web App and not when you were working in SharePoint Online. You now receive notifications for new mail, reminders, and system alerts in all your Office 365 services.

More to come

With the new Office 365 themes, navigation, and notification improvements, you’ll have new ways to strengthen your organization’s visual identity and maximize the productivity of your users with services that are increasingly easy to use.

Stay tuned to the Office 365 for business roadmap, this blog, and Message Center for more service updates.

—Lawrence Chiu

Frequently asked questions

Q. Which Office 365 plans will get these enhancements?

A. These enhancements will roll out across all Office 365 plans starting today. The rollout will take several weeks to complete.

Q. Can I, the Office 365 admin, disable end-user theming?

A. No. At this time, Office 365 does not support this capability.

Q. Are Lync notifications supported cross-suite?

A. At this time, Lync notifications are supported only when you are in the Outlook, Calendar, and People services.


Join the conversation


  1. You have the same paragraph pasted two times (around the second image). Otherwise, yay!

  2. In the future, could you PLEASE make these announcements BEFORE they code actually starts rolling out. We have been seeing some of these changes for many days, but did not have any idea what was going on. The Plan For Change section of the Message Center needs to be used more often.

    • I can’t remember exactly where it is, but you can change your experience of updates.
      You might be signed up for early access. Or they might just be slow in getting the info out like you said
      On the road map it’s still in coding and not even in rolling out yet!

        • Dean, thanks for your feedback as always. We are striving to strike the right balance between too many messages and not enough information. We will look into improving this for future releases.

          Gerard and c.marshall, this feature is not part of First Release. It is being rolled out to all tenants. FYI, the First Release setting is found in Service Settings in the Office 365 Admin Center.

    • The reverse is true, of course. Some of the features described above have not yet been rolled out everywhere. I don’t yet see the option to set an organisation’s custom theme.

      Also the Change Theme is currently only changeable in the Outlook app, not other parts of O365; the theme appears in most places once set (but not Yammer, inevitably)

  3. Why did you feel the need to include room for our own photos? I know what I look like. It’s a waste of space.

    There should definitely be a way to prevent regular users from customizing the theme.

  4. “Setting your organization’s custom theme is simple”.
    I don’t see fields to change my logo, color, and other selections, only name and address.

      • The feature is still rolling out so it may take several weeks until you see it in your tenant.


  5. Is there any way at all to reverse the top nav bar changes? It hasn’t been “slightly” adjusted, and instead now is a bright blue bar appearing at the top of every page which looks tacky. Can we not have the option to choose the older, more reasonably sized navigation bar?

    • Hi jashrewsbury. There is no option to revert back to the previous top nav bar. If the standard colors are not suitable, you can pick other ones by changing your theme. Thanks for your feedback.


  6. I can see the feature has been rolled out. I can change the interface from the admin panel, but the changes only seem to be enabled on “Sites”, “OneDrive”, and all the personal pages (so i assume, only within the underlying SharePoint system), but not on Outlook, People and Calendar. Also i can see that i can change my theme from OWA, Calendar and People as well, but my company theme is not there.

    The split in design (between the OWA/People/Calendar and the OneDrive and Sites parts) is not clear in my opinion. Anything i am doing wrong here?


    This is fantastic! Finally Outlook Web App clients can customize with their own enterprise themes!!!!
    Now Office 365 is perfect with this feature! And Google Apps is not the only service that allows customization the inbox.

    Thanks Thanks Thanks!

    Office 365 4 Ever.