How to change the colours in Windows Vista

This page explains step-by-step how to change the colours of window borders, text and other graphical elements in Windows Vista.

Note: The 'Ease of Access Center' has replaced 'Accessibility Options' (which was used in earlier versions of Windows) in the 'Control Panel' of Windows Vista. For more information, read the Introduction to the Ease of Access Center.

Video how to guide

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Changing colours in Windows Vista

Change your colours

Step 1: Open the 'Appearance Settings' window

Open the 'Ease of Access Center' window by pressing the Windows key + U or clicking the 'Start' button, followed by 'Control Panel', then 'Ease of Access', then 'Ease of Access Center'.

Under the 'Explore all settings' header, click on 'Make the computer easier to see' (Fig 1) or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

Fig 1Detail from 'Ease of Access Center' window

Under the 'Make things on the screen easier to see' header (Fig 2), click on 'Fine tune display effects', or press Alt + C to open the 'Appearance Settings' window shown in Fig 3.

Fig 2Detail from 'Make the computer easier to see' window

Step 2: Change your colour scheme

In the 'Appearance Settings' window shown in Fig 3, click on one of the options in the drop-down list under the 'Color scheme' header. Alternatively, press Tab to highlight the list, then use the up and down arrow keys to scroll to the option you want.

Fig 3'Appearance Settings' window

You can customise your colour scheme by changing individual colours. To do this, click on the 'Advanced' button or press Alt + D and continue to Step 3 below.

Otherwise, to accept the changes and finish, click on the 'OK' button, or press Tab until it is highlighted and press Enter.

Step 3: Customise your colour scheme

In the 'Advanced Appearance' window (Fig 4), click on the drop-down list under the 'Item' header or press Alt + I and use the mouse or arrow keys to scroll through the list of items.

Fig 4'Advanced Appearance' window

For example, if 'Window' is selected in the list, you can change its colour by clicking on the drop-down button under 'Color 1' or by pressing Alt + L. This opens the basic drop-down colour palette, shown in Fig 5.

Fig 5colour palette

For more colours, click on the 'Other' button or press Alt + O to bring up the 'Color' window shown in Fig 6.

Fig 6'Color' window

Click on the colour you want, or press Alt + B to select 'Basic colors' and use the arrow keys to move to the colour you want and then press the Spacebar to select it.

Click the 'OK' button or press Enter to return to the 'Advanced Appearance' window (Fig 4) and repeat the procedure for any other 'Items' you want to customise.

You can also change the colour of the text that appears on some 'Items', for example the text colour for 'Menu'. If it is possible to do this for a particular 'Item', the second row of buttons (below the 'Font' header) will become active. Click on the drop-down button under 'Color' or press Alt + R. Then, follow the same procedure as outlined above for changing 'Item' colours. For a more detailed guide, see Changing fonts in Windows Vista.

When you've made all your changes, click the 'OK' button or press Enter to return to the 'Appearance Settings' window (Fig 3). Click the 'Apply' button or press Alt + A to see how the changes look. If you are satisfied, click the 'OK' button or press Enter to finish.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

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