How to change the colours in Windows 7

This page explains step-by-step how to change the colours of window borders, text and other graphical elements in Windows 7 for Aero, high-contrast and other themes.

Note: The 'Ease of Access Center' has replaced 'Accessibility Options' (which was used in earlier versions of Windows) in the 'Control Panel' of Windows 7. For more information, read the Introduction to the Ease of Access Center.

Video how to guide

Text version

Changing colours in Windows 7

Change your colours

Step 1: Open the 'Personalization' window

You can open the 'Personalization' window (shown in Fig 3) by right-clicking anywhere on the desktop and selecting 'Personalize'. If you are unable to do this, use the following alternative method. Otherwise, go to Step 2.

Open the 'Ease of Access Center' window by pressing the Windows key + U, or by 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 'Personalization' window shown in Fig 3.

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

Step 2: Choose a colour theme

In the 'Personalization' window (Fig 3), you can choose to use an existing theme, including high-contrast themes.

Fig 3'Personalization' window

To customise a theme's colours, scroll to the the bottom of the 'Personalization' window and click on the 'Window Color' icon, or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter. If you are using an Aero theme, continue to Step 3. If you are using another theme, go to Step 4.

Step 3: Change your colour scheme (Aero themes)

If you are using an Aero theme, when you click on the 'Window Color' icon as described in Step 2, the 'Window Color and Appearance' window shown in Fig 4 will appear.

Fig 4'Window Color and Appearance' window

You can change your Aero colour scheme by clicking on one of the colours.

You can also customise your colour scheme by changing individual colours for text, windows and other graphical elements. To do this, click on 'Advanced appearance settings', or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter, to open the pop-up 'Window Color and Appearance' window (shown in Fig 5).

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

Step 4: Customise your colour scheme

In the pop-up 'Window Color and Appearance' window (Fig 5), click on the drop-down list under the 'Item' header or press Alt + I, then use the mouse or arrow keys to scroll through the list of items.

Fig 5Pop-up 'Window Color and Appearance' window

For example, if you select 'Window' from the list, you can change its colour by clicking on the drop-down button under 'Color 1', or by pressing Alt + L. This opens a basic drop-down colour palette, shown in Fig 6.

Fig 6colour palette

For more colours, click on the 'Other' button or press Alt + O to bring up the 'Color' window shown in Fig 7.

Fig 7'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. Press the Spacebar to select it.

Click the 'OK' button or press Enter to return to the pop-up 'Window Color and Appearance' window (Fig 5) 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.

When you've made all your changes, click the 'OK' button or press Enter. If you are not using an Aero theme, this will return you to the 'Personalization' window (Fig 3).

If you are using an Aero theme, you will return to the main 'Window Color and Appearance' window (Fig 4). Click on the 'Save changes' button, or press Tab until it is highlighted and press Enter to return to the 'Personalization' window.

Your customised theme will appear at the top of the 'Personalization' window with the name 'Unsaved Theme'. Click on 'Save Theme', or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter. This will open a dialogue box. Type in a name for your theme and click 'Save' or press Enter.

To finish, close the 'Personalization' window by clicking on the red close cross or by pressing Alt + F4.

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.

Back to How to guides - I can't see very well

More ways to: Change your colours

Change the colours in your browser

For example, Internet Explorer or Firefox

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.