Who in Microsoft decided that the white theme in Office 2013 should be the default? It is almost blindingly bright! I now know what was inside the Ark of the Covenant and why Indiana Jones had to shut his eyes!
But all joking aside, let’s set the Office 2013 Theme with Group Policy and prevent some melted faces!
In order to configure the Office 2013 theme with Group Policy, your machines will need the update for KB 2727096 installed. This update can be found here. Once downloaded, open an administrative command prompt and type: mso2013-kb2727096-fullfile-x86-glb.exe /extract . If you didn’t download the English update, be sure to change your EXE name. Save the EXE contents to a network location.
Open your Office 2013 GPO. If you don’t have one, see this article on settings that you might want to include. Add in your extract MSI so that it is installed at startup by GPSI. Your machines will need to reboot once to install this update and once again for it to apply.
Updating Your Central Store for Office 2013
You’ll will likely need to update your central store as well. In November, Microsoft released updated ADMX files for Office 2013. Those can be downloaded from here. For instructions on updating your Group Policy Central Store, see this link.
With the updated ADMX settings, you can now edit your Office 2013 GPO. Navigate to User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office 2013\Global Options\Customize. Enable Default UI Theme and choose your theme. If you don’t see this option, you do not have the updated Office 2013 ADMX templates installed.
In our environment, Office 2013 is only installed on specific groups of computers. Because of this, we have to use loopback policy processing to enable this setting on those computers.
These two steps will let you set the Office 2013 Theme with Group Policy! If you have any questions or issues, leave a comment below. If you know a way to bring back that black/orange theme from Office 2010 – let me know. You would be my hero!