I'm looking for a way to turn the Windows version of OneNote 2013 (or newer) always bright pages to almost black. Default options don't allow to set the background to any dark colors, only very bright. I see OneNote supports modifications in form of add-ins, and I couldn't find any centralized place to search them all. Googling revealed that one workaround is to invert the whole display colors by checking "invert colors" in Magnifying Glass utility (activated by pressing WinKey++). This does not result in a very good picture of OneNote and affects all the other apps, which is also not good.

I also found that setting the system-wide color scheme to "high-contrast black" is somewhat acceptable, but not quite. It still affects the rest of the system, and is not desirable.

If you know an add-in that does the trick, or some way to only affect OneNote app's colors, please post.

The solution should not change the note's actual markup (i.e. should not get saved to file). I'm also using OneNote on android and apparently the actual page color written in the note's markup will be displayed as such on other devices.

  • Are you referring to the note backgrounds (and font color), or the GUI in general?
    – holroy
    Aug 10, 2015 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


It seems like it's possible to do this using macros after you've installed a free admin tool called OneTastic, then you have a list of background macros.

Disclaimer: I haven't tried any of these, yet.

Edit: Maybe your best option is to have light and dark page templates or macros, and change the template or macro when switching from Android to Windows, or start using a background which can be used on both devices.

  • It changes the background of the page to black and the title to "Blackboard". Font color and GUI stay unchanged. 2013 version of OneNote doesn't have a dark theme like 2015, so switching to fullscreen mode is required for complete darkness. Aug 10, 2015 at 20:01
  • Have you tried the background list macro? It looked promising, although not highly rated yet. :-)
    – holroy
    Aug 10, 2015 at 20:04
  • what exactly are you talking about? Aug 10, 2015 at 20:25
  • I'm referring to the macro named "Background Color List", which is another of the macros on referenced list. Maybe that (or one of the others ) works more to your liking than the "Blackboard" macro?
    – holroy
    Aug 10, 2015 at 20:34
  • That macro allows you to select a custom color, which is better than just black. This is nice, but unfortunately both macros change the page's background to selected color even in OneNote for android, which is not something I want. Aug 10, 2015 at 20:45

My other answer gives a way to change the note backgrounds, but the OP wants to change the entire theme. This should be possible according to Change the Office theme, which is the official way to change the GUI of OneNote2013 and the other tools in Office2013.

However, the three choices range from white to not so white, but still very bright (even though it is called dark grey). And in How to change the theme of Office 2013 they have been ranting for 2.5 years on whether it is possible, and why Microsoft don't do anything about it. Still, Microsoft hasn't done anything, and quite a lot of the users has gone back to Office2010, just because of this.

In other words, sadly it doesn't seem there exists good alternative to get a dark theme of the office tools in Office2013 or later as of today (and previews of Office2016).

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