In Windows settings users can make simple combinations of colours and photos.

Yet there is much more potential, when editing .theme files directly. There was a kickstarter project "Customatic", trying to create a theme-editor, but it seems that was given up.

I am looking for a dedicated editor, ideally with a GUI which gives live previews as the file (or theme pack) is being edited.

I am aware that any text editor can be used to edit some definitions but there are many things to be considered. For example how to generate a valid new theme id like this: ThemeId={885FBC04-A22E-49A6-9450-07E30B2AC6BC}

My motivation is not to make yet-another pretty-pack (there are hundreds for free download on the MS Store, I know). I need to get an old paid installation of CorelDraw hacked to make it useable on Windows 10. This is about contrast, an aspect not available via Windows Personalization. When I manually tweaked some themes, I badly damaged my Windows (start menu and start button gone). So I would muchly appreciate a dedicated editor with some inbuilt know-how.

Plan B:

If nothing is out there, I would like to find syntax highlighting definitions for .theme files (for mainstream editors like Notepad++ or Sublime Text 3 or Kate). Or more documentation please.

If you want to know more about what is involved, have a look here: This (Microsoft) document discusses the format of Theme (.theme) files.

Although the user who gave me that link states:

... clearly not written for Windows 10 because not all of the attributes are the same, and even then not everything is explained completely

1 Answer 1


Have you tried enabling high contrast themes in Ease of Access Settings (Settings > Ease of Access > High Contrast)?

Also, these themes, inspired by the old Windows Classic themes, might also help.

Also, probably less useful to you is Open Shell (based on Classic Shell), which allows for extensive Start Menu and Taskbar customization, as well as bringing some older features back to Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.

  • 1
    Yes, I have tried "high contrast". I would make the Corel menu visible - but would give me brain-cancer in one afternoon. I cannot concentrate and do meaningful graphic-work in Corel, when my entire Windows goes zombie-contrast. That is why hacking the theme will allow just to tweak one detail - it even worked until my machine stopped responding to the start menu. Thanks anyway. Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 23:02
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    Thank you for the link to "these themes" where I found this information: "Note that High Contrast Themes use a different engine – they allow you to select different colors for different interface elements, while the standard Windows 8 themes only allow you to select a single color." Which I will persue if no full answer will come up here. So I give you +1 for useful input and say thanks. Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 13:19

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