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Personalize your Office 365 experience by selecting themes

Lawrence Chiu is a senior product marketing manager for the admin experience on Office 365.

Who we are has always been important to both organizations as well as individuals. As organizations, we want to reaffirm our brand and foster positive relationships with our customers. As individuals, we want to show our personalities and preferences. Office 365 will now support your ability to both customize and personalize your Office 365 experience by using themes.

Rolling out over the next few weeks, two types of themes will become available. As an Office 365 admin, you will have the ability to create custom themes for your organization and, at the same time, your users will have the ability to personalize their experience by selecting an Office 365 theme.

Also, we recently rolled out improvements to your navigation and notification experience. The Office 365 top nav bar has been improved to provide quick access to more of your Office 365 services and to show more notifications cross-suite to help you stay connected to your email, reminders, and more.

Strengthen your brand by creating Office 365 custom themes

The goal of branding your organization is to establish a positive association with your organization and positive relationships with your organization’s users. Consistent and repeated visual identity reaffirms your brand. By adding the ability to create a custom theme for your Office 365 environments, Office 365 can help you strengthen your brand visually. You can upload a custom logo and URL, so that your users are only a click away from your websites. You can also reinforce the look and feel of your organization by selecting the colors of the Office 365 nav bar, its menu labels, and the Office 365 logo.

Setting your organization’s custom theme is simple. Click your company hyperlink on the top right hand corner of the Office 365 admin dashboard, right under the top nav bar, and then make your logo, color, and other selections.

Manage custom themes for your organization

Personalize your Office 365 experience by selecting themes

By default, individuals in your organization can personalize their Office 365 environment. You can change the default theme easily by selecting from a list of 22 pre-defined themes. The themes can change the top nav bar and menu colors as well as add a background image, Office 365 logo color, and more.

You set your theme by selecting the settings icon in the top nav bar and clicking Change theme.

Manage custom themes for your organization 2

Updated top nav bar

The recently updated nav bar now appears across your Office 365 environment, giving you the same look and feel regardless of which Office 365 service you’re using.

To give you more visibility into your services and quicker access to them, the updated nav bar dynamically scales to the width of your display. Previously, the maximum number of Office 365 menu items displayed in your top nav bar was six, regardless of how much space was available. With the updated nav bar, the number of Office 365 menu items available dynamically changes depending on the available space. If your window is wide enough, the nav bar displays all of the Office 365 services available to you and your users. If there isn’t enough space to display all the menu items, the menu items drop off the nav bar into the more menu (the ellipsis).

We know you and your users use Office 365 across your devices, so we updated the top nav bar to improve navigation on touch devices, too, by making it slightly taller.

Finally, to give you and your users a more personalized experience, we added a place for your photo. If you have an Exchange mailbox, your photo appears on the updated nav bar now, instead of your name.

nav bar

Stay informed across your services

We made another improvement to your Office 365 environment, too, to help you and your users stay productive. Previously, you and your users would receive notifications only within the service you were using. For example, you would receive new mail messages only when you were using the Outlook Web App and not when you were working in SharePoint Online. You now receive notifications for new mail, reminders, and system alerts in all your Office 365 services.

More to come

With the new Office 365 themes, navigation, and notification improvements, you’ll have new ways to strengthen your organization’s visual identity and maximize the productivity of your users with services that are increasingly easy to use.

Stay tuned to the Office 365 for business roadmap, this blog, and Message Center for more service updates.

—Lawrence Chiu

Frequently asked questions

Q. Which Office 365 plans will get these enhancements?

A. These enhancements will roll out across all Office 365 plans starting today. The rollout will take several weeks to complete.

Q. Can I, the Office 365 admin, disable end-user theming?

A. No. At this time, Office 365 does not support this capability.

Q. Are Lync notifications supported cross-suite?

A. At this time, Lync notifications are supported only when you are in the Outlook, Calendar, and People services.


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