Office 2007 Silver on Windows XP Silver

On Monday, I wrote a little post with a screenshot of the third Office 2007 color scheme, Silver.

I took the screenshot on Windows Vista both because that’s all I had running on my home computer at the time and because I wanted to show some of the integration between the new visuals and Aero glass.

Many of you wrote to me via e-mail asking for additional pictures, particularly ones taken on Windows XP. I don’t have time to take a whole bunch right now (and as I mentioned Monday, the visuals aren’t final quite yet anyway), but here’s one I made for you of PowerPoint 2007 Silver running on top of Windows XP Silver.

PowerPoint 2007 Silver on Windows XP Silver
(Click to enlarge and view full picture)

A few of you asked: “I can’t find the option to switch to Silver, only Blue and Black; where is it?” This new color scheme was added to the product after Beta 2, so you only have Black and Blue right now. In the final product, you will be able to switch among all three schemes.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow you’ll want to stop by, because I’m going to write about what I think is one of the coolest new “finishing touch” features we added to the user interface since Beta 2.

Comments (32)

  1. Une nouvelle qui suit un peu la future mise à disposition d’un nouveau théme pour Vista sans aéro.


  2. Ed says:

    I wanted to let you know I like the little space and differentation between the Office button and the QAT, I think it makes it much easier to find and distinguish.

    I noticed some people didn’t like the new look, but I hope that it is in the final version.

    Also, I really like the new color.

  3. Question: Why wasn’t the Windows XP style (Blue, Silver, Olive) borders used instead of Office 2007 using its own on XP?

    It seems strange, knowing that Office 2007 ribbon apps utilize the borders in Vista (Windows AERO).

  4. Anna Salmonne says:

    I like the new look, but the button in the top left corner is a bit confusing. It’s what WebPagesThatSuck used to call Mystery Meat-navigation: There’s no way to tell what it does before you have clicked it. Is it a button? Is it a handle (used to move the ribbon, like in Office 2003)? Or is it a menu (which I understand it is)? Some visual indication that it was clickable would be nice.

  5. Andre says:

    I don’t like the border around the QAT and that the popup button (place below / customize) is separated from the QAT, it doesn’t look like it has anything to do with the QAT.

  6. Nidonocu says:

    Both silver and black look really nice, and I’m sure there is someone out there who’ll like the blue. 😉

    I personally hope Silver now is set as the default for XP as both the Silver Luna or Classic (grey) seem prefered over Blue Luna.

    Silver also would look alot more professional in a corperate setting where often the ‘first launch’ dialogs have been pre-configured by a system admin and therefor even if you put an option there to choose the skin (which would be nice!) users might not get to see it and be stuck with a scheme they wouldn’t like. Any thought on making the skins more discoverable than they are right now in options?

    Curious as to what this ‘finishing touch’ could be, maybe finally the little secret to make the Office button more obvious that everyone keeps asking about. 🙂

  7. TC says:

    The silver theme looks great! I still think there should be an option to match your OS colors, but this is good enough, and close enough to gray. It’s my favorite theme by far.

    I agree with some of the other people here about the Office button; it’s quirky and non-standard, but so many people have seen it by now, it’s probably not going to change.

    Now, all you need to do is make the title bar and window borders use the standard Windows appearance on Windows XP, much like it already does when you’re using Aero in Vista.

  8. PatriotB says:

    This really isn’t something to be proud of.  This is like talking about Word for Windows 3.1 and saying "hey, if you use the Spruce color scheme, we look okay!"

    There is NO reason that you should have to design these custom skins.  You should derive ALL necessary visuals from the operating system’s visual style and visual metrics.

    "Question: Why wasn’t the Windows XP style (Blue, Silver, Olive) borders used instead of Office 2007 using its own on XP?"

    The answer is simple: The Office team always has to fly in the face of Windows’ UI guidelines and standards.  Whether it’s Office 95’s gradient title bars, or Office 2003’s tubular toolbars.  I don’t know WHAT it is that makes the Office team feel it has to do this.  You can’t say "market research/customer feedback says we shouldn’t use OS themes/colors".

    When you’re writing a Windows program, you get many things for free such as standard title bars, colors, and controls.  You have to *explicitly* choose to go against them.  Which is what Office always does.

    Look at the screenshot.  The title bar doesn’t follow XP *or* Vista visual guidelines.  The status bar doesn’t resemble an XP or Vista status bar.  The scroll bars even!  They aren’t XP *or* Vista style scroll bars.

    Unfortunately this mindset is spreading within Microsoft.  Windows Live Messenger & Live Messenger Mail Desktop both draw their own title bars.  Heck, even, on parts of its web pages, draws/manages its own scrollbars, and even tries to simulate the scroll wheel.  Unfortunately this kind of unnecessary meddling messes up browser-provided functionality such as the IE7’s middle-click to open in a new tab.

    I *urge* those of you in Office to please STOP reinventing the wheel and start following Windows UI guidelines.  It’s amazing that you guys can even get a Designed for Windows logo given these issues.

  9. weevil says:

    Jensen sure has a thing for Australia…

  10. Marcin says:

    I can understand the need for new user interface features, but why you change OS standards. Even my "close" red button in the right top corner is not red. I agree with PatriotB. If Office 2007 team focused on UI – why we still buy UI black sheep?

  11. Centaur says:

    Excellent. Now, please, Office 2007 Classic on Windows XP Classic.

  12. Step says:

    ooh, a teaser!  I’m anxiously awaiting next post now!  I can’t wait till I’m doing all my work in the new Office.  Though I’m sure I’ll have my nitpicks, as almost everyone else above seems to…

  13. Charlie Williams says:

    Anna – "I like the new look, but the button in the top left corner is a bit confusing. It’s what WebPagesThatSuck used to call Mystery Meat-navigation: There’s no way to tell what it does before you have clicked it."

    This isn’t so much of a disadvantage for a productivity application that’s used very often.  A web page may only be seen once or twice, so it’s important for the navigation to be very clear, but users will be in Excel and Word for hours on end.  Users will be quickly get familiar with the "Ofiice Button", since that’s where you go to save, print, open new files, etc.

  14. Charlie Williams says:

    PatriotB – I disagree with you wholeheartedly.

    We don’t need every application that runs on Windows to look exactly the same.  Yes, Office goes against the grain, but who cares?  They have millions of users and gradient title bars and "tubular toolbars" don’t seem to have had a negative impact on productivity.  I understand that you don’t care for the visuals, but it really is impossible to please everybody.  I like what they’ve done here.

    The most radical shift here is the ribbon.  It would certainly be the most likely target for razzing the Office team about.   Except that it works.  It makes things easier to find and use.

    Sometimes different is good.

  15. Have you all seen the non ribbon apps? They are so mismatched! Although I know Visio, Publisher, InfoPath and Project don’t have any need right now for the ribbon UI, at least keep some consistency going with the themes.

    Outlook 2007 is a non-ribbon app and it uses the XP Blue or Vista Black theme when you change it in one of the core apps. Don’t limit the customization to just Access, PPT, Excel and Word.

  16. Claus Jacobsen says:

    As a passionate customizer i strongly agree with Patrick B. Not only will per app skinning slow a computer to a grinding halt, when used on "older" hardware, but it also makes it near impossible for newbies to learn the userinterface. Although a lot have been done to accomodate powerusers with shortcuts, we still use a mouse and have to orientate ourselves on screen. Not only that but compared to some of the creativity shown on the customizing scene, MS-designers really have a lot to learn. (go to and have a look at some of the designs showcased there!)

  17. Carrie says:

    I have more than 30 custom color combinations for my OS. One of the reasons I don’t use the built-in themes is that they have too much white real estate, and white real estate gives me eyestrain. I mostly use off-whites for the window color (I’ve used white text on black in the past but it’s problematic since some schmuck programmer inevitably sets the background color to pale yellow and the text color to default, or some equally low contrast combination). I avoid the eyetrain, but when I print it still comes out as white.

    I’m pretty much stuck with white real estate under the new schemes, yes?

  18. I’ve really jumped on the Vista bandwagon over the last few weeks, testing it on 3 PC’s so…

  19. Cyril says:

    From an Office developer perspective, I completely agree with PatriotB.

    I need to design custom task panes and dislogs on top of Office 2007. With Office 2003, I was relying on Windows XP Color Schemes.

    Now, how can I retrieve the color scheme used by Office 2007 ? Unlike I’m proven wrong, this stuff is undocumented, there is no API to access it. Typical Office.

    Charlie Williams: the point is not being against new stuff. I like the ribbon very much and I think it is a great idea and provides real usability improvements.

  20. Me says:

    I disagree with Claus Jacobsen. It will be EASY for newbies to learn the new interface. As for the website you listed, there are either skins trying to copy Microsoft’s skin (Vista, Office, etc.), skins trying to copy a Mac OS skin (although that one is sort of ugly), or pure ugly skins. I am looking forward to Vista and will definitely buy it when it releases.

  21. Bob says:

    You know, I still have yet to read an explanation from an Office team member explaining the non-standard widgets throughout history. If someone could link me to one I’d appreciate it.

  22. keepITcool says:

    Why not add a color chooser like Media Player?

    So simple.

    Effective too!

  23. 795379 says:

    Below are things that are needed for the Office 2007 visuals to fit into most environments…

    Office 2007 Green on Windows XP Green

    Office 2007 Classic on Windows Classic

    (None of these completed)

    Theme-enabled titlebars that very closely resemble Windows Classic, Windows XP, Windows Vista Basic, and Windows Vista Aero.

    (Only Windows Vista Aero completed)

    Automatic switching of color scheme based on standard Windows themes.

    Follow your own UI design guidelines.

  24. Zach says:

    Just give me a nice standard toolbar, with a nice standard menu, with my nice boring colors, that have a little bit of a contrast between the text and the background….

    And honestly – you do realize men use this stuff to?  You do realize that men will find something else to use, just so they dont have to worry about having someone else see them using this program, and what it might do for their "macho" rep..  That might sound stupid – it is stupid – but its also true.

    I mean what UI expert told you to use a dark shade for the text and a light shade for the background.. of the same color.

    Damnit – this is annoying to look at.

  25. PSBS says:

    Two other color schemes are needed:

    Office 2007 Olive Green on Windows XP Olive Green

    Office 2007 Classic color mode (colorizes the ribbon based on system colors)

    Many people use the Classic and Olive themes in Windows, and they will be disappointed if Office does not match their settings.

  26. Mr. cuong says:

    Please give me link to download, and how to install,