[Fix] Can’t Set or Change Office 2013 Background Image, Automatically Resets to None

We all know about Microsoft's latest Office suite "Office 2013" (codename Office 15) which is currently under development and a free Customer Preview version of Office 2013 is available for download.

Microsoft has made many changes in this new version. The most noticeable change in Office 2013 is its UI. Microsoft has removed Aero glass from Office 2013 to match its interface with Windows 8. Microsoft has also removed colored themes from Office 2013 and has introduced new Metro style background images.

There are currently 6 background images available in Office 2013 as shown in following image:


By default no background image is set in Office 2013 programs but you can set a background image using Office Options. Open any Office program, click on File menu and then click on Options present in left sidebar.

Once you open Options window, you can change the background image using the drop-down box given in Office Background section as shown in following image:


Unfortunately, this method is not working for many people. Every time they try to change the background image and click on OK button, Office automatically resets the background image to None. There is no error message or instruction given to fix this issue.


In fact I also faced this problem in Office 2013 and after a little troubleshooting I found the solution.

The solution is sign in using a Windows Live ID and you'll be able to change or set background image in Office 2013 programs.

To sign in, click on "Sign in" link given below the titlebar buttons or click on File menu and then click on Account option present in left sidebar. Enter your Windows Live credentials and once you complete the sign in process, you'll be able to change background image.

Now you can change the background image using Options window or just click on your username or avatar given below titlebar buttons and select "Account settings" option. The same can also be accessed by clicking on File menu and then Account option in left sidebar.


As you can see in the above screenshot, you can quickly change the background image. It also shows live preview as soon as you hove mouse cursor over the given background images.

So the bottom line is that the background images can only be set or changed if and only if you are signed in using a Windows Live ID otherwise you'll not be able to use them.

In future if you want to sign out from Office 2013, open Account settings and click on "Remove" link given in user information section.

Keep in mind that signing out from Office 2013 will again reset background image to none. Its difficult to understand why a simple option to change background image is available to signed in users only? And if Microsoft really wants Office users to sign in to use this feature, they should put some kind of information or messages so that users can know how to use it. If a user is not signed in, the option to change background image should be greyed out.

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Posted in: Microsoft Office, Troubleshooting

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  • Thank u so much vg. I was having the same problem. Your solution worked like a charm. :D

  • You are genius Vishal. :)

  • cool. I did not know about these backgrounds. thnx for posting it.

  • I was already signed in so never noticed it.

  • But I am not at all happy with 2013 series.
    Few days back I was working in Word.
    I had to insert multiple images into word and I was annoyed at the way new Word 2013 handles it. When I insert multiple images, instead of placing them side by side and moving down if page was small, Word 2013 does it very differently.
    Theyhave surely added many new functionalities in Word 2013 but it is of no use if a user gets annoyed with the basic things.
    They have really messed up the basic functions of Word.

  • @To all who didn't know about this,

    you would all be surprised that I've already known about this ever since I downloaded Office 2013 [beta] on the first day it came out. I've signed in with my Windows Live ID when the [Getting Started] box appeared. That time, as what VG stated, the Office 2013 background was blank. By the time I sign in, the GS box automatically asked me "what design would you like for your [name of Office product]?"

    @Mayank, I'm not sure what you mean but when I inserted and edited my photos, I've encountered no problems nor anything annoying.

    imo, The fact that one has to use a Windows Live ID to customize a basic thing has pretty much turned Office 2013 into something similar to back in Windows 8 testing build days.

  • and the offline user or computer without internet connection just got blank background image??
    Thats an annoying thing!!

  • I would respectfully request that Microsoft restore the ability to create color schemes for Office products just as was the case in Office 2010 and earlier. Likewise, I would respectfully request that Office products restore the ability to insert images directly from a scanner as was the case of Office 2007 and earlier.

  • Worked like a charm....thank you.

  • Hellooo Microsoft!!! Get your act together and add some proper alternatives to your crappy themes. It's flat/ have no contour and ruin my eyes. Th is ten giant leaps backwards!

  • Hi Vishal,

    I am logged on as a live id user but while I can choose among the different background images there is no change to my ribbon background.

    Furthermore, I can't see my menuitems in the toolbar which control "close, maximize, minimize" the window (in the right hand corner) nor can I see the little icons in the toolbar menu which are used to expand for example the Paragraph toolbar.

  • VG

    ^^ Are you using custom DPI settings in Windows?

  • THANK YOU! Was struggling with this for a while. I closed down my Live ID, but I never realized that this would affect even my Office 2013 programs. The White theme was really annoying.


  • Hi Vishal,
    I logged on as a live id but my office background still automatic reset to none...Can you help me?

  • I have the same problem as Hai Le Van.

    As far I can see it is only limited to Word. Whenever I open Excel or Powerpoint the background is still fine, but when I start Word it resets the background for ALL programs... I assume it is a bug that Microsoft needs to fix =/

  • I have an issue with Word 2013

    The .docx documents are showing the Text file icon. I tried to set default association from the Control Panel. It opens with Word(desktop) but the icon doesn't change.

    Also each time I set this option in "Tell me if Microsoft Word isn't the default program for viewing and editing documents", it does not get set. Word gives me the option to select the default extensions to choose, but the window never opens. It is working with Powerpoint and Excel but not Word.

    Any help.

  • VG

    ^^ Try to repair Office from Programs and Features.

  • I singed in but it's still problem. Do you have another solution? :(

  • This worked perfectly - thanks!
    If only there was a greater variety of backgrounds...

  • It is important you sign in on your Office application installed on your system and not your online edition. Best is to open Word 2013 or Excel 2013 and in the above-right corner click on your name to check if you're properly signed in. Just noticing your name isn't enough, click on it to be sure.

    When you have recently changed your Live ID password it may seem as if you are still logged in but when you click on your name in the above-right corner you'll be notified there is a problem logging in. Just resign-in and there is your preferred background again.

  • I'm beyond frustrated with this particular "feature". All three of these non-themes are just varying degrees of WHITE. I don't necessarily need color, in fact I prefer less. BUT I WANT CONTRAST. I don't want to have to change my monitor's default settings because - surprise - I actually use programs other than Office. Does Microsoft think we're all children and can't handle options? I hate Microsoft more and more with every update - be it Office OR Windows. Get a clue Microsoft!

  • Many many txs VG !! I'm now free from that awful white scenario !!

  • I agree with Deb. Whatever happened to a little color and contrast. The background helps slightly but I hate that the title bar blends in to the rest of the document now. So far I'm not liking a lot of things about 2013. I can't change the icons for the Quick Access Tool bar without a degree in computer science apparently so I have a lot of green circle icons - not useful at all. So many things that used to be one click now take 3 or 4. Every iteration of Microsoft seems to get worse.

  • what a relieve to find the solution here, thank you so much!

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