Slected Email Highlight Color

Copper Contributor


When I select an email in Outlook on PC, the background color slightly changes to show that you have selected that email. I am visually impared, and this slight change in color is hard for me to see. Is there a way to change the selected email highlight color to a higher contrast color?

Thank you

1 Reply


In Microsoft Outlook, the default settings for the selected email highlight color might not offer the best contrast for visually impaired users. Unfortunately, Outlook doesn't provide a built-in feature to directly change the highlight color of selected emails. However, you can adjust the overall appearance and theme of Outlook, and modify your Windows settings to achieve higher contrast, which can help improve visibility.

Option 1: Change Outlook Theme

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Go to File > Options.
  3. Select the "General" tab.
  4. Under "Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office", choose a different "Office Theme". The available options are Colorful, Dark Gray, Black, and White. The Dark Gray or Black themes might offer better contrast.
  5. Click "OK" to apply the changes.

Option 2: Adjust Windows High Contrast Settings

  1. Open Windows Settings by pressing Win + I.
  2. Go to "Ease of Access".
  3. Select "High contrast" from the left-hand menu.
  4. Turn on "Turn on high contrast".
  5. Choose a high contrast theme from the drop-down menu. These themes change the appearance of many applications, including Outlook, making the highlight color more prominent.

Option 3: Customize Windows High Contrast Theme

If you need to customize the high contrast theme further:

  1. Follow steps 1-4 from Option 2.
  2. Click on the theme link "Choose a theme".
  3. Customize the colors by clicking on the color boxes and selecting your preferred colors for text, background, selected text, button text, and hyperlinks.
  4. Click "Apply".

Option 4: Use a Windows Registry Hack (Advanced)

This method involves changing registry settings to adjust the highlight color. Be cautious with this approach and consider backing up your registry before making changes.

  1. Press Win + R, type regedit, and press Enter.
  2. Navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors

3. Find and modify the values for the keys "Hilight" and "HotTrackingColor" to adjust the highlight color. The values are in RGB format (e.g., "255 0 0" for red).


  • Hilight: Controls the background color of selected items.
  • HotTrackingColor: Controls the color of hot-tracked items, like links.


  1. Double-click on "Hilight".
  2. Change the value to your preferred RGB color (e.g., "255 0 0" for red).
  3. Do the same for "HotTrackingColor" if necessary.
  4. Restart your computer to apply the changes.

Additional Tips

  • Increase Font Size: Increasing the font size in Outlook can also help make selected items more noticeable.
    1. Go to File > Options > Mail > Stationery and Fonts.
    2. Adjust the font settings for new mail messages, replying or forwarding messages, and composing and reading plain text messages.
  • Use Reading Pane: Adjust the reading pane settings to make emails easier to read without having to select them.
    1. Go to View > Reading Pane.
    2. Choose a layout that suits you best (Right, Bottom, or Off).

By adjusting these settings, you should be able to create a higher contrast environment that makes it easier to see selected emails in Outlook. The text and steps were edited with the help of AI.


My answers are voluntary and without guarantee!


Hope this will help you.

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