Themes In Outlook Web App (OWA) 2010…

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Exchange 2007 came with four built-in themes and a flexibility to customize as well. Seattle Sky, Xbox 360, Zune and Carbon Black. Well, the settings are the same in Exchange 2010, but users can no longer change the theme. The option to change the theme within OWA is missing and Microsoft has confirmed that the feature is not available in this release.

In OWA 2007, you could change the theme to the one of your choice (if it is allowed by the admin in the first place), by navigating to Options –> General Settings –> Appearance Section.

OWA Theme Change

But, this option is taken off from the Outlook Web App (OWA) 2010. The General Settings doesn’t have the “Appearance Section”.

OWA 2010 Theme Change

I have to mention that you can change the theme centrally for all the users. But, the users can’t change it to something of their choice. You can argue that it will bring uniformity to the Outlook Web App look & feel.

2010 RC has the same themes and folder structure as in 2007. The themes folder has four sub folders (Base,1,2 and 3) which has the files for each theme.

Themes Folder

I ran the following command to change the theme to 1.


The OWA theme 1 looks like a modified version of Carbon Black!


You can change the theme selection to the second one by running the following command, which is a different way of putting it.


Selection 2 gave me XBOX 360 theme.


Changing the theme to 3 gave me Zune.


And the base theme.


Now for the funny part! The feature complete RC edition of Exchange 2010 still has “Theme Selection” option available in the Shell, OWA properties and OWA Mailbox Policies.

Theme OWA Properties

The “Theme Selection” description clearly mentions that users can change the colour scheme if the feature is enabled. Either the team forgot to take the options out or they are planning to add the feature in the future service packs!

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30 thoughts on “Themes In Outlook Web App (OWA) 2010…

  1. Deepak Khandelwal

    Great post and information. I guess they would build this in RTM or SP release later. Again I don't think many people use it.

    Do you know any date when will Exch 2010 will be released?

  2. Anonymous

    I think that this will be a feature of a version yet to come. Take a look in the base folder and you'll find themepreview.png.

    I think this is something they want to spend more time preparing.

  3. Anonymous

    I think that it is the option also for if you use other exchange servers in your organisation. Like you can edit the permission for the exchange 2007 (if someone still has his/her mailbox on the 2007 server including the mail client)

  4. Leigh

    Hi there I have just tried this and got an error not sure where to go from here…

    Any help would be great..

    Enable-MailUser -Identity -ExternalEmailAddress

    VERBOSE: Connecting to
    VERBOSE: Connected to
    [PS] C:Windowssystem32>set-OwaVirtualDirectory "owa " -DefaultTheme 1
    The operation couldn't be performed because object ' ' couldn't be fo
    und on ''.
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (0:Int32) [Set-OwaVirtualDirectory], ManagementObjectNotFoundException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : 5C9461A8,Microsoft.Exchange.Management.SystemConfigurationTasks.SetOwaVirtualDirectory

    [PS] C:Windowssystem32>get-OwaVirtualDirectory "owa " -DefaultTheme 1
    A positional parameter cannot be found that accepts argument '-DefaultTheme'.
    + CategoryInfo : InvalidArgument: (:) [Get-OwaVirtualDirectory], ParameterBindingException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : PositionalParameterNotFound,Get-OwaVirtualDirectory

    [PS] C:Windowssystem32>set-OwaVirtualDirectory "owa " -DefaultTheme 1

  5. keagan oxford

    ksy iv been trying to find a way to do it cuz my boss hase been on my back to find a way to do it… but thnx i just needed to know if i could or couldent do it


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  8. Mohammed Maulana

    You are doing a good job Rajith. I was trying to change the theme from morning by following the different articles but I was able to do it by using your wonderful and friendly article. Keep up the good work.

  9. Rene van de Haar

    Is it possible to give 2 users each there own theme.
    We have a company with 2 company names and styles.
    The first 30 users needed theme 1 and the other 10 users needed theme 2.
    The users are not allowed to change theme.

    1. Rajith Jose Enchiparambil

      Hi Rene,

      You can create multiple OWA Mailbox policies and apply different polices to mailboxes. But, you can only select whether the themes can be changed by the user or not (out of the box). I haven’t done this myself, I will let you know if I come across a way to do this.


    2. Rajith Jose Enchiparambil

      Hi Rene,

      An option will be to create a new OWA Virtual directory and change the settings.
      Configure a default theme as mentioned in my article.
      You will need an additional IP as well.
      I would say to try it in lab first.



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