How to Change Highlight Colour in Windows 10

How to Change Highlight Color in Windows 10

Windows 7 used classic themes, which allowed users to change the highlight colour. In later versions including Windows 10, there are no classic themes which and most people find it challenging to change the highlight colour. This article will teach you how to change both the background and text highlight color for all system apps, Windows and dialogs.

Default Windows 10 Highlight Colour

When using built-in themes in Windows 10, the default highlighted text colour is white while the background is blue. You will also notice the background highlight that is out of focus is gray. The default colours may vary slightly depending on the version of Windows 10 you are using. Whether you want to prevent eyestrain or for whatever reasons you want to change the colours to a different one, there are two ways of working this out 

Option 1: Using High Contrast Themes

High contrast theme is an easy access feature in Windows 10 that uses distinct colors to make text and apps easier to see. To switch to the High contrast theme:

Go to the Start Menu and click the gear icon or press the ‘Win + I’ keys on the keyboard to open the Settings app.

Select the “Ease of Access” settings and on the left pane click the “High contrast” option 


Under the “Use high contrast” section, switch the toggle button on. 

Click the down facing arrow under “Choose a theme and select one of the high contrast themes from the listed themes.


Here you can customize the theme by modifying the colours of various items including:

‘Text’ - will change the colour of the normal window text.

‘Hyperlinks’ - will change the colour of the links on Windows apps and installed programs.

‘Button Text’ - for modifying the button background and text colour.

Background - to set the general windows background.

‘Selected Text’ - to change the colour of highlight text and background.

We will mainly focus into the details of modifying the ‘Selected Text’ colours but you can try to alter the other settings to personalize your theme.

To change the highlight text colour, click the first box beside “Selected Text” and choose your preferred colour in the resulting colour panel and then click “Done”.

Use the second box to change the highlight background colour. You can play around with the colours while checking the preview next to the boxes until you get the colours that suit your taste. It is advisable to choose contrasting colours for the text and background to ensure that the text is visible.

Once you get the right colours, click the “Apply” button at the bottom of the High Contrast settings page to apply the changes. 

You will be prompted to save the new theme. Type the name of your custom theme and click the “Save” button on the dialog box that appears 


Now close the settings page and check if the changes have been applied. 


Option 2: Changing the Highlight Colour in System Registry

Another way to change the Windows 10 highlight colour is through the registry editor.

Step 1: Opening the Registry Editor

Press ‘Win + R’ keys on the keyboard to open the run utility.

Type ‘regedit’ and press the “Ok” button to open the Registry Editor <Image: RegEdit.png>

Alternatively, go to the Window search bar, type ‘Registry’, and click “Registry Editor” from the search results.

The User Account control popup will appear. Click “Yes” to continue.

Step 2: Navigating the Registry Editor

On the left pane of the editor, click the arrow to expand the folders to navigate to the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes\DefaultColors\Standard” key.

On the right pane, you will find a list of standard default colour values showing the name, type and the value data.

Look for “HighlightText” and double click the value to edit


You will require the hexadecimal value for your preferred colour.

Step3: Getting the Colour Value Data

The color value is an 8-digit hexadecimal value representing the RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) code. For instance, the default highlight colour in windows 10 is dark blue and the REG_DWORD value is ‘00d77800’ where d7 represents Blue, 78 is Green and 00 is Red. Note the arrangement of the RGB code starting with 00, blue, green then red.  You can use the MS Paint 3D program to get the hexadecimal value of a specific colour.

Open the Windows Paint 3D program and on the right panel, select the colour of choice. Click the button to edit colour to select a custom colour.

Below the on the left side of the colour pallet, you can see the preview of the select colour, the RGB value and the Hexadecimal value.

For the instance in this article, we want to change the colour of the highlighted text to Yellow. The RGB code (RedGreen and Blue) is 255 242 0 while the hexadecimal code is fff200 as shown in the image below 


Note down the hex value in pairs ff - Red, f2 - Green and 00 - Red.

Step 4: Changing the Value Data in Registry Editor

Go back to the registry editor window. Type the colour hexadecimal value for your preferred colour in the “Value data'' text box with the pairs in reverse order for our case ‘00f2ff’.

Click “Ok” to save the changes. You can choose between the “Decimal” and “Hexadecimal” value using the “Base” radio buttons 


Repeat the same process to edit the “Highlight” value to change the highlight background colour.

Now close the Registry Editor, press the ‘Win +L’ keys to lock screen and come back. You can also restart the PC to effect the changes.

Confirm whether the highlight colours have been changed 



Unlike Windows 7, Windows 10 does not have the classic themes, which gave users the option to change the highlight colour in the appearance settings. Fortunately, if you need to change the background and text highlight colour in Windows 10, you can follow the steps in the guide above. However, we caution users not to tamper with the registry settings unless they are sure of their actions.

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