Themes In Word 2010 Is Grayed Out

Many users experience the problem of having the Themes button grayed out in Word 2010 and don’t know how to fix it. The Themes button lives on the Page Layout tab and looks like this, when available:

Themes Button In Word

When it’s grayed out though, you won’t be able to use it and it looks like this:

Grayed Out THemes Button
Notice that the Theme Colors, Fonts and Effects buttons are also grayed out too. If you need to change the document theme, you are stuck!

Compatibility Mode

Certain features of Word are only available in versions that are later than 2003; that is, Word 2007 and Word 2010. Themes, for example were introduced in Word 2007, and so Word 2003 documents are just not equipped to handle themes. If you open a Word 2003 document in Word 2010, this feature will be disabled and the Themes button will be grayed out.

Additionally, you’ll see the words [Compatibility Mode] in the document title. Read more about Compatibility Mode.

Compatibility Mode In Word

The solution? You should save the document to a newer version. Click the File tab > Save As.

Save As

When the Save As window opens, ensure that you change Save as type to Word Document (*.docx). This format includes all the new features, including themes.

When you perform the save, Word will inform you that you saving to a newer format may cause changes to the layout of the document. Click OK, because we need the newer format to be able to use themes – but before you click OK, check the box to say “Do not ask me again“, if you don’t want to be bothered by this warning in the future.

Newer Format Warning

Click to enlarge

This simple action makes themes available for use in your Word document.