Office 365 & SharePoint Online – Customize the Suite Bar

The Suite Bar is the thin blue bar that runs at the very top of your Office 365 window with your Outlook, Calendar, People, Yammer, OneDrive, and Sites links. Its your primary navigation to all the different services in your Office 365 Suite of products. Have you ever wished the bar wasn’t blue? Have you ever wanted to add your own logo? Well now you can!
Microsoft has announced a new feature of Office 365 – Custom Themes. Go to your Office 365 Admin Dashboard, click your company hyperlink in the top right corner, then you’ll see options to change the following:

  • Custom logoManage-custom-themes-for-your-organization
  • URL for clickable logo
  • Base color
  • Text and icons color
  • Office 365 logo color

(sorry, you still can’t remove the “powered by Office 365”)
At Perficient, we take pride in our ability to customize your Office 365 user experience with your organization’s brand. We style SharePoint Online in ways that make you think twice if it’s even SharePoint. Our internal design agency team, called Experience Design (XD), has won numerous awards and recognition for the great work they do.
Since the rollout of Office 365, all of our clients have asked – Can we change the blue bar? Most we have successfully dissuaded from doing so, because the Suite Bar has changed frequently. Its one part of the Office 365 framework that Microsoft has updated more than others. So any changes we would make would be over-written should they decide to make a change. For the small handful of customers who didn’t heed our advice on this one, I hate to say it, but I told you so ­čÖé Now all customers have the ability to change the Suite Bar as they so desire.
Personalized Themes
In addition to an Administrator changing the theme for all users, individual users can personalize the bar themselves. Click the settings icon and select Change Theme. This will over-ride any global changes your administrator might have made to the theme. I realize that some organizations might find this frustrating, as they would like to control the theme of the bar across the organization. However, Microsoft is all about putting the user first, prioritizing the user to personalize the experience over the need of the organization to retain control.
You might have notice another enhancement to the Suite Bar – Notifications. Previously, you and your users would receive notifications only within the service you were using. For example, you would receive new mail messages only when you were using the Outlook Web App and not when you were working in SharePoint Online. You now receive notifications for new mail, reminders, and system alerts in all your Office 365 services. (Notice the triangle shaped alert icon with the number 1 below it on the blue bar above)
Make sure to stay tuned to this blog and the Office 365 Roadmap for more upcoming service releases!

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  1. Thanks Joe. Any idea what the rollout plan is for this capability? Seems whatever tenant my O365 site is on does not have this capability available yet. Clicking on the company name in the upper right of my admin portal only displays the company profile form where one specifies the company name/address/contact info – not two options (company profile/custom theming) as your screenshots above indicate.

  2. Hi Josh. It usually takes a few weeks for MSFT to deploy to all the different data centers and tenants. The office blog said they started on 9/2. I would guess by the end of October you should contact support if you still don’t have the new features, but you’ll likely see them sooner.

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