Setting Default Color Scheme in Origin


The above graph uses Origin’s default color scheme: basic_colors


Due to personal preferences and publishing standards, you may often find yourself switching between Origin’s default colors and another color scheme of your own. You can customize the plot colors and save graph template for future use. But what if you want to use the same color scheme for many graph types, line, scatter, column, to name a few. It will be cumbersome to save templates one by one.


Instead of saving templates, you can set default color scheme in graph system theme so no matter what graph type you plot, they will all use the new color scheme.


To change the default color scheme, start by opening the Theme Organizer by pressing F7 or going to Tools>Theme Organizer…. Under the Graphs tab, you should see the Dark Color and Light Grids theme is bolded; this indicates that this is our default system theme.


To modify it, right click it, and select Edit… context menu. Theme Editing dialog opens. You should see a number of folder trees; the color list should appear towards the bottom under Global.


To modify the default color list, click on the colors so ellipses () button appears to its right. This will open the Increment Editor, from here you can either modify the list manually or you can right click anywhere in the table and and select Load Increment List to use one of Origin’s built-in color lists.

Once one has been selected, click OK to close out of the Increment Editor, and in the Theme Editing dialog click on Save As… since Origin doesn’t allow overwriting built-in theme file. Give this theme a unique name, checking the Set as System Theme tickbox to make it the new system theme. Close out of the Theme Organizer and then proceed to plot some data. You should see that the lines, symbols, columns, or other relevant units colored differently with these new settings.


The mechanism behind this is that: Origin uses graph template to plot the graph, then applies system graph theme on it. Therefore even though some other color list may be saved in graph template, the color list in system theme will be applied to override it.

Note: Allowing System Theme to Override is a setting in graph template. Most of Origin’s built-in 2D graph templates have it checked therefore when plotting them, system theme will be applied. All Origin’s 3D graphs and some 2D graphs doesn’t have it checked so no system theme will be applied. If you want to change the settings, you will need to load the template and choose File: Save Template As…. Check the Allow System to Override tickbox in the dialog and save the template.



  • If you are creating your own graph template and doesn’t want to apply system themes after plotting, make sure it’s unchecked.
  • System theme is only applied when creating new graphs. If you already plotted a graph and want to change plot type, e.g. from Line plot to scatter plot, system theme will not apply.
  • Other globalized settings such as font and line thickness can be added to the system template as well by right clicking on the Global node and selecting Add.
  • The theme file is located under \Themes\Graph\ subfolder of your Origin User Files folder. You can share with others. They just need to drag and drop it into their Origin to install it. Then go to Theme Organizer to set it as system theme.

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