Many of us spend a lot of time staring at the screen. Unfortunately, this can cause severe eye strain and fatigue. Fortunately, many of your favorite applications have a “dark mode” that can alleviate the problem. Learn how to activate dark mode for some of the most used applications in Windows.
Windows 10 has a system-wide dark mode; however, enabling this feature will not affect any Office applications. Fortunately, starting with Office 2013, every Office application has a built-in dark theme. Unfortunately, the dark theme for Microsoft Office is currently only available on Windows PCs.
To enable the dark theme, click “File” in Word, Excel, Outlook, or PowerPoint. Look for the “Account” option in the side menu. Look for the drop-down box labeled “Office Theme” on the right. You will notice that the default option is “Color”. Clicking the drop-down box will display other options, including dark gray, black, and white. Needless to say, we are more interested in dark gray and black.
Black gives you the darkest theme available, while dark gray uses different shades of gray. Which one you should enable depends on your personal preferences. The theme you choose will apply to all of your Microsoft Office applications. If you are signed into your Microsoft account, it will even affect Office applications on other PCs.
Windows File Explorer
Despite seeming relatively easy, apparently the folks over at Microsoft had a hard time bringing a dark theme to the operating system’s File Explorer app.
To enable the dark theme in Windows 10, go to settings. Choose “Personalization” from there. On the next screen, find the option named “Color” in the gray menu bar on the left, and click on it. “Color” should be displayed in the title on the right side of the screen. Just below the title, you will see “Select the default application mode” followed by “Light” and “Dark”. Clicking “Dark” will automatically apply the dark theme to Windows File Explorer.
Dark themes may be all the rage right now, but Google is already ahead. Gmail has been in dark mode for many years, and activating it is very simple. All you need to do is log in to your Gmail account and find the gear icon in the upper right corner. Clicking on the gear icon will display a drop-down menu with various options to choose from. Unsurprisingly, what you want to click is “topic”.
Here, you will find a variety of different themes to choose from. What you want to try is the appropriately named “dark” and “terminal” options. Dark tends to use various shades of gray, while Terminal uses a purer black. Just choose the one that best suits your needs.
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Like Microsoft Office, Microsoft’s Edge browser also has a dark theme, which needs to be activated separately from the built-in dark mode of Windows 10. Click the menu button (three dots) in the upper right corner of Microsoft Edge. This will cause the menu to slide out from the side of the Edge window. Then click “Settings”. In this menu, you will see a drop-down box labeled “Choose a theme”. Click the drop-down box and select “Dark” to replace the default “Light” theme.
Note that the “dark” theme only changes the Microsoft Edge interface. It will not change the appearance of any web page that you may visit. If you are interested in darkening a web page, you need to install the Edge browser plugin, such as Turn off the Lights.
If Firefox is your preferred browser, then you are in luck. The folks at Mozilla have integrated dark mode into their popular web browser. The best part is that it works on Windows, macOS, and Linux. To apply a darker theme, open the app and click the menu icon in the upper right corner of the window, which looks like three stacked lines. Next, you need to click on the puzzle icon labeled “Add-ons.”
On the next screen, click on the brush icon on the left side of the screen. This will display the available themes for Firefox. There are only three pre-installed themes, default, light and dark. Light has a light gray, while Dark uses a darker shade of gray. Click the “Activate” button next to the theme and choose the one that suits you best. If the pre-installed Firefox options don’t work for you, you can click the “Choose from thousands of themes” link to download more themes.
The logic says that if Gmail has a built-in dark mode, so will Chrome. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Hopefully, at some point in the future, Google will add a dark mode to its super popular browser, but now you have to settle for third-party browser extensions. Dark Reader seems to be the most popular; however, there are others available.
Do you use a dark theme? What apps with built-in dark mode do you use often? Do you think dark mode helps relieve fatigue and eyestrain? Let us know in the comments!