Microsoft 365 subscription comes with bunch of apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc. By default, all these Office apps will open with a white background and black color font. In our earlier articles, we have explained how to customize the theme settings of Microsoft Word and Excel. However, do you know that you can use night mode or dark mode in Office apps? In this article, we will explain how to use dark mode in Office apps for Windows and Mac based on Microsoft 365 subscription. The process remains same for Office 2019 apps as well.
Night Mode or Dark Mode
Many of us spend considerable time in making presentation slides, writing emails, preparing spreadsheets or document. The white background color may annoy you when working with Office apps during nighttime. Dark mode can help to ease your eyes from straining too much when working with dim environment. Good part is that Word and other apps will follow the system setup in Mac and Windows to use light or dark mode. In addition, you have additional controls to apply for specific apps.
Enable Dark Mode in Microsoft Office Apps for Windows
Unfortunately, using dark or light mode in Windows will not directly affect the look of Microsoft 365 apps. What you can do is to choose dark mode for apps from Windows settings. This will force all apps like Word to use dark mode regardless of Windows color mode.
- Press “Win + I” keys to open Windows Settings app.
- Navigate to “Personalization” tab and select “Colors” option.
- Select “Custom” for “Choose your mode” setting.
- This will open additional options for Windows and apps. Now, select dark mode for apps and select light or dark mode for Windows.
Though this will work, it will also force all other apps like Edge to use dark mode in your computer. If you do not want this, then the correct and best solution is to change the theme from Office backend settings as follows:
- Open any Office app and navigate to “File > Options” menu.
- Go to “General” tab and check under “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office” section.
- Click on the dropdown against “Office Theme” and select “Black” option.
- If you do not want to change the page color, then check “Never change the document page color” option.
Now that you can see the app is completely changed to dark mode including the ribbon icons and page color. Remember, the selected Office Theme will be applied to all Office apps like Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
Note: If you want to use Windows dark mode settings, then make sure to select “Use system setting” option. However, this has no difference than using dark mode for all apps.
Enable Dark Mode in Microsoft Office Apps for Mac
As mentioned, Office apps will follow your macOS settings for dark mode. So, first make sure you have enabled dark mode in your Mac as explained below.
- Click on the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences…” option.
- You will see lot of icons and click on “General” icon.
- Against “Appearance” section, select “Dark” option.
- You can also choose “Auto” mode for automatically toggle between light and dark mode based on the environment.
When you select “Dark” mode, all your Office apps will immediately change to dark color. Below is how Word for Mac app will look in dark mode. Note that the accent color will not impact third-party apps like Microsoft Office apps. It will only change the title bar and other accent colors in native Apple apps like Pages.
Custom Settings for Office Apps in Mac
Now that you have enabled dark mode and you may find there are two problems not resolved. One is the background color which still shows white. Second is that you want to exclude any specific Office app to work in light mode while other apps to follow dark mode. Fortunately, Office for Mac allows you to do these two things easily. Here we will show with Word and you can do the same with other apps like Excel or PowerPoint. Remember, these settings will be applied only to the specific app and not for all Office apps.
- Open Word for Mac and go to “Word > Preferences…” section or press “Command + ,” shortcuts keys.
- Check under “Personalize” section and select “Turn off Dark Mode” option.
- If you want to have a dark background color then select “Dark Mode has a dark page color” option.
In this way, you can either turn off dark mode only for Word or use dark black background with white text while using dark mode.
Changing Background Color in Word
If the white background is your only problem, then you can change the page color in Word without using dark mode. Though this works both in Windows and macOS versions, it only works in Word app.
- Open Word and go to “Design” menu in the ribbon.
- You will find “Page Color” on the right end of the ribbon and click the icon.
- Select the color and the document will be instantly showing the selected color as your background.
- You may need to click on the “Colors” dropdown and select suitable color set for improving the readability of the text. Alternatively, you can navigate to “Home” menu and select font size, color and family for your document. If you want to keep the changes for all your future blank documents, then you can save the changes as a theme or set it as your default.
- In Windows Word version, you can also use another simple trick to use dark page color. Simply search “dark mode” in the search box showing on the top title bar. Select “View with a Dark Page Color” option from the “Actions” list of items. This will instantly change the background color of the app to black with the font color as white. However, this change will be temporarily applied to curernt document and will not be available when you save and reopen the same document again.
As you can see in the above screenshots, dark page color will not change the ribbon and other items in Word to dark mode.
Now, you know how to enable dark mode or use other Office themes to get rid of boring and eye straining white background. Good part is that it works on both Windows and Mac versions of Microsoft 365 apps. If you do not want to change the theme, simply change the page’s background color in Word and use it as a default template. However, this may not be a good option as it will not work on other apps like Outlook.
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