How to enable dark mode in Windows 10

MacOS finally has a dark mode. So does Windows 10 — and here's how to activate it

While the recent buzz is all about MacOS getting a long-sought dark mode, Windows 10 has long had this color-switching capability.

The built-in dark mode turns your windows black, changes the text and icons to lighter colors, and makes everything appear more shadowy. If you prefer to work with darker tones, or simply like the contrasting appearance afforded by dark mode, we’ll show you how to activate the feature with a few simple steps. Read on to find out how.

In a recent Windows 10 update, Microsoft expanded the dark theme to also include all parts of File Explorer. This means you get even more dark for your buck when you enable the dark mode below.

Switching to Windows dark mode

Step 1: Go to “Settings.” You can either type it into the Windows search bar, or click the gear icon in the Start menu.

Step 2: Head to “Personalization,” which features an icon of a paintbrush over a computer monitor.

Step 3: When the window opens, click “Colors” in the left-hand sidebar.

Step 4: Scroll to the bottom of the first section and look for an option that says, “Choose your app mode.” Here, you will have two options: “Light” and “Dark.” Check the bubble beside “Dark.”

Dark Mode Settings

Step 5: Now you will need to pick an accent color. Scroll up to the color palette at the top of the “Colors” window. With dark mode activated, the accent color is even more important to help you find the boundaries of Windows and locate where everything is at a glance.

Windows 10 Colors

We advise you to steer away from the very dark colors, like the dark greens and grays, as they are more difficult to spot. The lighter, more noticeable colors are generally a better bet. The reds are particularly edgy, while the blues add the most visibility. That said, it’s really your decision. The changes are instant, so feel free to click around until you find a color that works.

Keep in mind that many apps also allow you to change color settings for that individual app. So if you find the perfect accent combo, but find that it doesn’t work with your apps, there’s a way to fix it. Head into the app’s native settings, and look for options to change the theme or color mode.

Bonus tip: Change Microsoft Office to dark mode

Office Dark

If you do a lot of work in Office and wish that it could also be darkened, we have good news: It can!

First, head to the “File” tab, and select “Options.” Make sure in the sidebar that you are in the “General” section. Partway down in this section, you will see a heading that says, “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office.”

In this section, one of the last choices should be Office Theme. Select this, and switch it to “Black.” You’re all set!

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