Microsoft is Testing a New Dark Mode for Word

Posted on February 9, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365 with 18 Comments

Microsoft Word for Windows is picking up a major improvement to its dark mode implementation: Soon, the writing canvas will be dark as well.

“As we log long hours with our screens, it has become increasingly important to reduce eye strain and accommodate light sensitivity,” Microsoft’s Ali Forelli writes in the announcement post. “Therefore, we’ve extended the Black Office theme to now include your document canvas as well. This has been a long-requested feature from many of Officer Insiders and we’re excited to make it happen.”

Forelli adds that with Dark mode enabled, the previously white page color is now a dark grey/black and that colors within documents are shifted to accommodate the new color contrast, mute the overall effect of the color palette, and look more visually pleasing with the new dark background.

As always, you can change the theme in Word by navigating to File > Account > Office Theme. But Microsoft is also experimenting with a new Switch Modes interface in the Word ribbon that would let you access this functionality a little more easily.

Microsoft is currently testing this feature publicly in the Beta channel of the Office Insider program, but it’s not yet available to all Insiders for reasons that only God and Microsoft know. It’s also leaving open the possibility that if this feature doesn’t test well enough, it could be pulled and not offered in a stable version of Office.


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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Microsoft is Testing a New Dark Mode for Word”

  1. fishnet37222

    So, Word with dark mode enabled won't really be WYSIWYG.

  2. TigerTom

    I've tried dark mode and I just can't get on with it. Seems to strain my eyes more than light mode.

    Plus I just think it's ugly in my opinion.

    I don't even use the light option, nice bit of colour is the right mix for me at any rate.

    I can see a benefit if you've got an OLED laptop to save a bit of juice but that's a pretty niche case at the moment.

  3. crunchyfrog

    I'm waiting for the day they move to plaid mode.

  4. christianwilson

    I have a Weiss ring floater in my eye that is more prominent in my vision on bright screens, particularly in the dark. I use dark mode a lot to minimize having to look through it, so this is good news to me. I am excited for this to roll out.

  5. dkrowe

    I prefer Dark Mode, so any improvements are welcome. Workarounds for copy/paste would be nice as well: using browser in Dark Mode, copy from web page, paste into email...too dark...switch off Dark Mode, copy, paste, switch Dark Mode back on.

  6. j5

    I try dark mode in Office every now and then and it's not a good as other dark modes. It's almost like the high contrast mode.

    I like dark mode because I work late at night and it'll be nice to have everything have a nice consistent dark mode.

  7. dftf

    You could do this right now for every app if you wanted in Windows 10.

    Make sure your Windows and App themes are set to the "Light" variant.

    Then go to Start > Settings > Ease of Access > Colour Filters. Set "Turn on colour filters" to ON. Then choose either "Inverted" or "Grayscale inverted". Now everything on-screen gets inverted: what was white, becomes black, and so-on.

  8. Daekar

    Can't wait for this

  9. jimchamplin

    This is actually fixing a regression bug. Word used to have an option for white on blue, but that was removed for some reason beyond the kin of average people.

  10. kennyb

    Wait, Contoso is a fake city? This whole time I thought it was a fake company.

  11. anthonye1778

    This will definitely be a QOL improvement for me both professionally and personally.

    Now... if only had a native dark mode ;)

  12. mattbg

    Dark Mode + Focus Mode = interesting (to me, anyway).

  13. mclark2112

    Ooooh, fancy. It's like 1989 all over again! White text, black background...

  14. datameister

    I don't use Microsoft Office, but just from looking at the picture, is there also a dark mode that only affects the interface tools and not the content being created? Seems weird to change the paper and text color away from WYSIWYG. Can you imagine if Photoshop did that?

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