Outlook.com Gets New Dark Mode

Posted on July 25, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Outlook.com with 32 Comments

As promised, Microsoft is launching the new dark mode for Outlook.com today. The company teased the new dark experience for Outlook on the web earlier this month, and it’s now bringing the experience for everyone after multiple prototypes and iterations.

Outlook.com’s new dark mode is based on the Halloween theme the company implemented to celebrated Halloween last year. Since then, the company has iterated on the design to help bring a permanent dark mode to Outlook.com, with an improved look. The new dark mode actually looks really good, and it even works for the email reading pane, too.

Microsoft says the company’s research showed users are less likely to suffer from eye strain when the reading pane is dark like other parts of the application. However, if the reading pane features a light background, users are more likely to suffer from eye strain. That’s the reason Outlook.com’s dark mode will automatically try to implement a dark background for your emails, but there’s a “Turn off the lights” feature that lets you view the original design for an email when you want to. This is crucial for when Outlook.com breaks the design of certain emails when the formatting breaks because of the dark background.

Another interesting fact about the dark mode is that it isn’t implemented as a theme — instead, it works as a separate mode. Redmond wants to add themeing support to the dark mode eventually, so you will be able to use different themes with the dark mode. Right now, though, it only works with the default theme.

If you are running the new Outlook.com, you will be able to enable the new dark mode simply by going to the app’s settings.

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Comments (36)

36 responses to “Outlook.com Gets New Dark Mode”

  1. SherlockHolmes

    I wonder how long it will take for Paul to get it ;-)

  2. UbelhorJ

    Great! Now do it on the mobile app where I actually read my mail.

  3. Daishi

    This doesn't work with Internet Explorer. Genuinely WTF?

  4. randallcorn

    The way to the future is in the past!

  5. truerock2

    My Windows desktop has been solid black for at least 20 years. I find solid black backgrounds to be easier on my brain. I'll switch any app to a "dark mode" that has it.

  6. Munsey Slack

    For me, it seems that I started preferring dark mode within the last 3-4 years. I also started wearing reading glasses, which may contribute to the issue. In comparing the standard light mode vs. dark mode on Outlook.com, the black/charcoal text seems to have more glare and be more "fuzzy" in light mode than the white text does in dark mode. Maybe the gravitation to dark mode preference is due to the higher resolution of monitors? Now that it's easier to make the white text sharper and more clear on high DPI, it's easier to see. Also, when I worked for a software company, the majority of people preferred a darker environment that used only indirect lighting. The typical fluorescent lighting can be painful. That would also contribute to a preference of dark mode since people are working more in darker locations.

    Just my $.02.

  7. nschaper05

    Finalllllyyyyy!!!!! :D

  8. Durishin

    Awesome! Funny, I just read an article yesterday that Gmail is going to get whiter still! Alphabet must be in collusion with the American College of Optometrists.

  9. Brazbit

    Excellent. Now if only you could switch the entire browsing experience.

  10. karlinhigh

    Dark Modes seem to be "in" lately. I applaud the offered choice and understand the attraction for many users. I can generally use either light or dark modes with no difficulty.

    But there were operating systems in the past that were heavily dark-mode. And then the first Macintoshes came along. The first sentence of Steven Levy's book "Insanely Great" is this: "What I first remember was the light." Apparently the light-mode Macintosh was The Future, and any Legacy dark-mode OS was compared unfavorably with it.

    Is dark mode objectively better for users? Or is light mode vs dark mode just a fashion cycle that's making DOS be in style twice without having changed?

  11. andrewtechhelp

    Interesting: Mail, People & Photos all seem to be out of beta (in that, the Beta Switch is gone now and I can't switch back to the old view - which is fine). However you can still on Calendar. Going to assume this is the case because you still can't search the Calendar yet in the Beta.

    Also interestingly the Tasks view still retains the old view - it's never been updated. I'm starting to wonder if this Outlook Tasks view will just be replaced by Microsoft To-Do. These Outlook Tasks already sync with the Microsoft To-Do tasks (so all the tasks entered in there should already be in To-Do, that worked from day 1 of To-Do's launch) and features from To-Do (like Steps) don't show up here in the Outlook Tasks view, so to me it kind of signals that this part of Outlook.com will be replaced by To-Do at some point.


  12. harmjr

    I hope the put more work in to this. I dont like Dark Mode and Light normal mode is too bright can't we get a middle mode like on Amazon Kindle app?

  13. CatalinMBanica

    not working on Edge for Desktop

  14. Chris_Kez

    It appears this only works on desktop web, not mobile Safari or Edge. They really need to bring dark mode to the Outlook app and to the email reading pane in the Windows 10 Mail app.

  15. Darekmeridian

    Is Windows getting too Dark now? ?

    So I guess Thurrott.com gets Dark Mode next?

  16. Usman

    Considering this on the Office Fabric / Fluent web css framework, I wouldn't be surprised to see it on other products/services.

  17. Sam Brien

    This article is probably longer than the CSS file they changed.

  18. Waethorn

    Already had this in Zoho Mail a couple months ago.

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