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New dark mode in Microsoft Word

Word 365 for Windows now has an even darker dark mode option which changes the page area to black with white text.  Until now ‘Dark Mode’ only applied to the ribbon and other interface areas, not the document area.

The newly extended Dark mode only changes the look on the edit screen – what Microsoft calls the Canvas. Of course, the printed or Save to PDF page still has a white background (or whatever you’ve selected). 

Switch Dark Modes

It’s easy to switch Dark Modes, there’s a new ‘Switch Modes’ button on the View tab.

Turn Dark mode on

That switch only appears when Office is in Dark Mode.  That’s set from  File | Options | General | Personalize … | Office Theme.

Choose Black or ‘Use System Setting’ (with Windows in Dark mode) to enable.

Disable dark mode – is a strangely worded option. What it really does is disable the ‘Switch Modes’ button on the ribbon and leave the edit area with a white background.  Should really be called something like ‘Disable dark page’. There’s clue that a label change is in the works.

This all applies if the page background is white.  Changing the page background to another color (not shades of grey) still works on-screen.

Color adjustment

Changing the on-screen page background isn’t a simple as you might think.  The much darker background canvas alters the look of text colors.

According to Microsoft “… reds, blues, yellows, and other colors will be shifted slightly to mute the overall effect of the color palette and look more visually pleasing with the new dark background. “

Keep that in mind if you’re publishing to an onscreen format like a read-only Word document or PDF. 

The current builds have some strange behaviors with shades of grey canvas backgrounds.  But that kind of thing is to be expected in a beta build.

Doogie Howser mode

It’s no Doogie Howser mode aka ‘Blue background, White Text’ that was in early versions of Word.

Who gets it?

Darker Mode is in Word 365 for Windows Insiders Beta v2012 Build 13518.10000.

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