How to Enable Dark Mode in Microsoft Office

Though Microsoft Office has a dark mode, you may have noticed that it doesn’t apply by default. Even if you have your Windows 10 theme set to dark, Microsoft Word will burn your retinas with its bright white coloring.

Activating the dark theme for Microsoft Office


Thankfully, it’s not particularly difficult to enable dark Office. All you need is A Microsoft 365 subscription. Even better, you can enable Outlook dark mode, Word dark mode, and Excel dark mode by changing your theme in just one of the apps. Microsoft automatically carries your Office themes across the suite for a unified experience. You can even add additional patterns to suit your preferences.

If you’re a web user, you, unfortunately, can’t enable Office 365 dark mode using your regular web app or browser settings. In this guide, however, we’re going to show you how to install a handy plugin that will have a similar effect. 

How to Turn on Microsoft Office Dark Mode via Microsoft Word Themes

You can follow the steps below on any Office 365 application, but we’ll be using Microsoft Word. To make following the tutorial easier, we recommend you also enable Microsoft Word dark mode first.

  1. Open Microsoft Word and press the “File” button in the ribbon

  2. Click “Account” and enable Word dark mode

    After clicking “Account” in the search bar, look for the “Office Theme” header. Click the drop-down underneath it and select one of the Microsoft Word themes. We’ll be showcasing all of the Office themes below, including the two Word dark mode options.

  3. Option 1: Dark Gray

    The “Dark” gray theme really has more light gray in it. Though some elements are dark, most are a pleasant middle-ground.

  4. Option 2: Black

    Contrary to what you’d expect, the “Black” option doesn’t turn everything pure black. Instead, most UI elements are a dark gray that tends to be a bit easier on the eyes.

  5. Option 3: White

    “White” is similar to the default Office theme, but it replaces the off-white background with a pure white and gets rid of any coloring on the Office ribbon.

  6. Option 4: Use system setting

    This is the one we’d recommend for most people. With it, your Microsoft Office themes will change to match your system preferences. This means that if you change your Windows 10 theme in the future, you won’t have to change your Excel, Word, PowerPoint, or Outlook dark mode separately.

  7. Check your Excel dark mode

    Open Excel and you’ll notice that the dark Office theme has been automatically applied to the ribbon and other UI elements.

  8. Check your PowerPoint dark mode

    If everything is applied correctly, your Office 365 dark mode settings should have carried over to PowerPoint.

How to Personalize Your Microsoft Office Background

Sadly, the default Office 365 interface can be a bit plain. You can further modify your Office themes to include patterns like clouds, circles, stars, and more. Here’s how:

  1. Press “File > Account” and change your Office background

    Open Microsoft Word and press “File”, then click “Account” on the sidebar. Find the “Office Background” heading and click the dropdown to choose from one of the options.

    You can see the calligraphy option below, and we’ll show you the rest in the next steps.

  2. Option 2: Circles and Stripes

  3. Option 3: Circuit

  4. Option 4: Clouds

  5. Option 5: Doodle Circles

  6. Option 6: Doodle Diamonds

  7. Option 7: Geometry

  8. Option 8: Lunchbox

  9. Option 9: School Supplies

  10. Option 10: Spring

  11. Option 11: Stars

  12. Option 12: Stars

  13. Option 13: Tree Rings

  14. Option 14: Underwater

How to Enable Microsoft Office Dark Mode in Office Online

If you use Office Online, you won’t have the same Office 365 dark mode menu. Instead, you’ll want to use a third-party plugin. There are a few that can provide dark Office themes, but our preference is Night Eye as it works in all of the major browsers.

Here’s how you can install and use it:

  1. Find the correct extension for your browser on the Night Eye site

    Go to the Night Eye website and press the “Install” heading in its navigation bar, selecting your browser. We’ll be using Microsoft Edge.

  2. Click “Get” to install the extension

    You may need to accept an additional security prompt before it can install.

  3. Visit Office online and change your Night Eye theme to “Dark”

    Go to Office Online’s Excel page and click the Night Eye icon next to your address bar. Press “Dark” to enable Excel dark mode. The theme should automatically apply to your other Office apps.

Now you should know how to turn on Microsoft Office dark mode in any version of its apps. However, you may still want to know how to change background color in Word or change your taskbar color to match your new themes.