How To Enable Excel Dark Mode In Simple Steps?

September 21, 2023 3.1K views

Staring at bright screens all day can be tiring on the eyes. The default white interface may become visually fatiguing for Excel users who spend hours poring over spreadsheets. Thankfully, Microsoft has introduced a Dark Mode option that swaps out glaring brights for soothing dark grays. This article will explain how to enable Dark Mode in Excel on Windows and Mac, customizing your workspace for maximum comfort and productivity. Say goodbye to eyestrain, and let us embrace the darkness.

What is Dark Mode in Excel?

Dark mode refers to a display setting that switches the background color of the user interface to darker shades, typically dark gray or black. It changes the appearance of the desktop wallpaper, application windows, menus, and other interface elements to a darker color scheme.

For instance, when enabled in web browsers like Google Chrome, dark mode makes the browser window background, tab bar, toolbar, and drop-down menus black or dark gray instead of the usual white or light gray. The purpose is to reduce brightness, improve contrast, and create a more comfortable viewing experience in low-light environments.

Benefits of Using Excel Dark Mode

Dark mode offers a range of practical benefits, particularly regarding eye health. These benefits encompass diminished eye strain, reduced exposure to blue light, enhanced text legibility, facilitated concentration, and preserved device battery life.

  • Alleviation of Eye Strain

Dark mode proves especially beneficial in dimly lit environments where bright screens can strain our eyes. Enabling dark mode mitigates this concern, fostering a more comfortable viewing experience and relieving eye strain.

  • Mitigation of Blue Light Exposure

The detrimental effects of blue light on eye health are well-documented, with issues like dry eyes and compromised vision attributed to excessive exposure. Moreover, blue light's interference with our natural sleep cycle necessitates caution, as pre-sleep exposure can disrupt rest. Dark mode effectively counteracts such risks, curbing blue light exposure and promoting better sleep quality.

  • Enhanced Text Readability

A salient advantage of dark mode lies in its ability to augment text legibility. The high contrast achieved by juxtaposing dark backgrounds with light text enhances the clarity of textual content, particularly in low-light scenarios, ensuring effortless reading.

  • Improved Focus and Concentration

Prolonged device usage often results in waning concentration and discomfort such as headaches and eye strain. Dark mode counteracts these impediments by mitigating screen glare and fostering improved focus. The heightened contrast inherent to dark mode directs focus towards on-screen content, bolstering concentration levels.

  • Battery Conservation

A study carried out by Purdue University in 2021 underscored the battery-saving potential of dark mode, specifically on OLED screens. Remarkably, dark mode demonstrated the capability to preserve approximately 39% to 47% of battery life at maximum screen brightness. This finding is especially advantageous for individuals conscious of their device's battery longevity.

Steps to Enable Dark Mode in Excel

  • Enabling Dark Mode on Windows 10

Method 1: Using Settings

Step 1: Click on the Start button (Windows icon) at your screen's bottom-left corner.

Step 2: Click on Settings.

Step 3: In the Settings window, click on Personalization.

Step 4: In the left sidebar, select Colors.

Step 5: Scroll down to the "Choose your color" section.

Step 6: From the drop-down menu under the "Choose your color" heading, select Dark.

Step 7: Windows will now switch to Dark Mode.

Method 2: Using Action Center

Step 1: Click on the Action Center icon in the bottom-right corner of the taskbar (it looks like a speech bubble).

Step 2: Click on the Night mode button. It will enable Dark Mode.

  • Enabling Dark Mode on Windows 11

Method 1: Using Settings

Step 1: Click the Start button (Windows icon) at your screen's bottom center.

Step 2: Click on the Settings icon.

Step 3: In the Settings window, click on Personalization.

Does Excel Have A Dark Mode

Step 4: In the left sidebar, select Colors.

Step 5: Choose Dark as a color mode under "Choose a color mode.".

Method 2: Using Quick Settings

Step 1: Click the Notifications & Focus Assist icon in the bottom-right corner of the taskbar (it looks like a chat bubble).

Step 2: Click on the Dark mode button. This will enable Dark Mode.

  • How To Enable Dark Mode On Mac?

To activate Dark Mode on a Mac, start by clicking on the Apple icon in your screen's upper-left corner. Then, choose "System Preferences" from the menu and click on the "General" option within the window that appears. Lastly, you can enable Dark Mode by selecting either the "Dark" or "Auto" option.

Step 1: Click on the Apple logo at the upper-left corner of your Mac's screen.

Step 2: Choose "System Preferences" from the dropdown menu.

Step 3: In the following screen, locate and click "General."

Step 4: Now, at the top-right of the window, adjacent to the "Appearance" option, you'll find "Dark." Go ahead and select this option.

Step 5: Alternatively, you can opt for "Auto." This setting will automatically switch your screen to Dark Mode at night and Light Mode during the day.

Comparing Dark Mode in Excel on Mac vs. Windows

Dark mode functionality in Microsoft Excel differs between Windows and Mac operating systems. While both platforms offer dark mode options, there are distinctions in how these modes function:

  • Windows

In Excel for Windows, dark mode is accessible via the 'Black' theme setting in Office 365 or Office 2021.

When dark mode is enabled in Excel on Windows, it primarily affects the application's interface, menus, and ribbon.

However, the worksheet or slide background in Excel and PowerPoint remains predominantly white, even in dark mode.

  • Mac

On Mac systems, dark mode in Excel and other Office apps is closely tied to the overall system appearance setting.

Users must set their Mac system appearance to 'Dark' in macOS preferences for Office apps to switch to dark mode.

The entire Excel interface, including menus and toolbars, in dark mode on Mac, adopts a dark color scheme.

Unlike in Windows, on Mac, the worksheet background also switches to a dark color, enhancing the consistency of the dark mode experience.

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1. How Do I Change Excel from Dark to White?

Open Excel and select the File tab. Click Options, then click General. Under Office Theme, choose a light color theme like White or Colorful. This will change Excel from a dark theme to a white background theme.

2. How Do I Make Excel All White?

To make an Excel spreadsheet all white, click on the Home tab at the top. Then click on the Font group and open the Fill Color drop-down menu. Select the white color option from the fill color choices. Choosing white will remove any gridlines and make the entire spreadsheet background white.

3. Why Is My Microsoft Excel Black and White?

Microsoft Excel can appear black and white if high contrast mode is enabled in Windows 10. Press left Alt + left Shift + Print Screen on the keyboard can turn this on or off. High contrast mode makes the screen higher contrast for visibility. This causes Excel to display black text on a white background.

4. Why Is Excel All GRAY?

When the 'no fill' option is selected in Excel, it removes any cell background shading or colors. This makes the cells appear grey and plain. The no-fill option is useful when printing spreadsheets to conserve ink or to remove distracting colors. To restore color, simply clear the no-fill option in the format cells menu.


This article outlines the benefits of using Dark Mode in Microsoft Excel, which switches the interface to darker colors to reduce eye strain. It provides step-by-step instructions for enabling Dark Mode in Excel on Windows and Mac operating systems. Though Dark Mode functions slightly differently between platforms, the overall effect is a more comfortable viewing experience.

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