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Microsoft Word dark mode is getting a big update to reduce your eye strain

Two of the most widely used apps are getting a dark mode to take it easy on your eyes when working late.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

Microsoft Word and Google Search are both, separately, getting more extensive dark-mode options to make documents and the web more comfortable to work with at night. 

Microsoft said its new features are intended to improve the experience for people working long hours on its word processor app in Office 365. 

"As we log long hours with our screens, it has become increasingly important to reduce eye strain and accommodate light sensitivity," said Ali Forelli, a program manager on the Microsoft Word team

"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 Officer Insiders and we're excited to make it happen."

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Until now Word offered a dark ribbon and toolbar, but the document itself was a glaring white. Word was late to the dark theme movement.   

Word users can turn on Dark mode in the canvas by going to: File > Account > Office Theme > Black.

As expected, after the setting is changed, the previously white page color goes dark grey or black. 

Colors within the document are adjusted to a new color contrast, while red, blue, yellow, and other colors are adjusted to remove glare and make these brighter colors mesh better with the new dark background.

Microsoft has considered dark mode in the context of people still printing documents: the black canvas doesn't change the color a document will be printed. 

Currently, dark mode is only available to Insider Beta Channel users running Version 2012 (Build 13518.10000).   

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Microsoft hasn't committed to delivering dark mode to all users. It notes, "sometimes we remove elements to improve them. Though rare, we also reserve the option to pull a feature entirely out of the product."

Meanwhile, Google has been broadening availability of its dark mode for Google Docs after last year bringing dark mode to Docs on Android. The mode can save battery life on smartphones. As reported by 9to5Google, Google is testing out dark mode on the desktop and is looking to make the app follow the system settings. 

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