By: Nick Gambino

If you spend a hefty amount of your day sitting in front of your computer sending and answering e-mails, you know how harsh that can be on the eyes. Now if your e-mail service is, then you’re in luck. Microsoft just announced a new Dark Mode that’ll allow you to turn down the lights on the bright application.

The company experimented with this concept around Halloween last year, but after working out a few kinks they’ve finally released it as a fully integrated functionality. Working with various shades of grey instead of bright whites, the service considerably cuts down on eye strain. Microsoft wouldn’t be the first to embrace the dark side as other apps and companies like IMDb and Apple have found the option to deliver a more pleasant reading experience.

You can toggle Dark Mode on and off from the quick settings drop-down menu on the top of your screen. Click the little gear icon and switch it on. I should note, it looks like you have to be working with the beta version of to have access to Dark Mode. If you haven’t switched over yet, just move the slider to “Try the beta” on the top right of your screen.

Currently, Dark Mode only works with the blue theme. So if you’ve got the black or “Lego” or beach theme, you won’t be able to turn it on. Now, Dark Mode is not a theme in and of itself though Microsoft did consider making it one.

“We quickly concluded that the way most people would expect themes to work and the way Dark Mode works were fundamentally different,” Microsoft explained in their announcement. “Also, we imagine that there would be a dark experience for all available themes in the future, so having Dark Mode be a separate toggle would facilitate that.”

If you do receive an e-mail that doesn’t look right in Dark Mode or you’d just prefer to see it in a brighter setting, you don’t have to go through the “trouble” of switching off Dark Mode altogether. They’ve added a flexible functionality of sorts to work with you in that scenario. Just click on the specific e-mail’s drop-down menu and you’ll see a “Turn on the lights” option. Click that and the e-mail will light up while the panes and rest of remain dark. If you want to make it dark again click “Turn off the lights.”

I’m sure we’ll see expanded options with Dark Mode in the future but for now there’s a solution for your aching eyeballs.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.