How To Change Outlook To Dark Theme/Mode?

Last Updated on December 26, 2023 by Amit Bansal

How to Change Outlook to Dark Mode?

Microsoft Outlook has become a vital tool for managing emails, scheduling meetings, and staying organized in our daily lives.

One feature that has gained popularity in recent years is dark mode, which not only gives a fresh look to the application but also provides several benefits like reducing eye strain and saving battery life.

As we explore Outlook’s dark mode, we will discuss how to enable and disable it, touch on its benefits, and highlight a few related questions on customizing your experience.

Enabling dark mode is a simple process that transforms the default bright background in Outlook to a darker color.

The ease of switching between the standard and dark themes allows users to personalize their experience and choose the appearance that best suits their preferences and environment.

Apart from Outlook, the dark mode has also been implemented in other Microsoft Office applications and various operating systems, making it a popular choice for those who seek a visually relaxing and energy-efficient interface.

Disabling dark mode in Outlook is just as easy as enabling it. By following a few steps, one can revert to the original theme, making it convenient for users to switch between appearances as they deem necessary.

This flexibility caters to the diverse needs of Outlook users, ensuring that their experience remains personalized and enjoyable.

Key Takeaways

  • Enabling and disabling dark mode in Outlook is a simple process
  • Dark mode offers benefits like reduced eye strain and energy efficiency
  • Outlook’s dark mode is part of a broader trend in personalizing software interfaces

What is Outlook Dark Mode?

Outlook Dark mode changes the visibility which is the preferred choice of a few users, dark mode changes the high brightness to low which changes the environment of work and easy to concentrate (might be you enjoy dark mode).

The dark mode is only available in the latest and Microsoft 365 (earlier known as Office 365).

Is Dark mode one step ahead of your eyes? The answer is it depends, some are used to working in a dark environment some preferred bright lights while navigating. The choice is yours.

Dark grey and black themes are the two options in Dark mode for 365.

Switch To Dark Theme in Outlook? [Steps]

It is difficult to work with the light theme in Microsoft Outlook. Sometimes, you need to work on the dark theme so that you can see better at night.

There are some ways to change the outlook theme to the dark theme.

Outlook Office theme By Default uses a system setting that looks like a combination of blue and light grey color, Switching to the dark mode, (two options dark grey and black theme) changes Outlook attire completely.

How to switch to the dark mode

(Image source: codetwo)

Let’s get started to get the (step by Step) method to Turn ON Dark Mode in Outlook.

  • Open Outlook
  • Click on the ‘File‘ Tab from the left-hand corner of the Outlook screen.
  • Click Office accounts from the sidebar.
  • By default, a Colourful theme is selected, you can switch to dark grey or black theme for dark mode in Outlook.
office theme
  •  Once you hit Dark Grey or Black theme options, Outlook switches to dark mode.
dark grey mode outlook

The color scheme is attractive, in case you need the entire Outlook in Black you can go for it, remember the Black theme is too dark.

Black theme

Any change in the theme, not only affects Outlook but the entire Microsoft Office applications on your system, for instance, PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.

Working on other platforms with the dark mode is quite difficult.

There is a second approach to changing the theme to dark mode in Outlook. Here is the step-by-step process.

  • Click File >> Options
  • Now from the “General Category” >> scroll to the “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office” section.
  • For the “Office Theme“, change your desired theme from the drop-down list.
  • Finally, click “OK” to save the changes.
Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office

Dark Grey Theme vs Black Theme

Dark Grey Theme & Black Theme both fall in the dark mode criteria, but the color combination is different Dark grey comes with a light grey and dark grey combination, but the email list background is also light grey, which may be comfortable invisibility.

Opening a mail message in the separate window (reading pane) the background converts to white color. [Refer: Image]

Dark Grey Theme

Talking about the Black theme popularity known as the dark mode is entirely different. The email list, reading pane, and tab list all are dark black.

Outlook Black Theme

Reading Pane in Outlook Dark Mode:

You can turn dark mode on and off when reading a message in Outlook by clicking the icon at the top of your message in the shape of either a sun or moon. However, some users have noted an issue where the Outlook dark mode reading pane still white, contrasting with the rest of the dark-themed interface.

dark mode sun
dark mode moon

Under black mode, Outlook provides an option to change the reading pane background to white and back to black by clicking on the (sun and moon) icon available on the left-hand side.

Outlook Turn Off Dark Mode

In this section, we will cover how to disable dark mode in the various versions of Outlook, including Windows desktop, Mac desktop, Outlook on the web, and Outlook Mobile for Android and iOS.

Windows Desktop Version

The user must click the moon icon (white background) for every email message in the reading pane.

If you like the black theme but don’t want it to change the background of every new and existing message, and you like to keep the white background. You must disable the (Sun & Moon) option.

To disable dark mode on the Windows desktop version of Outlook, follow these steps:

  1. Open Outlook and click on File in the upper left corner.
  2. Click on Options.
  3. In the General tab, look for Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office.
  4. Set the Office Theme dropdown menu to ColorfulWhite, or Gray.
  5. Click OK to apply the changes.

Once you check the box, any email message in the future, the lights (white background) will remain on as a default setting.

While composing a new email message under the dark mode, the background can be changed to bright light and back to dark, from the Message toolbar by selecting the dark mode icon to change the message window to white or black.

switch background dark mode outlook
switch background dark mode

Mac Desktop Version

For the Mac desktop version of Outlook, turn off dark mode by following these steps:

  1. Open any Microsoft Office application, such as Word.
  2. Go to the menu bar and click on Word or the corresponding application name, then select Preferences.
  3. Look for the General tab.
  4. Under the Appearance section, uncheck the box next to Turn on Dark Mode.
  5. Close the Preferences window, and the change will apply to all Microsoft Office applications, including Outlook.

How To Turn Dark Mode On or Off in Outlook on the Web and

By default, comes with white and blue colors, if you don’t like the default look of your Microsoft Outlook program, you can easily revamp your ordinary-looking Outlook by applying the dark mode offered by Outlook.

Here is the step-by-step process to activate dark mode in

  • Open in your browser
  • Click on the Settings (gear icon) option in the top-right corner of the screen.
  • Find the Dark mode. To enable this theme, you will just need to toggle the given option.
How To Turn Dark Mode On or Off in Outlook on the web

In this single step, you can enable dark mode in your Outlook account.

Once you change the dark theme, the reading pane turns black too, there is an option to change the background to white bright by clicking the (Sun and Moon icons) like in the Outlook application. light mode dark mode

This step easily toggles between light and dark (Sun/Moon button).

How To Enable Dark Mode on Android, iPhone & iPad

Not only do users of Outlook for desktop and the web turn on dark mode mobile users can activate dark mode but there is also a step-by-step guide to enable the dark theme.

  • Lunch Outlook by clicking on the Outlook icon on your AndroidiPhone, or iPad.
  • Tap on the gear icon in the bottom-left corner of the interface.
Outlook For iPhone
  • Clicking on the Settings menu walks you through, a few more options, scroll down to the “Preferences” section and click “Appearance“.
iPhone How To Enable Dark Mode
  • Under appearance change the theme option from “System Default” or “Light” to “Dark”.
system default iPhone
  • Once you hit dark mode, the whole outlook changes into a black theme.
Outlook For iPhone How To Enable Dark Mode

Microsoft Outlook dark theme is only available for 365 users, But the black theme that’s been around for years has an extremely limited use in Outlook.

For a few people, dark mode is more comfortable, and some complain of headaches and eye problems due to the overwhelming bright background.

Benefits of Dark Mode

We understand that many users prefer using dark mode in their applications, and Microsoft 365 incorporates this option to make the experience more comfortable and customizable.

One significant benefit of dark mode is the potential reduction in eye strain.

By displaying white text on a dark background, dark mode offers a less bright interface that can be gentler on the eyes, especially in low-light environments.

In addition to being easier on the eyes, dark mode is an energy-saving feature.

It requires less power to display darker colors, which can contribute to longer battery life for mobile devices and laptops.

This is especially relevant when using energy-intensive applications within Microsoft 365.

Another advantage of using dark mode is its aesthetic appeal. Many users find darker interfaces visually appealing, and they can feel more professional and sleeker.

This, in turn, may enhance productivity and focus by providing a comfortable and appealing work environment.

Ultimately, by offering dark mode, Microsoft 365 demonstrates its commitment to accommodating diverse user preferences and use cases.

So, whether it’s reducing eye strain, conserving battery life, or simply enjoying the look and feel, dark mode provides undeniable benefits for many Outlook users.

Other Microsoft Office Applications

Apart from Outlook, dark mode can also be enabled in other Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Turning on the dark mode in these applications is simple and can be done through the Office theme settings.

Using the dark mode is beneficial when working in low-light conditions or for extended periods, as it reduces eye strain and conserves your device’s battery life.

In Office 365, you can choose between different themes, including Colorful, Dark Gray, and Black.

The dark gray theme provides a darker interface while preserving the visual hierarchy to help you navigate throughout the application.

The black theme, on the other hand, offers the darkest and most consistent mode, setting the applications, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, entirely in dark colors.

To enable the dark mode in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, simply follow these steps:

  1. Open the desired Office application (e.g., Word, Excel, or PowerPoint).
  2. Click on File at the top-left corner of the window.
  3. Select Options from the menu.
  4. In the newly opened window, navigate to the General tab.
  5. Under ‘Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office,’ locate the Office Theme dropdown menu.
  6. Choose either Dark Gray or Black as the theme.

It’s important to note that changing the theme in one Office application will also change the theme in all other Office applications on your device.

This helps maintain a consistent visual experience across all Microsoft Office Applications.

In conclusion, the dark mode not only enhances user experience in Outlook but also improves that in other Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

By enabling the dark mode feature, users can work more comfortably in low-light conditions and enjoy better battery life on their devices.

Dark Mode in Operating Systems

In recent years, the popularity of dark mode in operating systems has been on the rise.

As more applications and software adopt this feature, we’d like to discuss the impact and benefits of dark mode in operating systems, focusing on Windows 11 and macOS.

Dark mode is a color scheme that uses darker colors and contrasts to reduce eye strain and improve user experience in low-light environments.

Both Windows 11 and macOS offer system-wide dark mode settings that can be applied to compatible applications, including Microsoft Outlook.

In Windows 11, enabling the dark mode is as simple as going to the Settings app, and then navigating to Personalization >> Themes.

From there, you can choose a dark theme that will apply the dark mode across the entire system, including Microsoft Outlook.

On the other hand, macOS users can enable the dark mode by going to System Preferences >> General and selecting the “Dark” appearance.

Implementing dark mode through system settings ensures a consistent user experience across different applications.

This, in turn, helps maintain a cohesive look and feel throughout the entire operating system.

Additionally, by integrating with the system settings, applications like Microsoft Outlook can easily adopt the dark mode without requiring users to configure individual settings within each app.

Integrating dark mode into the operating system offers several benefits to users:

  • Improved readability in low-light conditions
  • Reduced eye strain for users who spend long hours on their devices
  • Potential battery savings on devices with OLED displays
  • Aesthetic appeal for users who prefer darker interfaces

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of dark mode may vary between users and environments.

Some individuals might prefer the traditional light mode due to personal preferences or specific use cases.

In conclusion, incorporating dark mode in operating systems like Windows 11 and macOS provides users with a more comfortable and customizable experience while using applications like Microsoft Outlook.

With the continuous evolution and growth of technology, we anticipate that dark mode will become an increasingly prevalent feature in future operating systems and applications.

In this article, every step to enable and disable dark mode in Microsoft Outlook is given. Don’t forget to share how you customize your Outlook today.


In conclusion, if you are a fan of dark themes or are just looking to keep your eyes healthy, you’ll want to turn on dark mode in Outlook.

To do that bring up the settings menu in Outlook by clicking on the Settings gear in the top right corner.

Once in the settings menu click on ‘Options’ and then scroll down to the bottom of the window and click on ‘Other’. In the options menu, you’ll see the option for dark mode.

The “Dark Mode” feature in Microsoft Outlook is one of the best things to happen to email since the invention of the mouse.

Dark Mode is all the rage on the internet, and it is slowly making its way into other apps. I hope Microsoft continues to add features that will keep Outlook the best email client on the market.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I enable dark mode in Outlook 2016?

Unfortunately, Outlook 2016 does not have a dedicated dark mode feature. However, you can enable the “Dark Gray” theme to achieve a similar effect.

To do so, go to File >> Options >> General, and under “Office Theme,” select “Dark Gray.”

Why is the reading pane still white in dark mode?

This is due to Outlook’s current design. While the rest of the Outlook interface goes dark in dark mode, the reading pane remains light to ensure the content of emails is easily readable.

You can, however, customize the background color of your inbox and reading pane by visiting Microsoft Support.

How do I enable the black theme in Outlook?

To enable the black theme in Outlook, go to the toolbar, and select File >> Office Account. Under “Office Theme,” select “Black.”

Once you’ve made your selection, click the back arrow at the top to return to your inbox. Note that this theme will be applied to all Microsoft 365 desktop applications. More info here.

How can I activate dark mode for the Outlook 2019 reading pane?

There is no built-in feature to enable dark mode specifically for the reading pane in Outlook 2019. However, you can adjust the background and text colors for better readability.

To do so, go to File >> Options >> Mail, under “Compose messages,” click “Stationery and Fonts,” and customize the background color and text color to your preference.

How do I change the theme in Outlook 365?

To change the theme in Outlook 365, log in to your Outlook account and click the gear icon in the top-right corner to access the “Settings” menu.

Under “General,” click “Personalization” and choose your desired theme from the available options.

How can I change the background color in Outlook 365?

Changing the background color in Outlook 365 can be done through the “Stationery and Fonts” settings.

Go to File >> Options >> Mail, and under “Compose messages,” click “Stationery and Fonts.” From there, you can choose a new background color or even a background image for your emails.

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Amit Bansal

Hello, my name is Amit Kumar Bansal, and I am the founder of Through this blog, I focus on Microsoft Outlook, offering insightful and informative content. Additionally, I produce educational videos on YouTube to further enhance the understanding of my audience. visit my YouTube Channel

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