How To Use Microsoft Excel Dark Mode [Easy 2024 Guide]

Excel’s dark theme has been popular since it was introduced in Office 2013. With our guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about Excel dark mode with step-by-step instructions on how to access it.

How To Turn on Microsoft Office Dark Mode on Windows

You must do two things to turn on dark mode in Microsoft Excel entirely:

  • Turn on dark mode for the interface
  • Alter certain setting options

Note: If you want the cells to be a dark color, you’ll also need to select a different fill and text color from the default white.

Enabling Microsoft Office Dark Mode for the Interface

  1. Open Microsoft Excel and head over to any worksheet.
Excel dark mode—blank Excel sheet
  1. Click the “File” > “Account” > “Office Theme.”
Change the Office theme
  1. Select “Office Theme.” Depending on how dark you prefer your menu, choose either the “Dark Gray” or “Black” option from the drop-down menu.

Change The Interface to Dark Mode Through the Options Menu

After enabling dark mode for the Excel interface, ensure all parts of your Excel experience are in dark mode.

  1. Open Microsoft Excel and head over to any worksheet.
  1. Click on “File > “Options” (in the bottom-left corner).
How to open the options menu Excel
  1. In the Settings window, click on “General > “Personalize Microsoft Office.”
  2. Select the “Office Theme” option and choose either the “Dark Gray” or “Black” option from the drop-down menu.
How to alter the office themes color in Excel
  1. Click the “OK” button to save the changes.

How To Enable Excel Dark Mode for Cells

It’s important to note that enabling dark mode with the methods above only makes the interface elements darker. It won’t change cell colors.

To use dark mode for the entire spreadsheet, you’ll need to turn on dark mode for the interface (instructions above) and change the fill color of the cells:

  1. Open a Microsoft Excel worksheet.
    Blank Microsoft Excel worksheet.
  1. Highlight the entire spreadsheet by clicking the Ctrl + A (Windows) or Cmd + A (for Mac). You can also navigate to “File” > “Select all.”
Altering the cell fill color for Excel Dark mode
  1. Click the “Fill Color” button found under the “Font” section and select the color you want to use.
  2. Change the font color to something lighter for better readability (like white or grey). Highlight the entire spreadsheet and select “Font” > “Font Color.”
How to change the text color in Excel

Related: How To Convert Google Sheets to Excel

Does Excel Have a Dark Mode on MacOS?

Microsoft offers dark mode directly in the Office apps, but it’s a bit different on macOS. On an Apple computer, you don’t have the option to toggle dark mode in Excel. Instead, you’ll need to activate dark mode in your Mac’s system-wide settings:

To activate dark mode on macOS, go to “System Preferences” > “General” > “Dark.” Alternatively, you  can toggle dark mode on in your Mac’s “Control Center.”

How To Make Excel Dark Mode With VBA Code

To enable Excel’s dark mode for cells using a VBA code, you’ll need to activate dark mode in your Excel window first. You can do this by following the steps mentioned above for activating dark mode for the Excel interface.

Next, insert Excel dark mode with a VBA code:

  1. Open a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Press the Alt + F11 (Windows) or Opt + F11 (on Mac) keys. This will open the Visual Basic for Applications window.
Visual basic for applications Excel
  1. Create a module in the VBA editor by selecting “Insert” > “Module.”
How to insert the code into Excel VBA
  1. Copy this VBA code into your created module.
  2. You can press the F5 key from your keyboard to turn dark mode on and off.

Making a Dark Mode Shortcut Using VBA Code

You can also make a shortcut to enable dark mode:

  1. While the module window containing the VBA code is open, open any Excel sheet.
  2. Click “Customize” > “More Commands.”
How to add more commands for Excel Dark Mode3.

3. Select “Choose Commands from”  > “Macros.”

4. Choose your macro from the list with the name “ToggleDarkMode.” Click the “Add” option.

How to add a macro in Excel toggle

5. To turn it off, click the “ToggleDarkMode” option (under Quick Access).

Quick access menu Excel dark mode

Related: Google Sheets vs Excel – Which Is Better?

How To Activate Dark Mode Excel for Mobile

While it’s possible to activate dark mode for iOS and Android, the process differs slightly.

Dark Mode for Android

To activate dark mode for Excel on Android:

  1. Open Excel from the Main Home screen.
  2. In the top-right corner, click the Ellipsis (…) icon.
  3. Click the “Settings” option in the pop-up window.
  4. From the “Display Preferences” section, click “Theme” > “Dark.”
The file path for changing to dark mode for Excel mobile

Dark Mode for iOS

Under the iOS Excel application settings, there isn’t a dedicated toggle for the dark theme. To change it from the iOS settings — head to “Display & Brightness” > “Dark” to activate the dark mode.

Turning on Excel Dark Mode on Mobile for Cells

Changing to dark mode won’t change the color of the cells. You’ll need to change the fill and text color for every spreadsheet if dark mode is enabled. Both iOS and Android Excel applications feature a similar interface, so the steps you have to follow are the same.

  1. Open an Excel spreadsheet and save the spreadsheet to your device to enable Excel editing features. Do this by clicking the Ellipsis (…)/Arrow icon (in the top-right corner of the screen.
  2. Select all the cells by clicking on a cell and dragging the fill handle downward, diagonally.
  3. Click the Ellipsis/Arrow icon (near the bottom-right side of the screen) to open the editing menu for your worksheet.
  4. Tap the “Fill Color” button (at the bottom of the screen) and select your preferred color.
How to change excel fill color on mobile

5. Next, change the font color by clicking the Ellipsis/Arrow symbol (at the bottom-right part of the screen).

6. Click “Font Color” and choose a lighter color to contrast with the dark cell.

How to change the mobile font color in Excel

Note: Every time you create a new worksheet, you’ll have to follow the same steps to create a dark background in Excel.

Related: How To Turn on Google Sheets Dark Mode

Reasons To Use Microsoft Excel Dark Mode

There are several reasons why you should use dark mode in Excel:

1. Reduces Eye Strain

Working on a bright spreadsheet for extended periods can strain your eyes. Excel’s dark mode can be more comfortable for longer periods — and can even help prevent eye fatigue.

2. Helps You Focus

Although there is no difference in overall reading comprehension when using dark mode, many users feel that they can focus for longer periods of time.

3, Improves Clarity

For some users, Excel spreadsheets can be read more easily using dark mode, thanks to a stronger contrast between the background and the text.

4. Visual Consistency

Employing dark mode in Excel — especially when using other tools or applications that support it — can provide a unified visual experience. If you’re jumping between several applications, using dark mode can be extremely useful.

5. Personal Preference

The dark mode gives Excel a modern look. Some users favor the dark mode’s aesthetic and find it more visually appealing.

Related: 11 Best Excel Courses Online in 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dark Mode Better for Your Eyes?

The dark mode is widely thought to be better than the standard light mode for decreasing eye strain, especially in low-light environments. In dark mode, the screen emits less light in general (especially blue light), which can be uncomfortable for some. Dark mode frequently uses light-colored fonts and UI elements on a dark-themed background. This contrast might make the text easier to read.

How Do I Turn off Dark Mode in Excel?

Open Microsoft Excel, head over to any worksheet, and click “File” > “Account” > “Office Theme.” Choose the “Colorful” option from the drop-down menu or click the “Use System Settings” option.

Does Excel Have Dark Mode on Mac?

When using Excel on a Mac, you can’t toggle dark mode directly. To activate dark mode in Excel, you’ll need to turn on dark mode system-wide on your Mac. This can be done either:

  • Through the file path (Control Center > Display > Dark mode)
  • Navigating to “System Preferences” > “General” > “Enabling Dark mode

Wrapping Up

Excel dark mode is pretty easy to get set up. Although you’ll need to change the options in the settings manually, it only takes a few seconds.

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