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Windows 10 review: Want to turn down the lights on your laptop?

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Written by Kamil Arli

Tech Columnist Ciara O’Brien says that the Windows 10 Anniversary update introduced last year brought a few new tricks, some that have proved very useful.

The Windows 10 Anniversary update introduced last year brought a few new tricks, some that have proved very useful. One of these is the new Dark theme that takes all the apps in Windows 10 and gives them a bit of a makeover at the click of a button.

What does it do?

The dark theme in Windows will get rid of some of the glaring white and bright backgrounds for the operating system.

Maybe you like using your laptop late at night or in low light without burning your retinas out. Maybe it’s an aesthetic preference. Some people feel it’s less stressful on the eyes working for long periods of time with a darker theme. Whatever the reason, it’s nice that Microsoft is offering an easy option for this.

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Enabling the dark theme in Windows 10 used to require a bit of messing around with the registry, but these days the process is as simple as toggling it on from the settings menu.

Click on the Start Menu. Click on the Settings cog, then Personalisation>colours and scroll down to the end of the menu. You’ll see an option to choose your app mode. By default it’s set to light. Change it to dark and you’ll see an immediate effect.

When you go into Windows apps, you’ll see the background colour has now been changed to black, making your desktop an altogether more tolerable place to work if you prefer more muted tones.

However, some things retain their white background – File Explorer, Edge and Microsoft Office, to name but a few. It also won’t have an impact on third-party software.

There are options, however.

For desktop applications such as File Explorer you have the choice to use the built-in high-contrast settings or go for a third-party theme. If you opt for the high-contrast settings, the main goal here is to make the screen easier to read rather than to present a slick, dark theme. In other words, it’s not the prettiest, but it does the job.

Edge:

If you are using Microsoft’s built-in browser you will have to enable the dark theme within its settings to dial down the brightness. Open Edge and click on the menu button (the three dots) in the top right corner. Select Settings and under Choose a theme, select Dark from the drop-down box.

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Third party-browsers:

If you are using Chrome or Firefox, enabling Windows 10’s dark theme will have no effect on your colour scheme within those programmes. You can, however, download extensions or add-ons that will turn down the lights. For Chrome, try Morpheon Dark or Slinky Elegant, both available free. For Firefox, take a look at the Dark Fox theme.

Microsoft Office:

You can enable the dark themes for each programme you want to use – Word, Excel, etc – so you can have dark themes in Word. for example, without having it for your spreadsheets too. Or you can enable them across the board.

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For the former, open the programme you want to turn dark. Go to the File menu>Options>Personalise. In the drop-down menu select Black. Click OK.

To enable it across all Office programmes, go to the File Menu on one Office programme, click Account and, under Office Theme, select Black from the drop-down menu.

About the author

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Kamil Arli

Editor of DigitalReview.co. Digital Media Consultant

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