Microsoft Word in dark mode on Windows 11

To enable dark mode in Microsoft Office for Windows, navigate to File > Account, then set the Office Theme to "Black." You can also change Windows 10 or Windows 11 to dark mode and use the default "Use system setting" setting. On a Mac, you must change your system theme to dark mode.

Microsoft Office includes black and dark gray themes. The system-wide dark mode on Windows 10, Windows 11, and Mac will now affect Office apps, but you can also separately choose a dark theme for Office apps like Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint on Windows.

How to Enable Microsoft Office’s Dark Mode on Windows

According to Microsoft, Office’s dark mode is only available if you have a Microsoft 365 (previously known as Office 365) subscription on Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs. (However, you can change your theme to “dark gray” on Office 2016 and Office 2013. This even works on Windows 7.)

To change your theme on Windows, click the “File” menu at the top left corner of an Office application like Word, Excel, Outlook, or PowerPoint.

Click the “Account” option in the sidebar. On the right, open the “Office Theme” dropdown menu, and then select your desired theme.

The default theme in Microsoft Office is now “Use system setting.” This means Office will only use a dark theme if you have your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC set to use a dark theme.

You may still have your Office installation set to use another option, like “Colorful,” which was previously the default setting.

To enable dark mode, select “Black” for the darkest possible Office style.

(If you prefer sticking with the “Use system setting” option, you can choose a dark Windows system theme from Settings > Personalization > Colors on Windows 10 or Windows 11. Select “Dark” under “Choose your color” on Windows 10 or under “Choose your mode” on Windows 11.)

Select the "Black" office theme for a pitch black dark mode.

You can also select “Dark Gray.” This theme uses lighter dark grays, which you might prefer if you find the Black theme too dark.

You can select a different “Office Background” from here, too. For example, if you’d rather not see a design behind Office’s ribbon bar, click the “Office Background” box and select “No Background.”

These theme and background settings affect all Microsoft Office applications on your system. They even affect Office applications on other Windows PCs, assuming you sign into them with the same Microsoft account.

Select "Dark Gray" for a milder dark mode.

There’s a second place where you can choose your theme, too. To find it, click File > Options. Ensure the “General” category is selected and look for the “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office” section. Click the “Office Theme” box and choose your desired theme. Click “OK” to save your changes.

Open up Word Options, go to the "General" tab, and select "Black" next to "Office Theme."

Documents you create will have a background matching your theme by default. For example, with the dark theme, Office will show white text on a dark background. To stop this from happening, check “Never change the document page color” in the Word Options window.

This setting is just visual. If you send a Word document created in dark mode to someone else, they’d only see a black background with white text if they open it in dark mode. It won’t require a large amount of ink or toner if someone prints such a document; it will print as normal.

RELATED: How to Enable Dark Mode in Windows 10

How to Enable Microsoft Office’s Dark Mode on Mac

Office’s dark mode is available in both Microsoft 365 or Office 2019 for Mac, but you must activate it by enabling your system-wide dark mode. You can’t enable dark mode separately for only Office apps while using your Mac in light mode.

To activate your Mac’s system-wide dark mode, use the toggle in your Mac’s Control Center or head to System Preferences > General and choose the “Dark” appearance. Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Mac will immediately enter dark mode.

Enable Dark Mode in System Preferences on Mac

You can choose not to use Dark Mode for individual Office apps if it’s enabled system-wide. For example, to disable Dark Mode for Word, head to Word > Preferences and select “Turn Off Dark Mode” under Personalize. You’ll have to repeat this step for each app separately. For example, to change this for Excel, head to Excel > Preferences.

In Microsoft Word’s preferences, you can also choose whether your Word documents will have a visually dark background color while you’re working on them. Choose from either “Dark Mode has a dark page color” or “Dark Mode has white page color” under Personalize.

Select Dark Mode options for Microsoft Word under Personalize.

RELATED: How to Turn on Dark Mode on Mac

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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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