Microsoft is doubling down on Dark Mode, bringing the popular option to switch from a white background to a black or grey one to more of its core services.
The company says it plans to bring Dark Mode to its entire Microsoft 365 product suite — a combination of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. The push begins with an initial rollout today of Dark Mode on Outlook for iOS and Android, as well as Office.com.
When the latest update of iOS launches, Microsoft will roll out Dark Mode for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneDrive, Planner, and To-Do on mobile. The addition of Dark Mode across more of the company’s products is all about choice, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Research & Design Jon Friedman wrote in a blog post.
“It’s an apt metaphor for why we love Dark Mode: human needs unfold across an equally broad spectrum,” Friedman wrote. “Whether you want to reduce eye strain, improve battery life, or it just has aesthetic appeal, Dark Mode exemplifies our ability to craft simple and powerful Microsoft 365 experiences that give you choice and flexibility.”
Microsoft says it first introduced darker backgrounds back in 2010. It has steadily added Dark Mode to more programs, including major services such as Windows 10, Edge and Office.
Dark backgrounds have become popular in recent years, with tech giants promoting the mode as an important aspect of new releases. The black backgrounds often look sleeker, and experts have touted health benefits of the setting as well.
It’s become common knowledge that blue light is disruptive to sleep cycles. For people who put in late hours, using a dark background instead of a light one reduces the amount of blue light they’re exposed to, leading to a better sleep after work is done, writes Silas S. Brown, a partially-sighted computer scientist at Cambridge University in the U.K.
There are disadvantages too. It can be tough to see the backgrounds in well-lit rooms or when light reflects off the screen.
In the blog post, Microsoft’s Friedman pointed to the 24/7 nature of work and the spread of productivity tools to everyday life as reasons dark backgrounds have become popular. People aren’t just using Microsoft products on their desktop from 9 to 5 anymore.
“Our tools are used to keep up to speed on everything from work communication, to personal events that include friends and family, to changes in shared documents,” Friedman wrote. “This often means viewing email, calendars, or files in places where the default white mode may be less suitable, like darkened airplanes, movie theaters, or in bed at night.”