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Outlook.com has a dark mode. Here's how to turn it on

Microsoft's webmail service lets you paint it black.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Everybody's doing it. From YouTube, Twitter and Reddit to MacOS Mojave, websites and entire operating systems are getting in the dark-mode game. We all stare at screens for large portions of our days and nights, and transforming bright, white backgrounds to black can ease the strain on our eyes. Plus, it just looks cool.

The latest player in the dark-mode game is Microsoft's Outlook.com. Now, you can fire off evening emails without needing to stare at a bright, white inbox.

Outlook.com's dark mode

You will first need to toggle on the beta version of Outlook.com before turning on dark mode. Here's how:

  • Click the Try the beta toggle switch in the top right.
  • Click the gear icon in the top right to open the Quick settings panel.
  • Click the toggle switch for Dark mode.

I tested dark mode across multiple browsers and platforms and can happily report it works on both Edge and Chrome on a PC and both Safari and Chrome on a Mac. Dark mode switches your theme, however, to Outlook.com's default blue theme.

Turn on the lights

Microsoft added a useful tool that lets you toggle off dark mode for an individual email message so you can see it in its original formatting. Whether you are viewing a message in the Reading pane or opening a message in a separate window, you can click the little sun icon next to the reply button to "turn on the lights." You can then hit the button again (now a moon icon) to turn off the lights. Clever. And useful if you came across an email that doesn't look right in dark mode.