Windows 10 May 2019 Update: How to enable dark mode in any Windows app

With Windows 10 Version 1903, users can enable dark mode for individual apps. Under certain conditions, dark mode will be the preferred configuration setting.

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Now that the Microsoft Windows 10 May Update has started to roll out to computers everywhere, users may begin to notice some of the Version 1903 user interface changes. One of the more useful features available once the update is installed is Dark Mode, which allows a user to change the tone of the color palette for apps in the entire operating system or for just a specific Windows application if preferred.

As the name suggests, dark mode darkens the color scheme of the Windows 10 UI. The effect is designed to reduce eye strain, especially when using your PC in a dimly lit environment. It is a preferred setting for many night owls who tend to check their email well into the evening. If you fall into that category, dark mode may actually improve your sleep once you decide to put your screen down.

A user can activate dark mode for the entire Windows 10 UI, but that may not be desirable for all situations and applications. Instead, it may be more practical for a user to turn on dark mode for a specific application, leaving the rest of the operating system in its normal configuration. This tutorial shows you how to activate the Windows 10 Dark Mode for both the OS in general and for a specific Windows application.

SEE: Windows 10 May 2019 Update: 10 notable new features (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to enable dark mode across the Windows user interface

As you might expect, dark mode configuration controls are located under the Personalization section of Windows Settings. Click the Start button on your Windows 10 desktop and then click or tap the Settings icon (looks like a gear). Click the Personalization item from that page and then click the Colors item from the left-hand navigation bar, as shown in Figure A.

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Figure A

Click the dark mode radio button under the Choose your default app mode to change your current configuration. As you can see in Figure B, there is a big difference.

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Figure B

Changing to dark mode for every configuration screen and every application may not be exactly what you want. For many users, it will be more practical to enable dark mode for particular apps.

How to enable dark mode in any Windows app

With the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, Microsoft added individual dark mode controls for every Windows 10 app. For our example, we will use the Mail app, but the steps will be similar for all apps.

Open the Mail app and then click or tap the Settings icon (gear), which should be located in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, as shown in Figure C.

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Figure C

Under Settings, navigate to the Personalization item in the list. On that configuration screen, Figure D, you will see a radio button that allows you to change to dark mode.

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Figure D

Notice that the current configuration is likely set to use whatever setting has been applied to Windows 10 in general.

As shown in Figure E, changing to dark mode is a fairly drastic change that could make a big difference if you tend to read emails and other text under dim lighting conditions.

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Figure E

Using the app-specific dark mode configuration controls, users can easily flip back and forth between dark and light modes as needed, without being forced to change the entire Windows 10 interface.

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By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.