Windows-wide dark mode

  • Hi all,

    I have for a long time been using a Chrome addon (Dark Reader) to have webpage colours inverted, which I find a lot less straining on the eyes. The addon does these adaptations dynamically, such that the overall colour scheme in most websites looks quite nice in its off-the-shelf "dark mode", with manual overriding of settings (contrast/brightness/sepia etc) only seldom needed. The addon has a serious bug however, whereby white flashes are displayed when switching between tabs, and also at other harder-to-predict moments. The bug is known to the devs, but not yet fixed.

    Similarly, in MS Office there is no dark mode for document content, however one can set a dark-grey background and light-grey font colour, for a similar effect. However, there too, this makes for the need to constantly change the settings of every document one works collaboratively on, since colleagues will not want to receive weird-looking documents with inverted colours.

    All in all, these are only partial solutions to the desire of having a dark mode across all Windows programs. Although many developers are adapting to what seems to be an increasing user preference and are now including a dark mode option in their new program versions, many aren't doing this (or no new versions are coming out), and it is all the more tiring for the eyes to contend with such a program when one is used to dark mode most of the time (for me: Chrome and Word).

    Now, I am myself using f.lux only to have colour temperature "follow the sun" (which is I guess f.lux's original purpose), which is already quite helpful, independently of whether I am in a dark mode program (Chrome/Word), or not. Still, the described problem of lack of an overall darkening remains, and I wonder if f.lux could at all be used as an all-round "darkening solution", to achieve more or less the same aim Dark Reader does in Chrome, but across all programs. One would then not need Dark Reader in Chrome, and would just use all programs in their default/light mode, letting f.lux to do all the light-dark inversions. I would personally use dark mode throughout the day, and only let time dictate colour temperature but not the binary decision of dark vs light mode.

    Is such a feature planned for f.lux? I am aware of the Darkroom mode, but that seems to be something different from what I'm describing above. The native Windows dark mode, which f.lux can turn on and off at sunset/rise, is also different, as it only applies to UIs and not to a window's contents.

    I've searched the forums and found no similar thread, so hopefully this is worth asking, and perhaps others have wondered the same. Am using Windows 10 here, and f.lux 4.118. Many thanks for any replies! :)

  • We have an alternate version of darkroom that is "better" for this... If I can restate, the main problem is that some apps (and some websites) are "dark mode-aware" and some are not, so switching between them is just painful.

    Right now, f.lux does not operate at the window level, and it is not easy to do (as it would be for Windows to do).

    We can sample the overall screen frequently and "fix" the foreground window by changing the entire screen (it is kind of neat), but this has a reasonable CPU/power cost, and even then, we'd probably be a frame or two behind, so you'd still get a white flash when switching between dark and light webpages.

    Interestingly, the graphics adapters do have controls for these kinds of things that are almost free from a power/performance standpoint, it's just that we cannot easily get to them through Windows yet.

  • Hi Herf, thank you for explaining this! It sounds like for now the 'darkmode-ing' is still best done app-wise, imperfect as this is in Chrome and Office apps (and suboptimal as it is to have to switch to apps for which no dark mode exists altogether). It would be fantastic if at some point a more upstream, lower-level solution were available, perhaps once GPU makers, Windows devs and other devs have code that is more compatible with others.