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Dark themes

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Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Feb 1, 2018 at 11:22 PM


Rightnote’s latest beta includes, among several other improvements, an optional dark theme. While I haven’t worked with this yet, I have acquired a strong preference for dark themes in recent months. I don’t know whether it’s my age, but my eyes (or my brain) seem to have become a lot more sensitive to bright screens. I’ve seen some comments in the forum which suggest I am not alone.

Software I’ve turned to, or customised accordingly, includes the Dark Reader plugin for Chrome and the equivalent Owl for Firefox, dark theme for MS Office, Sublime Text and Aeon Timeline. Unfortunately, most of the tools I use on daily basis are not ‘dark friendly’, at least not fully, e.g. the relevant MS Office theme is not applicable to the content itself.

Any others you can think of or use?


Posted by Andy Brice
Feb 1, 2018 at 11:33 PM


Dark themes definitely look ‘sexier’. I added a dark ‘skin’ for Hyper Plan on Windows a while back.
(it was less easy to do for Mac).

But, downloadable software being what it is, I have no idea how many people use it in preference to the default.

Andy Brice


Posted by washere
Feb 2, 2018 at 03:45 AM


On Windows & Android OSes, almost everything I use is black themed or at least dark themed. In fact I can’t recall a single software which I use that has a non black/dark theme. On both Windows & Android the whole operating system has been turned black using custom hacks themes & Substratum with black themes, several of which I use. So nothing is white for me.

Those that force white, like yet another portable Office I added today (5th light suite I use now alongside MS Office) usually provide darker theme. There have been a few software I stopped using due to unhackable whiteness, but they were not in my top 15 or 50 or even 100, from among 400 or so various genres (outliner, notes, Mindmap, visual boards, tree editors, etc) I’ve tested & graded. I can’t stand a folder window in Windows which is white anymore.

Most software are actually not mentioned on this forum. When I did search for some, like Typora was not mentioned when I first mentioned it after searching, later yet posting a link by which time others said they’d been using it. I also have a backlog of about a dozen tree editors yet to test, been waiting a few months as no time. Most relevant software are not actually mentioned here for whatever reasons. But the few which had to be white, were not in my top 100 anyway. So no loss for me. Some I had to do myself, and take time, my optimized Scrivener black theme took many hours.

And it’s not just sensitive eyes which I do have. Since the 80’s, high end computer graphics stations are on a black OS & even in Light controlled rooms, graded & dimmed. In the 90’s some projects meant I had to use some. Same reason film color grade specialists & top photographers always had black environments to work in. The neural networks extend well into the eyes and can be trained & weighted over the years, hence why there’s always been less than a dozen telecine top colorists over the decades. Like developing a taste palette or top wine tasters. Other reasons to use back/dark theme apart from sensitive eyes or training the eye to fine expert levels are:

Black backgrounds let one work much longer with less visual stress

Helps avoid night time sleep disorder

Saves on battery

Less color & light vibrations, was much worse with CRT flickers

IMO more peaceful & relaxing & soothing, as most top CGI graphic station slaves I’ve met testify. Microsoft has been promising a true black, including folders etc, theme for Windows for years, including beta and final last year, but they keep postponing it, and will, I know why. Too much disruption in thousands of top software. But we use our own UI/UX libs and custom themes anyway.

White background has a few advantages, not for the eyes though, but that’s another story. As some girls say: Once you go black, you never go back.





Posted by Andy Brice
Feb 2, 2018 at 09:31 AM


I use this software to turn my monitor a pinkish shade after the sun goes down.
I think it helps with sleep (although I don’t have any data to back that up). It works on Windows and Mac and is free.

Andy Brice


Posted by Hugh
Feb 2, 2018 at 02:51 PM


Before Christmas, Scrivener developer Keith Blount commented on what full “dark mode” for the macOS version of Scrivener would require in terms of re-design:

“You’re talking around 350 images that would need variants, and so around 175 code switches for that (since all images have two variants, Retina and non-Retina). Then every background element such as header bars, footer bars, inspector bars, split view dividers and so on would need alternative drawing code. Anything using colour such as labels would need alternative ways of drawing to work with dark backgrounds. Custom button selections would need alternative drawing routines. Apple elements with no dark variant, such as outline and table header bars, would need overriding and custom drawing applied. And so on…”


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