back to article You can take off the shades, squinting Outlook.com users. It has gone dark. Very dark

Goths of the world rejoice! Outlook.com's Dark Mode is here, turning mailboxes into blacks and shades of grey such that Lego Batman would shed a tear of joy. If Lego Batman cried. Which he doesn't. Microsoft confirmed on Outlook's uservoice forum today that Outlook.com (the beta version of the webmail site at least) could be …

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    1. Pirate Dave
      Pirate

      Re: So this great technical breakthrough was achieved....

      Let's not be too harsh - there was probably a committee involved, and possibly high ranking members of the upper Management team. Meetings, lots of meetings to decide WHICH shade of dark, dark grey was most fitting, or should they switch to dark, dark gray instead? Meetings need donuts and drinks, which means caterers needed to be scheduled. And point-release reveals to the various mid-management teams. More meetings to integrate their better suggestions. More donuts. Finally the big release to the Executive Management team, and more meetings to figure out the most politic way to NOT integrate their horrible suggestions.

      Surprising they got it out at all then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So this great technical breakthrough was achieved....

      "by editing the colors in the CSS? Well, I can see that taking all of a day, if the CSS was particularly badly factored."

      Editing the CSS probably wouldn't take long. Selecting the correct colours to use can be a surprisingly complex task, especially if you care about accessibility (e.g. red on black can be really bad for some people with eye issues).

  1. bed

    OLED power usage?

    Do dark themes use less power on OLED screens?

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: OLED power usage?

      Yes, if it's AMOLED. No, if it's just plain OLED (OLED still uses a backlight which remains on no matter whether the screen is showing black or not). In real-world usage studies I've seen, if you are using AMOLED and keeping everything as close to true black as possible while still being able to read it, the power savings is around 15-20%.

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: OLED power usage?

        You are confusing OLED with LED. "LED"-screens are just regular (usually TFT-) LCD screens with LED backlights. Any OLED technology will actually have pixels lighting up and no backlight. In fact there are currenty OLED lamps actually being made.

        You can see that when you look up the datasheet of any OLED display. Here's one example of one not claiming to be AMOLED.

        http://cdn-reichelt.de/documents/datenblatt/A400/DS_OLED_EA.pdf

        As you can see there's no

        AMOLED essentially is just OLED with extra transistors. Apparently those are used (with capacitors) to actually store the image on the screen, and to control it by constant current instead of scanning it.

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Peril Sensitive Outlook

    In these days of malware that just wants you to link in a link this is an excellent solution - black text on a black background, I love it!

    1. stiine Bronze badge

      Re: Peril Sensitive Outlook

      It's just as easy to read as white-on-white, as long as you click and drag to select the relevant text, since it changes it to highlight color, and if all else fails, paste it into a file and use 'cat -t -v $filename'.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All your mail are belong to us

    Finally, the dark web, right there, as my inbox.

  4. Sudosu

    It is very dark.

    You may be eaten by a grue.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: It is very dark.

      You may be eaten by a grue.

      Some days that would count as a more positive outcome.

      (Yes, the painkillers are not working today. And I refuse to move to stronger ones since I know that those too will inevitably fail or leave me (more of) a drooling idiot. And have worse side-effects).

  5. bobajob12

    Outlook, the last bastion of weird customization hackery

    Some of us folks spend our days in the Outlook desktop client. In that world, the customization options are just bizarre.

    • For a start, it doesn't seem to respect the Windows theme (y'know, like every other Windows app does, lest MSFT come down on them like a ton of bricks).
    • You can change your theme between Colorful, Gray, White and Black, but in reality, anything other than Colorful leads to weird artifacts on screen, like the word "To:" being black on black.
    • There's a weird customization option that does nothing more than put a little watermark on your ribbon, eg a little swirl. Maybe 10-12 choices here. But for the love of god, why?

    There are some days I really miss Pine.

    1. bobajob12
      Facepalm

      Re: Outlook, the last bastion of weird customization hackery

      Oh, and I forgot the Outlook Today panel. You can have Winter or Summer. Irrespective of any other color scheme/theme/customization it has going on. What??

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Outlook, the last bastion of weird customization hackery

      There's a weird customization option that does nothing more than put a little watermark on your ribbon, eg a little swirl. Maybe 10-12 choices here. But for the love of god, why?

      If it were user definable, I could put the design that best suits the kind of corporate e-mail I receive, i.e. Munch's The Scream. However it isn't, so I just leave it blank.

    3. RFC822

      Re: Outlook, the last bastion of weird customization hackery

      You can change your theme between Colorful, Gray, White and Black

      Don't know what version of Outlook you're running, but here (Office 2016) I only have a choice of Colorful, Dark Gray or White.

      I'd love to have an option of Black, which work better for my (far from youthful!) eyes ... but then again, my personal preference is for yellow text on a navy background!

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    If Lego Batman cried. Which he doesn't.

    I thought he liked only black, and sometimes grey? Blues? C'mon, even my son knows better ;-}

  7. ToFab

    The mosquito factor

    I live in Thailand. I spend a lot of time outside. In a jungle. There is a significant difference in the number of insects depending on if you use something with a dark theme vs a white theme. Using white theme is like pointing a flash light towards your face and mosquitos love that

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The mosquito factor

      There's a place for low-light UI - but they would not use white-on-black. They would usually use red or green (sometimes blue) not to ruin darkness adaptation, and avoid to make you too visible in the night (when you have good reason to be not visible).

  8. rmullen0

    My middle aged eyes prefer the dark background

    I'm glad they are adding dark theme support. I hope they do it to all their apps. Also, I'm glad they added Nightlight mode to Windows 10. A lot of the LED monitors are too bright, even when set to the lowest brightness settings. I would switch everything to dark mode if I could. 25 years of black on white is enough for me. I'm ready for something different. Also, I am happen with the new flat UI now. It looks a lot better than all previous versions of Windows. Windows 7 looked cheesy and lame. Also, I'm glad that they finally have some halfway decent pictures that they display on the desktop now. Much better than XP grass hill picture.

    1. rmullen0

      Re: My middle aged eyes prefer the dark background

      Also, I would like to add, that I wish the PC makers would stop using gloss screens for monitors on laptops. They are absolutely horrible. The matte ones from a decade ago are much better. Much less glare and reflection. Apple's gloss screens in particular are terrible. Try reading something with a light behind you. You are blinded be the reflection of the light. I have a cheap HP laptop with a matte screen from a decade plus ago which is vastly superior to the monitor on my MacBook Air. Also, the MacBook Air, while running Windows, doesn't let you turn the brightness down far enough. The HP doesn't have that problem. Lose the gloss monitors please.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm:

    Microsoft warns that the functionality may not work in all browsers and recommends users having problems switch to Edge

    Microsoft has deliberately tweaked this so that that the functionality may not work at all with Internet Explorer 11 and recommends Windows 7 users having problems switch to Edge which is only available on Windows 10.

    TFTFY

    1. Cavehomme_

      Re: Hmm:

      It’s not as if Google don’t optimise for Chrome is it?

  10. 0laf Silver badge
    Facepalm

    And so it's come to this...

    ..That being able to change the background colour on a website email app is headline news.

    I would have jested "welcome to 1995" but even then this wouldn't be news.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Instead of predefined dark and light schemes, why not let the users pick their own colours out of a 24bit palette?

  12. Mark3

    MS UI design influenced by HHGTTG?

    "‘It’s the wild colour scheme that freaks me out,’ said Zaphod, whose love affair with the ship had lasted almost three minutes into the flight. 'Every time you try and operate these weird black controls that are labeled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up in black to let you know you’ve done it.’"

    Zaphod Beeblebrox, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

  13. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Hey

    Who turned out the lights?

  14. MaltaMaggot
    Go

    Lets Crowdfund some comedy on MS exploits...

    Garth Marengi's Dark Interface anyone...?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What MS needs is a new CEO that can actually deliver products users want . I suggest Meg Whitman. Hey stop laughing, stop making fun of me. Oh crap whats with the pitch forks and torches ?

  16. dajames Silver badge

    Madness in cycles

    I recall working -- ooh, a few years back -- with a couple of people who liked to use dark-on-white (dark blue, I think, was their preference) schemes in text-mode DOS on CGA screens (I said it was a few years back) because it was "easier to read".

    Yes, it was easy to read ... until you made the text scroll, when it flickered like a disco and made my eyes hurt to look at it.

    Nevertheless, my colleagues insisted that the default white-on-black was harder to read ...

  17. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    The 1980s called

    They think it's cute that our clever millennial programmers have "invented" black-screen terminals with light text.

  18. eionmac

    Totally wrong for elderly like me!

    I struggle very much to view any dark theme. It jars on the eyesight and has caused me to switch Linux distros to avoid dark backgrounds. This is not suitable for anyone whose eyesight is failing, that is those over 50 years of age.

  19. aqk
    Pint

    Gee! What a BRILLIANT IDEA!

    Why cannot we get our newspapers (yes, the paper ones) printed in these colours?

    An ALL-BLACK newspaper, with white or faint grey lettering on it. It would look just like my old VT220 monitor of 1992! Perhaps GREEN text on the page would be even more agreeable to today's generation.

    This would be a boon to the failing newsprint companies! Not to mention the ink companies.

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