Excel Dark Mode: How to Turn On/Off for Menus and Cells (2024)

It’s time to change the look and feel of your Microsoft Excel default theme!

Microsoft now includes a dark mode option in its Office suite. Dark mode flips the color palette so that the interface is dark. This makes the screen more comfortable to read and work on in high-contrast settings.

However, the Excel Dark Mode option only affects the interface and you’ll still be left with a high-contrast spreadsheet of white cells. What do we do about that? 🤔

In this tutorial, you’ll learn not only how to enable Excel dark mode for the interface but also how to enable dark mode for your cells too! 😀

How to enable dark mode for Excel interface

Excel Dark Mode is applicable for Excel versions 2013 and later including Microsoft 365.

Enabling dark mode for the Excel interface has benefits. The dark mode is gentle on your vision which means there is less eye strain while you stare at your screen, working on your spreadsheets.

Most importantly, Excel dark mode looks super cool 😎

To enable Excel in dark mode, do the following steps:

  1. Go to File.
enable Excel dark mode
  1. Select Account from the File menu.
file menu
  1. Click the Office Theme dropdown button.
  2. Select “Black” or “Dark Gray”.
black or dark grey from the dropdown menu

That’s it! Excel dark mode is now enabled.

This is what the Black Office theme looks like. It looks super cool 😎

true dark mode

Choosing Dark Gray is another dark theme alternative 👍

dark grey

When you open other Microsoft Office programs like Powerpoint and Word, the interface also changes to dark mode.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

You can also do the same steps by going to File > Options > General.

Scroll down to Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office, click Office Theme drop-down and select the black theme or dark gray theme. Finally, click OK.

Microsoft Excel options

Again, this only made the interface dark. The entire spreadsheet where you mainly work is still white.

That’s highly contrasting to the dark interface that you have right now 🤔

If you want the cells to be dark as well, we got you covered. Scroll down and let’s make your spreadsheet look even cooler.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

How to enable dark mode for cells

To make the cells in your spreadsheet dark, you need to set the background to a dark color.

First, you need to prepare a solid black background image to be inserted into your spreadsheet. You can create an image or download one 😊

Once your dark background image is ready…

  1. Go to Page Layout.
page layout
  1. Click Background from the Page Set up group.
page layout background

Now, you’re going to insert a dark-colored picture for your spreadsheet to have a dark background.

  1. In the Insert Pictures dialog box, you have three (3) options.
    • Insert Picture from a file
    • Insert Picture through Search Image Bing.
    • Insert Picture from your Personal OneDrive

Given that we already have a picture to use, let’s insert a picture from a file.

insert pictures dialog box

The Sheet Background dialog box will appear.

  1. Locate the background image in your computer then select.
  2. Click Insert.
or double click to insert picture

All the cells’ color is now solid black. The dark background of the spreadsheet matches the dark interface of Excel 👍

Microsoft Excel dark mode

You can of course change the background color to other dark themes like solid gray, depending on your preference 😀

It’s important to note that when you enter data into Excel, it is written and seen in the default black text color. Now that the entire spreadsheet is black, any data you enter in the cells will not be readable.

So, you might need to change the text color. To change the text color,

  1. Press Ctrl + A to select the entire spreadsheet.
  2. Click the Home Tab.
  3. Click the Font color dropdown in the Font group.
  4. Choose White as the font color.
set font colour in the font section

Now, whenever you type your data into your cells, it will be readable against the dark background color👀

Microsoft Excel dark mode

You have fully enabled Excel dark mode. Mostly everything in Excel is now in a dark color palette as you like 😀

If the background or text color isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, you can try again and find the right dark color palette that you want.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

That’s it – Now what?

Super cool, right? 😎 Now you know how to enable Excel Dark mode including the spreadsheet cells. You can change the look and feel of Excel to help reduce eye strain while you work in Excel, staring at the digital screen for long hours 😌

But you don’t have to work long hours when you know how to make Excel work for you. Microsoft Excel has lots (and lots) of built-in features and functions for you to get work done faster and easier. You just need to get started!

Get started in Excel by learning the basic Excel functions you actually do need in real life. Functions like the SUM, AVERAGE, and COUNT.

Join my FREE email course and learn the basics of Excel is minutes! 🚀

Other resources

There are so many things you can do to your worksheets. Whether you want to learn how to insert a new worksheet or group worksheets together, we got you! Click their respective links to learn more.

Want to learn how to highlight every row in your Excel spreadsheet? Check out our step-by-step guide here.

If you have any questions about Excel, contact us here. We are always happy to help 😊

Frequently asked questions

YES. To enable Excel dark mode, Click File > Account > Office Theme and change the Office Theme to “Black” or “Dark Gray” as you like.

Turning off dark mode in Excel follows the same process when enabling it. Click File > Account > Office Theme and select “Colorful” or “Use System Setting” from the options.