I love the new dark mode feature in Mac OS. In most of the applications from Apple such as Photos or News, dark mode looks and feels amazing. However, I also use applications from Microsoft on my Mac. In particular, I use the suite of apps that come with my Office 365 subscription. I do a lot of business with folks who work in offices that use PCs/Windows and to make their lives easier I just conform to what they are using.
So when the recent announcement came out that dark mode was available for Office 365 for Mac users I was super excited. I quickly performed the update, then launched the ever-popular Microsoft Outlook, and then…wait for it, wait for it….I proceeded to throw up.
Dark mode on Outlook for Mac looks horrible! For those of you who have already done this upgrade, you know what I’m talking about. I won’t go into the details about why it looks so bad, but fortunately there is an easy work around to get each of the Office 365 applications to default to the cleaner, white background used prior to the upgrade.
You will need to open the terminal application on your Mac. The terminal icon looks like this from Launch Pad…
Once you’ve opened the terminal, type the following command and hit return….
defaults write com.microsoft.Outlook NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance -bool yes
The best way to do this is to copy the command above and then paste it into you terminal window, and then hit return. Once you hit return, nothing much will happen in the terminal window. You will simply see a new command line.
Now re-launch the Microsoft Outlook application. If you had Outlook open when you performed the command above, simply close Outlook and relaunch it. Now you should see the older (read better) version of Outlook with the white background.
The new setting will be the default each time you launch Outlook. If you change your mind, and you think actually the dark mode wasn’t so bad, not to worry. Simply enter the command again in the terminal but this time change the last word in the command from “yes” to “no”.
But Jeff, what if I want to turn off dark mode in the other Office 365 applications such as Word, Excel or Powerpoint? Ahh, you might have guessed the solution to this already. To apply the white background default to those apps, simply enter the command again but replace the word “Outlook” with the name of the app you want to change, such as “Word”, “Excel” or “Powerpoint”. Remember to capitalize the first letter of the application you wish to change. For instance, if you use the name “excel” it will not work.
Well I hope this was useful. Let me know in the comments if you thought it was.