How Do I Use Google Sheets in Dark Mode?

Last Updated on September 20, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

In this guide, you will learn how to activate dark mode in Google Sheets with step-by-step instructions for both desktop and mobile.

Google Sheets Dark Mode

Have you ever found working with bright screens at night to be visually straining?

With our increased dependency on working longer hours in front of a screen, one popular solution is the adoption of a dark mode or theme on various platforms, including productivity tools like Google Sheets.

However, you may find it difficult to set up this theme in your desktop or mobile device.

In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into how to use Google Sheets in dark mode in both Desktop and Mobile.

But first:

What is Dark Mode in Google Sheets?

Dark Mode refers to a user interface display setting where the traditional bright background colors are replaced with a darker theme.

In the context of Google Sheets, this implies a dark background for the spreadsheet workspace or user interface.

The main benefits of this mode include:

  • reduced eye strain
  • better readability at night,
  • reduced battery consumption on OLED displays.
  • pretending to be Batman (although this is not confirmed)

Do note that there are some limitations to Dark Mode.

For example, your collaborators will not be able to view a document in Dark Mode automatically, they will have to set up the theme in their own devices.

Many methods for Desktop also fail to convert the actual spreadsheet into a darker color and only change the look of the user interface such as the menus and pop-ups.

How Do I Use Google Sheets in Dark Mode on Desktop?

As of 2023, Google Sheets still does not natively support dark mode as of the last update in 2021.

However, there are workarounds to achieve this.

For example, we can add an extension or third-party add-on that allows users to view websites in Dark mode even if they do not natively support it.

We can also use Google Chrome’s experimental Auto Dark Mode feature that can be accessed through the Chrome flags page.

Below you will find steps for each of these methods.

Method #1 – Dark Mode via Chrome Extension (in 5 Steps)

An easy way to enable Google Sheets Dark Mode is by installing a third-party add-on or extension through the Chrome Web Store.

Note that these extensions only work in Google Chrome or other Chromium-based web browsers (such as Microsoft Edge).

Step 1

Open Google Chrome. Make sure you are using the Chrome browser (or a Chromium-based browser) as the solution involves a Chrome extension.

Step 2

Visit the Chrome Web Store. You can access the Chrome Web Store by typing it into your search bar or visiting the website directly through this link.

Step 3

In the search bar, type in “Dark Mode” or “Night Mode” and hit enter. Choose a reliable extension.

Popular choices include Dark Mode – Dark Reader for Chrome or Night theme.

Click on your preferred option.

In this example, I’ll choose the Dark Theme extension found here.

Step 4

Click on ‘Add to Chrome’. This will initiate the installation process. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Step 5

Activate the extension. Once installed, you should see the extension’s icon in the top-right corner of your browser. Click on it and choose the option to activate dark mode.

Visit Google Sheets, and you should now see your spreadsheet in dark mode.

Do note that since these extensions are not developed by Google, there may be instances where the extension does not perform optimally.

Method #2 – Dark Mode via Experimental Features (in 4 Steps)

Step 1

First, enter “chrome://flags” to view the Chrome flags page.

In this page, you will be able to enable experimental features that have not been enabled by default.

Step 2

Type “dark mode” in the Search bar to show the Auto Dark Mode for Web Contents flag.

 

Click on the dropdown menu and select Enabled.

Step 3

After making a change to the flag, your browser will prompt you for a relaunch.

Click on the Relaunch button to relaunch your browser.

Step 4

With the Auto Dark Mode for Web Contents flag enabled, you should now be able to visit Google Sheets with Dark Mode enabled.

How Do I Use Google Sheets in Dark Mode on Mobile?

For mobile users, the experience of activating Dark Mode is more streamlined, especially if you have system-wide dark mode enabled.

In this section, we’ll go over the easiest way to use Google Sheets in Dark Mode for both Android and iOS devices.

Step 1

First, open the Google Sheets app on your mobile device.

 

Step 2

Tap the Menu icon on the top-left and select Settings.

Step 3

Select the Choose theme option.

Step 4

Select the Dark option to use Dark Mode for Google Sheets.

Alternatively, you can set it to System default and use your device’s settings to activate system-wide Dark Mode.

Step 5

When accessing spreadsheets in the app, you should now be able to view them in Dark Mode.

How to preview a document in light mode, when using Dark Mode?

That’s surely got to be the most niche subheading and dark-mode-in-Google-Sheets-based-problem EVER in the history of spreadsheets.

Anyway…

Sometimes when using Dark Mode, you may want to preview a document in light mode. Instead of using your app settings or phone settings to deactivate Dark Mode, there is an even easier way.

Step 1

First, access the document you want to view and click on the More button on the top-right.

Step 2

Next, click on View in light theme.

Step 3

You should now be viewing your document in light mode.

Welcome To The Dark (Mode) Side

Dark mode is a great feature to have that offers both visual comfort and energy efficiency.

With the methods outlined above, you can enjoy these benefits while working on Google Sheets for an extended period of time or during the night.

What’s Next?

Explore some of the other useful resources on Sheets for Marketers: