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Dark mode is coming to Microsoft 365 − starting with your Outlook inbox

Microsoft is plunging its entire 365 platform into darkness, and first in line is Outlook.

Dark mode has been a popular trend across an ever-growing list of big-name apps this year but Microsoft has kept mysteriously quiet, despite its Office suite being such a prominent platform. Until now.

Microsoft has finally decided to jump on the dark mode bandwagon by releasing a colour-flipped version of its Microsoft 365 product suite.

The rollout will begin with Gmail competitor Outlook but the company plans to eventually introduce dark mode across its entire suite. Dark mode for Outlook launched on iOS and Android last week alongside Office.com and will automatically switch on when you select battery saver mode.

The company is also currently working on a feature that will allow Outlook to automatically toggle to dark mode depending on your preference settings.

Dark modes for Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneDrive, Planner and To-Do for mobile are set to follow with the launch of iOS 13.

Related: Dark mode apps

“Our design research specifically focused on these contexts where folks would want to use Dark Mode, and the response was very positive”, wrote Microsoft’s head of Office design, Jon Friedman.

“While some Dark Mode experiences can be neon or overly bright, people felt that Outlook mobile kept the kind of relaxed feeling you might want in a dimly lit living room or bedroom. They described the experience as comfortable, crisp, clear, and aesthetically pleasing, a nod to how Dark Mode can reduce eye strain”.

Dark mode is claimed to reduce strain on people’s eyes – especially in low-lit situations and at night – but the feature is also well-loved for being an aesthetically pleasing alternative to the harsh default white design found in a lot of apps.

The feature has also been hailed for battery saving benefits on OLED displays – something that Microsoft 365 could very well have if the true black backdrop in the promotional photos is anything to go by.

Related: Android 10 features

Microsoft has been late to the game when it comes to the increasingly-popular dark mode trend, falling behind companies like Facebook and Twitter when it comes to offering the highly-contrasted colour scheme in its apps but releasing so many apps in quick succession could see it catching up fast.

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