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How to enable Android’s dark mode for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

Manage your dark mode

Image: Google

I’ve become a firm believer in using dark mode on my phone. Not because of its presumed battery-saving advantages (although those are nothing to sneeze at), but because I have the unfortunate habit of reading in low-light (or nearly no-light) conditions, and dark mode is a lot gentler on my eyes.

While Android has a system-wide dark mode, you can also set your Google apps to show in dark or light mode individually — for example, if you like using light mode for most apps during the day, but want to use dark mode for Docs all the time.

Here’s how you set the mode for Docs, Sheets, or Slides on an Android phone (this was tested on a Pixel 3 running Android 12):

  • Open your app and tap on the “hamburger” lines in the upper left corner.
  • Select “Settings.”
  • Near the top of the page, you’ll see the link for the theme. Tap on “Choose theme” and select either “Dark,” “Light,” or “System default.”
On the Settings page, select “Choose theme.”
On the settings page, select “Choose theme.”
You can choose dark or light modes, or just go with the system default.
You can choose dark or light modes, or just go with the system default.

If you are using the dark mode but you need to see an individual document in the light mode instead (for example, so you can better see how it will look printed or to another reader), you can do it from within the document:

  • Select the three dots in the upper right corner.
  • Tap on “View in light theme.” If you want to go back to the dark theme, just follow the same directions.
You can go back to the light theme within a document.
You can go back to the light theme within a document.
And then return to light theme if you want to.
And then return to light theme if you want to.

Note that you can only change the theme within a document if the app is using the dark theme or if the app is using the system default and that is the dark theme. If the app itself is using the light theme, or if it’s using the system default and that is the light theme, you can’t change the theme to dark within a document.

Update September 30th, 2021, 4:30PM ET: This article was originally published on July 22nd, 2020. Two screenshots have been replaced to reflect a change in the Google Sheets interface, and some details in the text have been updated.