We've been advocates for switching up colour schemes to help with eye strain for years now. The problem is, finding an all-in-one solution is nearly impossible, you'll have to compromise somewhere on usability and effectiveness. Melvyn Laïly's Windows app, NegativeScreen, is the best balance we've seen so far, going so far as to provide "smart" options.
At the most basic level, NegativeScreen does what it says on the tin — invert the colours of your screen. This can lead to the psychedelic number in the above image. However, the app provides a few "smart" settings, that can selectively invert instead.
Here's the complete list of configurations on offer:
- F1: standard inversion
- F2: smart inversion 1 – theoretical optimal transformation (but ugly desaturated pure colors)
- F3: smart inversion 2 – high saturation, good pure colors
- F4: smart inversion 3 – overall desaturated, yellows and blues plain bad, actually relaxing and very usable
- F5: smart inversion 4 – high saturation, yellows and blues plain bad, actually quite readable
- F6: smart inversion 5 – not so readable, good colors. (CMY colors a bit desaturated, still more saturated than normal)
- F7: negative sepia
- F8: negative gray scale
- F9: negative red
- F10: red
- F11: grayscale
If you can find program-specific ways to change colours, say with a browser extension or in the case of an IDE like Visual Studio, custom themes, that's usually the way to go. Still, it's nice to have a fail-safe like NegativeScreen available.
NegativeScreen [Melvyn Laïly]