Force Websites to Have a Dark Theme in Edge Chromium

Screenshot: David Murphy
Screenshot: David Murphy

You might have a dark system theme; you might have set all of your favourite apps to use a dark theme. Even still, the websites you typically visit might not want to play along, which can be a jarring experience while you’re browsing — akin to someone opening a vampire’s coffin at high noon.

Google Chrome used to have an option that allowed you to force a website to display a dark theme; the results were never perfect, but better than staring at an eyesore of a bright, white page. The company has since removed that option from the browser, alas, but don’t despair: Edge Chromium now offers that hidden feature. And since using Edge Chromium is just like using Chrome, only with less browser bloat, it won’t be jarring at all to make the switch.

To implement the forced dark mode feature, open Edge Chromium and type the following into the address bar:

edge://flags/#enable-force-dark

Once you do, your screen will look like this:

Screenshot: David Murphy

Click on the “Default” button next to the flag, and you’ll be able to select from a number of options dictating how your browser will automatically convert webpages to dark themes. It’s a good idea to stick with the default “Enabled” option to start, but know that you can adjust this artificial “dark mode” if your favourite sites look terrible at first.

Screenshot: David Murphy

For an example of what this forced dark mode can look like, here’s a before and after screenshot of good ol’ Lifehacker dot com:

Before

Screenshot: David Murphy

After

Screenshot: David Murphy

It’s bold. I don’t love it, but I also don’t hate it. And were I writing this article in the wee hours of the morning or during my usual late-night computer time, I’d probably prefer it to our site’s default white background.

While I wish Edge Chromium was smart enough to let you toggle between this fake dark mode and a website’s “normal” theme on the fly — every change to the aforementioned browser flag requires a reset — it’s a small price to pay for less eyestrain.

However, if you find that the results of this dark mode tweak annoy you, you can try one of these extensions, any of which gives you more control over how an artificial dark mode looks on a given site:

I’m a fan of Dark Night Mode, personally, but it’s good to have options given the peculiarities involved with forcing websites to alter their appearance.

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