Is MathWorks working on a dark mode for MATLAB similar to what Visual Studio offers?

408 views (last 30 days)
Visual Studio's dark mode changes the background color for all the toolbars and all over the UI. The most that can be obtained with MATLAB is to change the background color settings of text,editors and workspace windows. There are many tools that helps achieve this like Scott lowe's version shared on community here MATLAB Schemer Is MathWorks working on a dark mode to achieve complete UI dark mode unlike the patch work that is available now?
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 15 Mar 2023
I can answer that question.
Do not expect Dark Mode. Not at any time.
Do not expect ANY new feature that has not been announced by a project manager or higher.
ANY feature may be withdrawn at any point before release.
It does not matter that Mathworks is offering a beta test of the feature. Beta test can reveal problems that lead to substantial delays or to scrapping the project entirely.
The economy could take a bad turn and hypothetically Mathworks may have to cut staff. Or not. You don't know, I don't know.
So don't expect any feature at all until a manager at Mathworks tells you a release date for it.

Sign in to comment.

Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 19 May 2022

More Answers (19)

simcha van Helvoort
simcha van Helvoort on 26 Dec 2018
Edited: simcha van Helvoort on 26 Dec 2018
I really hope they add a dark theme like visual studio.

Jaromir Kabelac
Jaromir Kabelac on 4 May 2020
This needs to happen.
My eyes!

Steffen Pe
Steffen Pe on 16 Jan 2019
I also really hope they add dark mode. with automatic day/night switch and a button in the action bar

Florian Besten
Florian Besten on 17 Feb 2019
I also hope for this! Maybe already 2019a or 2019b?
Irem Altan
Irem Altan on 16 Aug 2020
I mean how hard could it be? I bet mathworks devs are developing matlab using dark mode on their preferred IDE.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 16 Aug 2020
It could be a lot of work. It might be the case that a lot of different routines hard-code the colors, and that every one of those routines would have to be tracked down and converted to use a preferences system. And that at the same time, Mathworks is very likely working on rewriting major components of the IDE to remove reliance on Java. If you were setting budgets, would you consider it a wise investment to spend a bunch of time patching up a layer of code that you intend to get rid of as soon as feasible ?

Sign in to comment.

Benedict Bauer
Benedict Bauer on 28 Sep 2019
I also hope that Mathworks is working on a dark mode.
It would be really nice especially in Simulink!

Keiland Cooper
Keiland Cooper on 30 Aug 2019
Right now it seems the only way is via preferences or schemer. I hope that they work on this, as most code editors now offer it.

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 14 Apr 2020
This is not going to happen.
Pay attention to the changes in the graphics system, to the enhancements of App Designer and Web Figures. Mathworks is busy rewriting the entire UI and many Apps to use that new design, getting rid of Java. Within 3 years the UI replacements will be introduced and the existing UI will become legacy. Mathworks is too busy working to get rid of the existing UI to work on enhancements to the existing UI such as Dark Mode.
The new UI might perhaps have Dark Mode; I cannot make a prediction about that.
M Herper
M Herper on 6 Jun 2022
Edited: M Herper on 6 Jun 2022
Come on Mathworks, Dark Theme for the UI is easy to implement and in professional software environment meanwhile a must !
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 6 Jun 2022
M Herper: I have personally spoken to some of the developers of the feature. I did not catch why the software was originally designed the way it was designed, but they assured me that they were hard at work on retrofitting a preferences setup.
The next pre-release is likely to be made available within three weeks; it will be interesting to see what is implemented.

Sign in to comment.

saar nehemia
saar nehemia on 6 Mar 2020
I also hope MATLAB will have a complete dark mode (including toolbars and all).
right now, it is only possible to change the text and panels but not the borders... It doesn't look very well

Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 9 May 2018
The Mathworks generally doesn't reveal in advance what feature enhancements they have planned. If they are working on such a feature you'll probably only know about it when it's released, either in pre-release/beta, or in the official release.

DGM on 10 May 2021
I've been using a workaround for years, and it is version-agnostic. The script is posted here, though you'll need to modify it for your own needs. I don't know if a similar technique is feasible in Windows.
Simply put, I invert the entire display when I'm on a workspace with Matlab windows. This is handled automatically by the script that's invoked when switching workspaces via keyboard. Since I normally run a dark GTK theme, the titlebar and panel are still bright, but that's a small part of the screen, and I've taken to wearing a cap to keep room lights out of my field of vision, so the panel is usually out of view unless I look at it.
Of course, there are limitations to this approach. You still don't really get to customize the colors at all. You just get to darken the bulk of the UI area. You also have to deal with everything being inverted. For example, this surf plot looks right because it's easy to invert the colormap accordingly, but you can't apply inverted lighting. Using datatips on an inverted image can also lead to routine confusion if you forget that the image is actually inverted. If I need to return the display to normal, I just have a keyboard shortcut bound to xcalib -invert -alter , so I can swap back and forth when needed.
This ridiculous workaround is the reason that all the GUI tools in MIMT have options for use on an inverted display. I don't have to deal with manually inverting every image for display, imshow2(), etc does that all with the 'invert' option or a checkbox in the GUI.

Sign in to comment.

cui,xingxing on 28 Oct 2021
Use "MATLAB online" to switch themes perfectly! Then use a browser plug-in (e.g. Midnight Lizard) to indirectly change the colours of various web pages(matlab online is also a web page type).
  1 Comment
DGM on 28 Oct 2021
Edited: DGM on 28 Oct 2021
I suppose that works ... if you have a fast network connection, system resources to squander, you want to use that particular version and are willing to deal with MATLAB Drive, UI lag, and browser compatibility issues.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for bludgeoning ugly websites with userstyles. I just don't think there are any extant solutions to the OP's problem that are not ridiculous workarounds -- my own included.
I suppose that was a bit aggressive of me. If you had merely prefaced your solution with "If you use MATLAB Online ..." instead of "Use MATLAB Online ...", I wouldn't really have had anything to say. It's a legitimate and effective solution for those who use the online version. The wording just presumes that it (the onlne version) is a generally applicable option.
I'm probably still shedding frustration from the last time I had to use it, and that shouldn't detract from your helpfulness.

Sign in to comment.

mysiak on 2 Sep 2021
It's time to release the dark theme.
In many other programs I am using a version of dark mode for at least 7-8 years. Everyone already recognized the benefits.
So should Mathworks do something about this, it's almost ridiculous.
And yes I am aware it's not simple task, but it's not something for 2 years of work.
  1 Comment
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 2 Sep 2021
Mathworks has a release process, and would never consider releasing something like this for existing MATLAB releases, not right now.
There is a new MATLAB release that is probably going to become public in approximately 3 weeks. If Mathworks has a dark-mode ready, it would be part of that release. Beginning of September is not time to release something like this.
If Mathworks does not have a dark mode ready, then it will not be part of the upcoming release.
... I don't know the time frame myself; I have been too busy to look at the notes about upcoming features.

Sign in to comment.

Jan on 19 May 2019
I'm using Matlab Schemer from the FileExchange successfully and I'm happy with it. Unfortunately I cannot set Windows to the dark mode, because then the dialogs for saving or loading files are not displayed anymore.

Varun Bansal
Varun Bansal on 15 Sep 2020
After spending few days with burning eyes, I went into control panel and selected 'Invert color' option in windows, and now my Matlab bg is all black :) looks like a nice turbo C window

Shane Sullivan
Shane Sullivan on 30 Sep 2020
Edited: Image Analyst on 9 Jun 2022
The Windows 10 "Invert Color" option is great. But you have to manually do it, and un-do it. And if you switch to other programs (where you don't want inverted colors) it is annoying. To use this, type in invert into the "Type here to search" field on the task bar, or if you don't have that search field, then just type the Windows key on the keyboard and immediately start typing invert. You should see a suggestion for Invert Colors system setting. Pick that and you'll get the Magnifier settings window:
Near the bottom you should see the Invert Colors checkbox.
Otherwise, you can install Easy Invert, and set it up to automatically invert only MATLAB! Then, problem solved!
Ningjun Liu
Ningjun Liu on 9 Jun 2022
This is a great solution! I really hope I saw your answer to this question earlier, but hey, it's never too late to fix something :)
DGM on 16 Mar 2023
Edited: DGM on 16 Mar 2023
Last I recall, Compiz supports single-window inversion, so that may be a similar option for Linux users. Personally, I don't use Compiz. I'd rather just conditionally invert the entire display. It's cheaper, and I don't have to deal with making sure it applies to every figure window that pops up.

Sign in to comment.

Leonhard Lücken
Leonhard Lücken on 21 Apr 2020
Would be great to have dark toolbar, window decorations, etc! And the Live Editor seems to be resistant to scheming entirely... :(

Berthold Reisz
Berthold Reisz on 9 Nov 2020
Edited: Berthold Reisz on 23 Apr 2021
Simply go to the Home-tab in Matlab click on Preferences in the upper toolbar and choose Matlab colors from the left control panel. Remove the hook from "Use system colors" and select text white, background black. Subsequently, you can choose user defined colors for highlighting various keywords. Click on apply and you have your dark theme (apart from the toolbar).
This feature was already in my 2016b-version.
Rik on 10 Nov 2020
That is what dark mode would mean to me. I think I would expect such a dark mode to also affect default figure and axes properties (so you don't get blasted with a white screen if you create a plot), but I'm not sure that is ideal, as all other functions (like GUIs) that rely on certain defaults would experience issues.

Sign in to comment.

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 19 May 2022

Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 20 Mar 2023


Find more on Desktop in Help Center and File Exchange


No tags entered yet.

Community Treasure Hunt

Find the treasures in MATLAB Central and discover how the community can help you!

Start Hunting!