Antonello Zito

Mathworks: it's time for a dark theme.

Antonello Zito on 14 Mar 2022
Latest activity Reply by Taha on 27 Feb 2024

This is not a question, but a point of discussion for the entire community. I am aware that every 1/2 months this theme comes out, but until this is not fixed it is totally necessary that this comes, indeed, out. And I said "fix" because Mathworks has to understand that a dark theme is not only a visual/aesthetic matter, it is a substantial part of the game. Most of the OS, GUIs, programs are actually in dark mode, and a vast majority of the users makes indeed use of a global dark mode. How much one does like it is personal, but the benefits to power savings and eye health is instead a fact. Mathworks being ignoring this for years is nothing but ridiculous. Of course it is not an easy task, but every minute of committment for it is worthy. And nope, Schemer is not helpful because it does not provide a real fix to this question.
I feel free to suggest something similar to the Spyder's dark theme, which came out like 2 years ago if I remember correctly.
Of course, my point is not being disrespectful (I am instead very respectful to the huge efforts of Mathworks for making this wonderful program run). But, form a user's point of view, the fact that not a single word has so far come out from Mathworks about a dark theme (meaning that for sure we will not see it in a timing of months) requires us to put a strong pressure on this.
Mathworks, please: it's time for a dark theme.
Taha on 27 Feb 2024
install CareUEyes app turn dark mode(MagicX) on matlab session , worked for me but this temp way not fixing anything...
hope you like it.
dark theme matlab
Taha on 27 Feb 2024
yeap as i said it is not solution, even this methods has disadvantages, such as reducing the quality of textures or color inversion but good for people who cares about their sight.
DGM on 27 Feb 2024
This is similar to the method I've been using for years, though I think it's worth pointing out that there are drawbacks to inverting the display (or selected windows), depending on what sort of tasks you do in MATLAB.
That said, I've been doing it so long that I almost get confused when see non-inverted syntax highlighting.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 31 Jan 2024
I do not like dark theme; I find it to be hard on my eyes.
Rik on 31 Jan 2024
That is factually incorrect. You have a preference, and apparently that is shared by those around you.
I also prefer a dark theme, but at least I have the humility to know that my preference isn't universal truth.
Your claim that every single developer prefers it isn't actually proof. I personally know a dev who prefers dark mode for once language and light mode for another. So even if I take you literally, you're wrong.
Mateusz Jaskulski
Mateusz Jaskulski on 31 Jan 2024
@Rik, dark theme is better. The proof is every single developer preferring it.
Rik on 19 Dec 2023
@Douglas What a convincing argument. Now you've completely convinced me. /s
What exactly is the point of your comment? You don't explain in what sense a dark theme is better. There are rare cases where a dark theme is objectively better, but in the overwhelming majority of the cases it is simply preference.
Douglas Novaes
Douglas Novaes on 19 Dec 2023
Dark theme is better.
Mike Croucher
Mike Croucher on 17 Mar 2023
Andrew Janke
Andrew Janke on 18 Mar 2023
Heck yeahhhh, time to hit that Download button and start filing minor bug reports.
Thanks for making this happen! I can't tell you how many people will be excited about this.
Antonio Pierrottet
Antonio Pierrottet on 17 Mar 2023
I prefer dark theme because I do programing at night. aside from the eye strain it is nice to be able to look away from the screen and stil see things in low light.
With that, it should be pointed out that dark theme should be an option not maditory. Your tesla would more acuratly be that antonello wants the right to have a tessla. Mathworks says here are the parts, put it together. That is a far cry from everyone must have it. It's that, for a well designed program, it's a little strange that a dark theme hasn't been made. Especialy considering that Matlab has been around for decades.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 1 Mar 2023
OLED is more expensive and does not last as long, so is the lower cost of running black pixels important over the lifetime of the product?
especially when a great deal (even if it is not the proven majority) of the userbase is asking for it.
Is "a great deal of the userbase" asking for it? Or is there just a fragment that is being very vocal about it?
the bright white light strains your eyes (I know it does mine) and inhibits your sleep later
The problem is not white light: the problem is blue light. . White light does include blue light, but Preferences -> MATLAB -> Colors -> MATLAB Colros PReferences -> Desktop tool colors. untick Use system colors and use a different background color. And set(groot, 'DefaultAxesColor', COLOR) so that you do not get white plot backgrounds. White light problem mostly solved.
I would also point out that if you are using MATLAB on your phone, that you would be using MATLAB Mobile, not MATLAB itself.
I think asking for proof for the arguments that started the thread is a bit of a weak defense argument.
Suppose that you lived in my city and you claimed that it was a "must have" for the city to convert all of its vehicles to Tesla, and you ranted about how much the city was letting down the residents by not already having switched to Tesla a few years ago. Would it really be so unreasonable for me to ask you to prove the "must" part? (I live in the second coldest "large" city in the world by the way.)
Rik on 1 Mar 2023
There actually is a cost to non-users of a feature: an engineer can only spend time once, so there is a limited number of features that can be implemented. Any feature you don't use still has to be created and might cause a feature you would have used from being created.
That being said, I am in favor of a proper dark mode. I just object to people crying wolf. If you have a medical reason (or even just a preference) for a dark background, you can already get most of the way there. So I just don't see why some people are acting as if they are being forced to stare right into a white on white screen at maximum brightness.
If you need to exaggerate your opinion, you are apparently not convinced it is that good of an argument.
Raul Villanueva
Raul Villanueva on 1 Mar 2023
wow, this was a fun read... and I mean the comments. I've been reading this kind of threads for years now and I too have been patiently and silently waiting for a dark mode. Why? Well, the quick answer is "because I like it". In the end, MATLAB, like most software out there, is a consumer-based product and "the consumer likes it" is more than enough reason to implement a feature. I must say the stubborness and close-mindedness of the MVPs that commented here is the thing that actually surprised me about this thread. And I mean no offense to them whatsoever. I've gotten so much help over the years reading their responses to several topics and I am really grateful. I do think, though, that a "if it's not broken, why fix it?" mentality is not what drives any kind of product forward, especially when a great deal (even if it is not the proven majority) of the userbase is asking for it. So I ask the skeptics: If the feature is there (for all those who do want it), how is that going to negatively affect you? I would think the answer is "in no way whatsoever". So, why push back against it?
Now, deepening a bit into the reasons for such a feature, I think asking for proof for the arguments that started the thread is a bit of a weak defense argument. Any quick internet search may yield different opinions about the topic regarding eye strain. But just think about you using your phone at night, or watching a movie late, even if you are not in bed, the bright white light strains your eyes (I know it does mine) and inhibits your sleep later. People then wonder why they suffer from insomnia. We've been using screens for less than a century so there's no way we have evolved to have such bright artificial lights in our faces day and night. Furthermore, many of the new screen technologies, such as AMOLED use less energy for darker colors, as developers explained early on with their "true-blacks". So that one is also a no-brainer.
Like I sad, no offense to anyone. On my side, I am still patiently waiting. In the meantime, I use schemer and I am happy working with it. But there is room for improvement in that front, and as a consumer, I would really like to see it implemented.
DGM on 13 Dec 2022
As someone who still stubbornly, spitefully expects apps to respond to GTK2 settings, I still gotta side with Rik. I was literally legally blind (20/400) and solved the problem without TMW needing to further reduce the app to an embedded web browser.
Rik on 13 Dec 2022
I have a hard time believing someone actually suffers from the light theme, but did not dig into the settings to adjust the colors to get fairly close to a dark theme. I just don't understand how those two things would go together.
Pavel Krupets
Pavel Krupets on 13 Dec 2022
100% my poor eyes are bleeding...
John Kelly
John Kelly on 1 Nov 2022
We (MathWorks) have removed the previous information in this Answer, origianlly posted by @Nicolai Lamp, because the instructions were about how to access the JSD software, which is still in beta stages, on our public site. If anyone wants more information about how to try out the JavaScript Desktop beta software, we'd love to engage with you directly. Please refer to @Michelle Hirsch's response below for information about how to participate in the beta.
Or you can sign up here and the team will reach out to you:
Nicolai Lamp
Nicolai Lamp on 1 Nov 2022
@Michelle Hirsch Thanks for the mention of the beta program, I didn't know that was an option. I just stumbled upon the flag somewhere online and thought it might be worth it to pass it on.
Michelle Hirsch
Michelle Hirsch on 27 Oct 2022
Good find, @Nicolai Lamp! We are very excited to have you and others try out the new desktop. But I'd like to ask that you go through our official channel of signing up for our beta. The directions we provide are a little easier and give a better experience. You'll get buttons right in the desktop to enable/disable the new desktop and to provide feedback. This feedback mechanism is especially important to us, so we know what's working well for you and what else you'd like to see.
Sign up here with the email address associated with your MathWorks accountand the team will reach out to you:
Nicolai Lamp
Nicolai Lamp on 26 Oct 2022
@cui Yes, the matlab documentation is by default installed & stored locally for offline referencing, it can be controlled in the settings weather or not it will search local or online documentation, so the documentation itself is not the issue, since that can just be opened in a browser with a darkmode plugin to adapt the colors.
Bennett Russell
Bennett Russell on 25 Oct 2022
@Nicolai Lamp Thanks for posting this solution. My eyes owe you a great deal.
Rik on 5 Jul 2022
While setting up default colors is indeed a bit involved for the casual user, getting 90% of the way there by using Matlab Schemer takes very little time and very little skill. Otherwise it is as simple as opening the settings dialog and picking colors you like.
George Howell
George Howell on 5 Jul 2022
@Walter Roberson and @Jan: I see where you are both coming from but I disagree.
I said the same about voice control, its a gimmick that doesn't generally work well and definitely not a must have, however for people who are visually impaired, any kind of voice control is a must have. For accessibility, it is like having the bumps on the pavement at a traffic light (here in the UK), no use to me, but vital for someone else.
I think the same applies here. I'm mildly dyslexic and dark mode really does help my eyes. My brother has dyslexia far worse and he has to basically read everything that is black text on a white background wearing orange tinted glasses. This is not the case with dark mode apps, and this feature has helped him immensely.
@Jan "I'm still wondering, what the problem is. I wanted a dark view, so I've installed the dark theme from the file exchange. I've written a function to control default colours in my GUIs and diagrams, so I have full control over the style."
I think you've just highlighted the problem! While you have clearly set up a good solution, you and WR are Level 10, I'm sure it would take me and others a fair bit longer to get to this point, and quite honestly, while I love Matlab, I much prefer to spend my time learning DSP algorithms than messing around setting a dark mode theme on Matlab.
That's just my opinion though ...
Jan on 7 Jun 2022
I can reconsider, why you do not miss a dark theme. Working on a DEC_VT50 is comparable with running Matlab on a monochrome Apple iWatch.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 7 Jun 2022
I am not positive, but the first display I used might have been a DEC VT-50
Jan on 7 Jun 2022
I'm still wondering, what the problem is. I wanted a dark view, so I've installed the dark theme from the file exchange. I've written a function to control defaul colors in my GUIs and diagrams, so I have full control over the style. The only remain non-dark object is the border around the command window and editor and this does not hurt me.
And if I write a tool for controlling colors, I've implemented a flower, sad gray, a fresh green and a red hot chili theme also, so I had some fun.
I've started programming with an amber-on-black monitor in the 1980th. Therefore I do not think, that a dark-theme is a modern must-have, but just a fashion which I like.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 6 Jun 2022
I disagree with the fundamental premise that this is a "must have" feature, except perhaps as a disability accommodation. People are welcome to reply to my Answer with evidence (not just assertion) that the feature is indeed "must have".
For example feel free to present studies showing that on display technology in non-trivial use, that it saves appreciable amounts of electricity. (The amount of MATLAB code that is run on extremely specialized mixed analog and digital radar tracking station displays is surely near zero.)
M Herper
M Herper on 6 Jun 2022
Matlab is going to loose market share without hearing the customers voice related to a dark theme. This is indeed a must-have feature and nobody understands that Mathworks is ignoring this since years.
Lukas on 4 May 2022
I will make it shorter: Yes, a full dark mode also encompassing the UI and the window frames is a must-have and a standard for any free software.
Rana Hamza
Rana Hamza on 30 Apr 2022
It depends on you to change the theme as you can do it in setting.
because in light theme eyes can gambling
Tim Holden
Tim Holden on 19 Apr 2022
Thank you so much for the update. Dark mode would be extremely beneficial as I work with MATLAB a lot.

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