I am running macOS Mojave and have Dark Mode set as my default appearance in Apple > System Preferences > General.

I recently updated MS Office on my Mac and the latest MS Office update (i.e. version 16.20) supports Dark Mode. However, unlike many other apps, there is no way to enable/disable this appearance within the app itself.

Since I much prefer the usual appearance of my MS Office apps, but still want to use Dark Mode within macOS, how can I achieve this outcome?

2 Answers 2


To disable Dark Mode for MS Office only, you need to run a terminal command for each of the MS Office apps in question.

For example, if you wish to disable dark mode in MS Excel, follow these steps:

  1. Quit Excel if it’s running
  2. Launch Terminal (usually found in the Applications/Utilities folder)
  3. Enter (or copy and paste) the following command: defaults write com.microsoft.Excel NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance -bool yes
  4. Now press return
  5. Enter (or copy and paste) the following command: killall cfprefsd
  6. Now press return

Now when you launch MS Excel it should appear as it it normally would without Dark Mode enabled.


  • To do this with the other MS Office apps, just change the command at Step 3 so that it’s referencing the app in question.
  • Each of the app names within the command must start with an uppercase letter (note the uppercase 'E' for Excel in the command at Step 3.
  • For PowerPoint, the app name must be spelt as follows: Powerpoint (i.e. only the first P is in uppercase, not both Ps)
  • To revert back to Dark Mode, follow the same steps but end the command at Step 3 with no instead of yes.
  • 1
    I recently learned about a Menu bar app called NightOwl which gives a toggle to switch between dark and light mode. Interestingly it also offers the ability to toggle the mode on a per app basis. I think it's making use of something similar as described in your post to achieve it.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 9:50

An alternative would be to use an app called lights off or Night Owl. These both provide the option to turn off dark mode for specific apps:

With LightsOff you can easily and quickly switch between light and dark mode and even specify what mode you want on a per app basis.

This provides a checkbox interface where you toggle modes in all apps:


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