Dark Background and Light Text is probably the best dark Firefox add-on - gHacks Tech News

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Dark Background and Light Text is probably the best dark Firefox add-on

Dark Background and Light Text is a dark theme add-on for the Firefox web browser that converts the color scheme of webpages to a black background and light text by default; it comes with support for different styles, and can be disabled on individual sites.

Some users prefer dark themes or websites; operating system developers such as Google or Microsoft have launched support for dark themes in recent years, and browsers like Firefox or Chrome support extensions that can change the color scheme of webpages to make them darker.

Some add-ons cause readability issues and require manual adjustments; Dark Background and Light Text is a popular browser extension for Firefox that is considered by many the best extension of its kind for the browser. Note that we have reviewed several dark theme extensions for Firefox in the past; you may want to check out reviews of automaticDark and Dark Reader as well.

dark background light text firefox

All you have to do is install the extension in Firefox to start using it. Any site you visit, with the notable exception of internal pages and some Mozilla domains, will be converted to a dark color scheme automatically. You can click on the icon that the extension places in the Firefox address bar to disable its functionality on the active page or to change the algorithm that is used to change the color scheme.

One of the main goals of the extension is to ensure that text, including links, is readable when dark mode is active. The extension does a good job at that by default but you can change the colors that it uses for certain elements to customize the look and feel. Options to change the processing, e.g. to invert, are also available.

A click on the settings option displays the colors that are used for elements; there you also find the default processing option and the list of custom configurations for individual sites.

dark background settings

You may change the following colors in the settings:

  • Default foreground color.
  • Default background color.
  • Default link color.
  • Default visited link color.
  • Default active link color.
  • Default selection color.

Just click on the color or edit the Hex code directly; a reset option is available as well. Dark Background and Light Text comes with two hotkeys that you may use to toggle its functionality. F2 works only on the active tab and enables or disables the functionality on it. Ctrl-Shift-D toggles Enabled globally instead.

Closing Words

A dark theme extension is a good addition to the web browser of choice if you prefer black or darker themes on your devices. Dark Background and Light Text worked well during tests and unlike some other extensions, did not make sites unreadable.

Now You: do you use a dark theme extension?

Summary
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Dark Background and Light Text
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Comments

  1. ehmm said on May 4, 2020 at 8:31 am
    Reply

    WORST!

  2. Anonymous said on May 4, 2020 at 9:01 am
    Reply

    Thanks for the review.
    Before Firefox went to Web Extensions,
    I used extensions to improve readability.
    After Web Extensions, I couldn’t find one that I liked.
    This works well out of the box.

    I think the default colors are easier on my eyes than
    Dark Reader.

    I really like that it changes the color of visited links. That is a feature I’ve been looking for.

    I thought I found one defect with it.
    When I expanded this text box that I’m typing in by clicking
    on the lower right corner, the right border disappears
    and the text disappears if it goes passed some point on the
    right.
    So I need to hit return before I reach the right edge, which I
    can estimate with the right edge of the top and bottom
    horizontal border lines.

    I didn’t have this problem when I tried this commenting on
    different articles, or even this article in another tab.

  3. Mike Murphy said on May 4, 2020 at 9:19 am
    Reply

    All chromium based browsers have a flag to enable Dark Mode. This is done, based on the color values of the pages.

    This doesn’t work great for all pages, and some pages can override this setting and still present the original colors. Others will look weird if they use clear/white images with dark text, as the text is now white on a white image and unreadable.

    1. Ray said on May 5, 2020 at 12:01 am
      Reply

      The problem is you cannot disable Chrome’s native dark mode on a per-domain basis. I’m hoping the devs will implement such an option in a future release.

      For the type of dark mode, I’m currently using the “selective inversion of non-image elements” option. That currently works the best for me, but still has some issues occasionally.

  4. Sebas said on May 4, 2020 at 9:40 am
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    No. White letters on black background makes for bad reading for me. Books and webpages are much better readable with the standard black letters on white pages. Ymmv.

    1. sdefsd said on May 4, 2020 at 10:51 am
      Reply

      The problem of most “white” sites is that the background is almost pure white. In a normal book the background is not white and tends more to light grey. Books are always better to read than reading text on a screen.

      1. Emil said on May 4, 2020 at 6:54 pm
        Reply

        Books just reflect ambient light, the screen really shines in your eyes. I’m old enough to have had an amber monitor and I think white backgrounds are part laziness, part design error.

      2. Anonymous said on May 4, 2020 at 10:25 pm
        Reply

        20% gray background is great as long as the text is not 40% gray. *cough APPLE cough*

    2. Clairvaux said on May 4, 2020 at 11:53 am
      Reply

      Good dark themes don’t have white text on a dark background. For best results, the text needs to be a lightly colored grey.

      That’s what it is on Ghacks for me with Dark Reader.

      I think I’ve tested the extension presented here, judging by its (horrible) settings page. I discarded it rather quickly.

  5. Kubrick said on May 4, 2020 at 10:59 am
    Reply

    On firefox i much prefer dark mode by grephy.

    Incidentally this extension is available on pale moon by the name of after dark.

    1. Frank said on May 4, 2020 at 3:07 pm
      Reply

      Dude.

      Dark Mode by Grephy is for Chrome, not Firefox.

      1. Kubrick said on May 4, 2020 at 4:48 pm
        Reply

        @frank.
        You are correct and the firefox version which is the same is by bernard.
        Thanks.

      2. Jay said on May 6, 2020 at 7:05 pm
        Reply

        Seems he also provides the addon for Firefox, just with a different username. Follow the website link on the Grephy Chrome addon’s store page, and then from there you’ll find links to Firefox, Opera, and Edge versions of the addon.

    2. plusminus_ said on May 4, 2020 at 8:21 pm
      Reply

      I have been using bernard’s Dark Mode in Waterfox for a long time; it has worked quite well after the setup and occasional exclusion.

      I have recently started using Dark Background and Light Text on my Android devices and have been surprised by its simplicity and efficacy. I may have to try it in Waterfox one of these days.

  6. Tom Hawack said on May 4, 2020 at 11:54 am
    Reply

    I do use a dark theme extension and after having tried several I’m sticking on ‘Dark Reader’.
    ‘Dark Background and Light Text’ is nice as well but if I remember correctly there is one page element which it does not handled specifically : the borders (I think those take the chosen text color) and IMO a no eye-strain dark page requires borders’ color to be far less bright than those of fonts, otherwise looks horrible on pages which carry many borders.

    The only thing I dislike with ‘Dark Reader’ is that it calls home (darkreader.github.io) on every Firefox start. I had to create a dedicated rule to block it. What’s the purpose of phoning home for an extension which doesn’t rely on home data? Otherwise works nicely, I use it on a per-domain whitelist (off by default) mainly because some heavy sites are long to initialize with ‘Dark Theme’ applied, i.e. YouTube, in which case I’ll prefer a dedicated CSS (i.e. for YouTube, ‘YouTube DeepDark Material’ at [https://gitlab.com/RaitaroH/Import-All-Deepdark] brilliant, fast). I don’t use YouTube’s default Dark Theme because I block cookies for YouTube.

    1. George said on May 4, 2020 at 3:04 pm
      Reply

      Hi Tom, if you’d bothered to do any research, you’d know that the only reason the Dark Reader extension “phones home” as you call it is to share news and updates about the extension from the author of the extension. The block of code, found in 3 seconds on GitHub:

      const response = await fetch(`https://darkreader.github.io/blog/posts.json?date=${(new Date()).toISOString().substring(0, 10)}`, {cache: ‘no-cache’});

      OMG SO SCARY.

      1. Tom Hawack said on May 4, 2020 at 5:10 pm
        Reply

        @George, thanks for the information. My opinion is that the explanation should be provided, explicitly, by the developer and not be tied to a user’s research. This said, “the shared news and updates about the extension” need not be performed at each Firefox start when once a day be far enough, IMO.

      2. Clairvaux said on May 5, 2020 at 10:40 am
        Reply

        This has unintended results. Recently, I saw on my Dark Reader panel a part I had never seen before. It was a so-called news section, warning about fake Dark Reader extensions spreading malware.

        I panicked, and thought this was actually a fake Dark Reader extension spreading malware, using the ages-old technique of pretending to warn you against hackers. So of course I did not click on the link pretending to tell me about those fake extensions.

        Turned out that this was actually the legitimate thing. Developers, don’t suddenly change your users’ habits without warning them, especially on security-related matters. I’m not used to my extensions broadcasting news to me. If you must do it, explain it in gentle and obvious steps.

      3. Antonio said on May 5, 2020 at 3:14 pm
        Reply

        Where have I to put such pieci of code?
        Thanks.

        P.S.: I’d tried every “night mode” addon. Dark reader is the best, even if it’s heavy, and with a lot of opended tabs FF can advices that the extension slows the page (up)load.

  7. Frank said on May 4, 2020 at 2:49 pm
    Reply

    Yes, it’s the best and I always use it in Firefox and Iridium.
    These colors are my favorite with no blue lights:
    foreground #408000
    background #000000
    link #998000
    visited link #FF8C00
    active link #FF0000
    selection #660000

  8. Anonymous said on May 4, 2020 at 2:50 pm
    Reply

    I’ve tested a few of these type of extensions and none of them are as good Dark Reader or Midnight Lizard.A good test is to go to googles home page.There is usually something missing or hidden.But not with the two I mentioned.

    Some of these extensions also go for a very dark background which isn’t necessary.Dark Reader takes the right approach with this by not making the background so dark.

    The reader mode in Firefox also has a dark option.

  9. darkthemelx said on May 4, 2020 at 2:52 pm
    Reply

    I used to use this extension, but fortunately I met Dark Reader and I am using it since then. Dark Reader feels more reliable.

  10. Janne Granström said on May 4, 2020 at 3:14 pm
    Reply

    Bright white and black isnt helping your eyes a one… bit.

    Black needed to be dark gray and text lighter gray, otherwise there is too much contrast and that is the thing what is bad for your eyes.

    1. gilbert said on May 6, 2020 at 12:43 pm
      Reply

      > bad for your eyes?

      Is that science, or is that related to something your mom told you?

  11. NoSorry said on May 4, 2020 at 3:41 pm
    Reply

    I prefer Midnight Lizard to all the others that I have tried, and I have tried a lot! It’s pretty resource heavy but it just looks so much better!

  12. motang said on May 4, 2020 at 4:31 pm
    Reply

    I love using DarkReader, as I set it to automatically go to dark depending on my location or time.

  13. Anonymous said on May 4, 2020 at 5:09 pm
    Reply

    I’m using Dark View (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/darkview/). Simple, lightweight, but get the job done.

  14. ipnonymous said on May 4, 2020 at 7:42 pm
    Reply

    Dark themed concepts would be great if firefox developers would fix the functionality to include ALL pages like those protected by mozilla. Nothing worse than working with a dark theme to improve eyestrain in low-light conditions only to be suddenly blinded by one of the aforementioned BRIGHT WHITE pages. If there is way around this please comment.

    Firefox please fix this!

    1. way around said on May 5, 2020 at 1:50 am
      Reply

      user_pref(“extensions.webextensions.restrictedDomains”, “”);

    2. Jetson said on May 6, 2020 at 12:38 pm
      Reply

      I agree. That’s why I no longer use dark modes. I do prefer them, if everything was that way, but being blinded by a random white page ruins that whole dark experience for me.

      Just switching between dark pages will often flash white at you, which sucks.

  15. Ray said on May 4, 2020 at 9:06 pm
    Reply

    The default color scheme for Dark Background and Light Text is not great.

    That being said, it’s the most lightweight dark mode addon out there. I’ve tested most of the dark mode addons on AMO and Dark Reader has the best algorithm, but can be really slow on sites with large stylesheets since they have to parse each CSS rule.

  16. Anonymous said on May 5, 2020 at 12:05 am
    Reply

    I been using ‘Force dark mode for web contents’ flag on Chrome.

    1. Kubrick said on May 5, 2020 at 4:00 pm
      Reply

      @anonymous
      That flag is completely useless as it has no per domain toggle and has no switch on the toolbar so its a case of going into flags all the time.

  17. DrKnow said on May 6, 2020 at 1:17 am
    Reply

    LOL at all the experts in GUI design. I know it’s a personal choice…

    Black or dark backgrounds are a horrible design choice.
    Why do ALL the major shopping sites use a a light background by choice? It really isn’t a coincidence.

    1. Colonel Angus said on May 6, 2020 at 12:21 pm
      Reply

      Why?

      It’s because that’s the way most print media has been, so they simply did the same with digital as that came in, to look familiar to the masses, as that’s important to marketing folks. Also, back in the day, print media (i.e. advertising, logos and such) most often had white backgrounds, so it was easy enough to just use the same on the web.

      But as for functional design, understand that long before the marketing folks were involved, dark backgrounds have been a popular choice, as with ASCII, DOS, radar screens, oscilloscopes, and more, as among things, it’s easy on the eyes. It really isn’t a coincidence.

      But I take it you don’t trust the science of the experts, as you think this is all just a personal choice?

      LOL

      1. Anonymous said on August 29, 2020 at 8:54 pm
        Reply

        Touché. Well said. We have to be careful when arguing with the masses themselves, but you have made an excellent attempt.

  18. Peter Newton said on May 19, 2020 at 12:49 am
    Reply

    Hi all

    I’ve used this add-on with FF for a very long time now, and after trying most of the alternatives, found it to be the simplest and the best, even though it does not work on every single web page.

    With each new version it does seem to get better, and more successful with the pages that previous versions could not convert.

    Why on Earth web developers feel the need to torture our eyes with acres of white space is completely beyond me. Without this add-on it is an eye watering experience, and I can’t help thinking that, by turning down the brightness of the pixels, it has to contribute to extending the life of the monitor, as well as being more comfortable on the eyes.

    Some developers hate the idea of users, modifying their web pages, in those circumstances, rewriting css files on the fly becomes difficult, and this probably places a significant restriction on the capability of the plugin, hence those odd pages which do not convert.

    I’ve yet to find the perfect solution, but for the time being, this add-on will suffice.

    Peter Newton [London UK]

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