Dark Mode in Origin 2024

Dark mode reduces eye strain, saves energy, presents a modern look, and is trendy in applications and operation systems. We added Dark mode support in Origin and OriginPro 2024 to join the trend and make Origin cooperate better with other applications.

A Dark Mode toolbar has also been added to easily toggle the dark mode of the entire GUI, child windows, set ground dark mode background color, and update legend in existing worksheet. If you have an older version of Origin on same PC, the toolbar may be floating by default.

GUI Dark Mode

By default, Origin follows your operating system’s mode. When the GUI dark mode is on, the workspace, child windows, menus, toolbars, dockable windows, dialogs, script window and code builder will all be in dark mode. You can click the 1st button on the Dark Mode toolbar to turn the mode on and off.

The corresponding System Variable is @CTP.

  • 2(default) — follow OS
  • 1 — on
  • 0 — off

6 different dark themes Black, Blue, Coffee, Gray, Pumpkin, and Purple are provided under Preferences: Dark Theme menu. Please see the last section of the blog of how to create your own Dark theme.

Child Window Dark Mode

Although dark mode is stylish and appealing, some may want dark mode off for certain window types or a specific child windows.

To turn on/off dark mode of certain child window type

Using workbook as an example, with any workbook window active, press use hotkey Alt+5 or click the 2nd button (Dark Mode by Window Type) on Dark Mode toolbar to toggle it off.

It will be applied to all workbook windows and future workbooks.. You can control dark mode for all child window types, e.g. workbook, matrix, graph (together with layout), notes, and image windows.

The corresponding System Variable @WDD is used to disable child window type dark mode

  • 0x01 — graph
  • 0x02 — workbook
  • 0x04 — matrix
  • 0x08 — image
  • 0x10 — notes

 Set @WDD=0 so all child window types are in dark mode

Combination bits are allowed to produce cumulative effects. E.g. set @WDD=7 (1+2+4) to disable dark mode in graph, workbook and matrix windows. You may need to refresh once on existing window.

To turn on/off dark mode of a single child window

Active the window and then press hotkey Ctrl+5 or click the the 3rd button (Dark Mode for Current Window) on Dark Mode toolbar to toggle it off.

Only the current window’s dark mode will be affected.

For a multi-sheet workbook, there is a LabTalk property to turn off dark mode from the sheet level. Activate the sheet. Run wks.nodark=1 in the Script window.

We don’t support turning on dark mode of child windows when GUI is in light mode, with one exception: Graph and Layout windows. You can even turn dark mode on for graph and layout window even if the GUI is in light mode.

Highlight Effect of Data Selection in Books

In previous versions, we used reversed color effect for data selection in Workbook and Matrix. But it doesn’t work well with dark mode so we changed the highlight effect in Origin 2024. When you select cells, ranges, columns, or rows in a workbook, transparent light blue will show around the selection.

Graph/Layout Dark Mode Background Color

For other child windows such as Workbook, Matrix, Notes, etc., the dark mode background color is fixed black, while for graph and layout windows, it’s customizable. As long as your graph window is in dark mode, it will use the dark mode background color. It’s an easy way to set a consistent background color for all your graph windows.

The corresponding System Variable is @GVC.

  • 1 — use dark mode color
  • 0 — disable dark mode color so background will be white

The Dark Mode background color is different from setting a real color for graph page background. If you choose Format: Page… to open Page Properties dialog, you will see the background color is actually Auto, which means no specific background color is set for the page. So the background is still transparent when you copy page to other applications or export as image. E.g. try to copy such graph to PowerPoint with dark background, you will notice the PowerPoint background can show through.

You may notice that in dark mode, some black colored graph elements such as axis, legend, plot reverse color automatically. We will talk about color reversal later in the blog. Whether the graph element colors are copied as it shows on screen and not is controlled by status of Preferences: Copy Page in Dark Mode Like on Screen.

Example of working with PPT in Dark Background

With dark mode getting popular in other software, chances are you may need to import Origin graphs into other software with dark mode.

Suppose your PPT background is dark or even a dark image. You want to create graph with graph elements like axis, labels, etc. all in light color and paste it to PPT. The background should be transparent so that the PPT background can show. You may double-click the graph in PPT to reopen Origin for further customization in the future.

In the past, you would have to set the graph page background to a dark color so you can make and see the graph elements with light colors. Before pasting in PPT, you would have to set background back to None to get transparent background. Copy page (Ctrl+J) and paste to PPT.

Later, when you double-click the graph to edit further in Origin, the background is white since we use white for transparent background. To be able to see the light axis and edit the plot, you would have to set page background to some dark color again, do further customization, and then you would need to set background back to to none and push back to PPT. It’s a lot of work.

In Origin 2024, you just need to set the dark mode auto color. It will give you a virtual look on screen. The copied page still transparent.


  • There is also Follow Dark Mode Color checkbox in Export graph and Copy Graph as Image dialogs.
  • For graph/layout with dark mode color, when exporting as EMF, PDF, and SVG, there will be no background color, while raster files like BMP, JPG, PNG and TIF all will include background color in export.

Dynamic Color Reversal in Graph/Layout

Origin reverses colors dynamically on graph and layout windows so that no matter if the graph is created in light or dark mode, it will look good.

Control When Dynamic Reversal Happens

The dynamic color reversal is triggered by the luminance of dark mode background color. The System Variable is @GLD.

The default value is 28 so that color only reverses for very dark background. E.g. if you set dark mode background as dark gray, the black plots, axis and labels, etc. will reverse to white; while if you set dark mode background as gray, the color will not reverse.

But if you set @GLD=60, even for gray backgrounds, the colors will reverse.

Control What Color Reverses

Origin provide multiple levels of color reversal to fit different needs. The corresponding System Variable is @DCR.

  • 0 = No — no color reversal so what you set will be what you see.
  • 1 = Black Only — black will reverse to white (foreground color)
  • 2 = Black and White — black will reverse to white (foreground color) and white will reverse to black.
  • 3 = Gray colors — gray colors from black to white will reverse, e.g. dark gray will turn into light gray.
  • 4 = All colors — all colors will reverse, this is similar to MS Word. E.g. if you choose light yellow, it may show as dark yellow.
  • 5 = Customized (default) — controlled by DarkColor.ini.

The setting is on Page tab of Preferences: Options dialog.

As the hint indicates, if you choose Customized, choose Preferences: Dark Mode Color Mapping … menu to customize the color mapping, (Note: The menu will not show if you choose other settings) a workbook will open for your to specify color in light mode and its counterpart in dark mode. Please click Save after customization. It will be saved to DarkColors.ini under \User Files\Themes\Graph\ folder.

When Dynamic Color Reversal is Black Only, or Black and White, black is reversed to white, which we call foreground color and you can customize the foreground color on Page tab of Preferences: Options dialog.

When inserting a worksheet into a graph/layout window as a table object, by default it follows graph’s dark mode.

The System Variable is @TCP.

  • 0 (default) — follow graph’s mode
  • 2 — table will show in light mode,
  • 3 — table will show in dark mode

Dynamic Color Reversal for Workbook

If a workbook is in dark mode, the background is always black. There is no dark mode background color control in workbook.

When inserting graph into workbook, the graph will show workbook’s black background and ignore the dark mode background of graph. The System Variable is @DCA (default 0). Set it to 1 to use graph’s dark mode background color.

Customize Dark Theme

We shipped 6 dark themes under C:\Program Files\OriginLab\Origin2024\Themes\DarkMode\ folder. You can make your own Dark Theme as follows:

  • Start a new workbook.
  • In the Script window, enter the command mem -pw and press Enter to execute it.
  • Current dark theme colors are loaded in a workbook.

Most entries are self-explanatory.BK1~BK7 are gradient background colors, representing luminance from small value to large value, so BK1 is darkest background color. Highlight1~Highlight4 are highlight colors, representing luminance from small value to large value. In most cases, Highlight1 used for fill, like highlight fill in object manager. Highlight4 used for frame, like toolbar selected item frame.

  • Click on the color cell and use the Mini Toolbar to change color.

E.g. The ActiveWindowIndicator and BK5 is modified which affects highlight of selected menu item.

  • Then in Script window, enter command mem -pe “MyDark” and press Enter key to save the theme as MyDark
  • Pick the user-defined theme from Preferences: Dark Theme menu .

Notice that now there is magenta frame around active window, and currently selected menu item has a light gray background.

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