How to use the New Dark Mode in Notepad++

How to use the New Dark Mode in Notepad++

Learn to make Notepad++ look more like Visual Studio Code


2 min read

If you're like me, you may prefer the bright default look of Notepad++ (NPP), but still sometimes wish you had a Dark Mode option like Visual Studio Code (VSC.) Sure, you've long been able to customize NPP with themes, but themes only affect the editor and not the UI, leaving the top of the window distractingly bright.

Well, we're both in luck because this month NPP v8 was released, and among its new features is Dark Mode! If you haven't already upgraded to version 8, you can download it here if NPP doesn't update automatically.

To enable Dark Mode:

  2. DARK MODE > "Enable dark Mode"
  3. Close and Reopen program for it to take full effect

darkmode01.webp darkmode02.webp

Now Dark Mode is enabled! However, the editor area is unaffected, because it still requires a theme.

The theme we're going to use is "VS2019-Dark-Npp" by user hellon8 on Github.

To Install The Theme

  1. Download "VS2019-Dark.xml" from the repository linked above
  2. If the "themes" folder is not in your NPP installation folder, you'll find it in the "Users\Appdata" folder. I found my themes folder at "C:\Users\MY_USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Notepad++\themes"
  3. Then from the menu, go to "Settings > Style Configurator"
  4. Select the "VSC2019-Dark" theme from the dropdown

darkmode04.webp darkmode05.webp

The Style Configurator also allows you to customize the theme and its presentation if you wish (and of course, you can edit the XML file directly.) However, I'm happy with the theme mostly as is. The only thing I changed was the Global Font Size, which I set for my reading comfort to 14.


I loaded a sample HTML file in the screenshot below so you can see how faithful the styling is now!


By now though, you've probably noticed that, unfortunately, the Dark Mode has little to no affect on pop-up menus and the plugins. Personally, I wish they had gone with a dark gray for the menu bar (or allowed us to pick the color ourselves) as I find the contrast to be a tad too high still. However, I'm overall happy with this new Dark Mode, and I'm sure they'll further refine it in future updates.

Pro-tip: If you use the NppFTP plugin and you're bothered by the white boxes, know that you can safely close the NppFTP window without disconnecting from the server.

And that's all she wrote!

I hope you found this tutorial useful and appreciate the update as much as I do. If you have a preferred NPP dark theme or customization trick, feel free to share in the comments. Bye! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป