[Theme Editor] Dark Theme/Dark Mode for Canvas

Hello all! I am a student, and I am here to suggest an idea that I thought would make Canvas more personalized. I think a dark theme would be great for Canvas since some students like to stay up at night (not me), and the bright white light from Canvas can hurt their eyes. The main reason why I want it is because it would look better on my computer. Youtube and Google have these options, why not Canvas? Thank you for reading!


  Comments from Instructure

While we are not able to announce that this idea has been completed, it is important to celebrate that Dark Mode has been added to Canvas Student, Canvas Teacher, and Canvas Parent. (2022-07-05)

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi matthew.keating21 Welcometo the Canvas Community. You are definitely not the first to bring this up as a feature idea. In fact, there was another idea, https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/9569 It was recently archived so I thank you for taking the time to bring this back up for voting. There are a number of good solutions that you can use now in the comments of that idea that I will quote below. If you'd like to delve deeper into the Community check out the Getting Started‌ page. Hope these comments will help and we see you around! Cheers!


From  @KristinL ‌:

In the meantime, have you tried the Chrome Extension Screen ShaderDark Reader, or Night Mode Pro? I also love these Gamma Ray Glasses that reduce eye strain from blue light and screen glare. Both of these options may be more immediate fixes for you! Please Note -- These are general recommendations from what I learned as a customer and personal research is encouraged. That way, you find a tool that best meets your individual needs.

Community Champion

I'm voting for this due to the number of kids I'm seeing with diagnosed Irlen Syndrome. https://irlen.com/what-is-irlen-syndrome/  

Thanks for the idea  @matthew_keating 

Community Novice

Thank you! And I didn't realize what Irlen Syndrome was until you brought it to my attention, very good point. 

Community Contributor

Very nice feature suggestion to further UDL principles and promote Canvas at the same time!  @Bobby2 ‌,  @matthew_keating ‌

Community Participant

Would really like to see this option available in the future.

Community Novice

As someone who is colorblind (all reds and most dark blues), I have found that using white or light themes are worse on my eyes for viewing content. The added customization of providing our own hex code for the calendar feature is great, but a dark theme would become easier to view the necessary components that we as students need to see to access our classes. I would love to have the option of a dark/night theme for those of us who have color deficiencies. 

I access the mobile version of Canvas quite often, so the solutions about the chrome extensions do not apply to this app.

Thank you!


Thank you for coming here and contributing this helpful feedback and  @kelly_huang  Welcome to the Canvas Community!

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

The majority of Canvas (in terms of screen real estate, particularly the black text on a white background part) is content created by instructors and students. That means for dark mode to be effective Canvas would have to modify user created content which could potentially make it difficult or impossible to use depending on the nature of that content. This is no small task technologically since, unlike say Twitter, Canvas users can create rich content that can't safely just have it's colors inverted.

However, what I'm more interested in isn't the technical feasibility, but how instructors (and students!) would feel knowing their content may not be displayed as they created it.

Note: This is just an academic exercise because I'm curious what the community thinks. 🙂 

Community Champion

It's already the case that content is not displayed as we create it given that we might be working on a desktop, and our students might be viewing on mobile. The way Canvas deals with that is through really huge decisions that you make about the design architecture and what you do, and do not, let us do as users (and I'm speaking about individual users whose choices are very much constrained, as opposed to admins who do get in there and mess with the CSS).

So I think in the same way that there has been a push for both accessibility and for usability across platforms, it would make sense to have a variety of CSS templates to choose from, so that the users could choose. I'm a long-time user of Blogger and over the year they have greatly expanded the range of templates that you can use to display content there, and each template comes with a full range of CSS so that the "same" content displays very nicely in templates that are light (which I prefer) or templates that are dark (which many of my students prefer).

The design constraints and consequences for light versus dark are much less daunting than the design challenges for desktop versus mobile display, so my guess is that this is very do-able; it's just a question of how much energy/effort Instructure would want to put into that.

Anyway, I personally think it would be GREAT if students could choose the display theme, light or dark, that works best for them, either because of personal reading preferences OR because of specific reading circumstances (like reading at night).

Community Champion

P.S. Just two quick screenshots of Blogger theme developer. I almost always use light themes, but I do use one dark theme. Screenshots below: top is a light theme, bottom is a dark theme -- if I wanted to change my dark blog to light or vice versa, the content would be fine because Blogger is running all the top-level CSS, just as Instructure (plus admins) run the top-level CSS for Canvas content (there are about a dozen main themes, and then variations within those themes -- a tiny sliver compared to the world of WordPress but to be honest I like that about Blogger; it's less overwhelming).

light blog theme

dark blog theme