How to Turn on Dark Mode for Your Most Used Apps in Windows – Make Tech Easier

Make Tech Easier


Many of us spend long periods of time staring at a screen. Unfortunately, this can result in some serious eye strain and fatigue. Luckily, many of your favorite apps have a “dark mode” that can alleviate the problem. Find out how you can turn on dark mode for some of your most used apps in Windows.

Windows 10 boasts a system-wide dark mode; however, turning this on will not affect any of the Office apps. Fortunately, a dark theme is built in to each of the Office apps, from Office 2013 onwards Unfortunately, the dark theme for Microsoft Office is currently only available on Window-based PCs.

dark-mode-msword-select

To enable the dark theme, click on “File” in Word, Excel, Outlook or PowerPoint. Locate the option that reads “Account” in the side menu. On the right find the dropdown box labeled “Office Theme.” You’ll notice that the default option is “colorful.” Clicking the dropdown box will reveal other options including Dark Grey, Black and White. It should go without saying that we’re most interested in Dark Grey and Black.

dark-mode-excel

Black gives you the darkest theme available, whereas Dark grey uses different shades of grey. Which one you should enable comes down to personal preference. The theme you choose will be applied across all of your Microsoft Office apps. It will even affect Office apps on other PCs, provided you are signed into your Microsoft account.

Despite seeming relatively easy, apparently the folks over at Microsoft had a hard time bringing a dark theme to the operating system’s File Explorer app.

dark-theme-win-file-explorer

To enable the dark theme in Windows 10, head to Settings. From there, select “Personalisation.” On the next screen look for the option called “Colors” in the grey menu bar on the left and click on it. The right side of the screen should read “Colors” in the header. Directly underneath the header you will see “Choose your default app mode,” followed by “Light” and “Dark.” Clicking on “Dark” will automatically apply the dark theme to Windows File Explorer.

Dark themes may be all the rage now, but Google has been way ahead of the curve. Gmail has had a dark mode for years, and turning it on is super simple. All you need to do is sign into your Gmail account and locate the cog icon in the top-right corner. Clicking on the cog icon will bring down a dropdown menu with various options to choose from. The one that you want to click on is, unsurprisingly, “Themes.”

dark-gmail-theme

Here you’ll find a variety of different themes to choose from. The ones you’re going to want to try are the appropriately named “Dark” and “Terminal” options. Dark tends to use various shades of grey, whereas Terminal uses more pure blacks. Just choose the one that works best for you.

Like Microsoft Office, Microsoft’s Edge browser has a dark theme that must be turned on separate from Windows 10’s built-in dark mode. To do so, click on the menu button (three dots) in the top-right corner of Microsoft Edge. This will cause a menu to slide out from the side of the Edge window. Next, click on “Settings.” In this menu you’ll see a dropdown box labeled “Choose a theme.” Click on the dropdown box and select “Dark” to replace the default “Light’ theme.

dark-mode-msedge

Be aware that the “Dark” theme only changes the Microsoft Edge interface. It will not change the look of any of the webpages you may visit. If you are interested in making webpages darker, you’ll have to install an Edge browser plugin like Turn off the Lights.

If Firefox is your browser of choice, you’re in luck. The folks over at Mozilla have integrated a dark mode to their super popular web browser. The best part is that this works with Windows, macOS and Linux. To apply the darker theme, open the app and click on the menu icon, which looks like three stacked lines, in the top-right corner of the window. Next, you’ll want to click on the puzzle piece icon labelled “Add-ons.”

dark-firefox-themes

On the next screen click on the paintbrush icon on the left side of the screen. This will bring up the themes available for Firefox. There are only three themes pre-installed, Default, Light and Dark. Light features light greys, whereas Dark uses darker shades of grey. Choose whichever suits you by clicking the “Enable” button next to theme. If Firefox’s pre-installed options aren’t doing it for you, you can download more themes by clicking the link that reads “Choose from thousands of themes.”

dark-chrome-reader

Logic would suggest that if Gmail has a built-in dark mode, then so would Chrome. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Hopefully, at some point in the future, Google will add a dark mode to their super popular browser, but for now you’ll have to settle for a third-party browser extension. Dark Reader seems to be the most popular; however, there are others available.

Do you use dark themes? Which apps do you use frequently that have built-in dark modes? Do you feel as though dark mode helps with eye strain and fatigue? Let us know in the comments!



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How to Set Google as Your Homepage in Any Web Browser

How to Set Google as Your Homepage in Any Web Browser


Your choice of homepage says a lot about you as a person. Much like your desktop wallpaper, it can give people a lasting impression about your persona. However, unlike a wallpaper or a theme, it also has to retain an element of usefulness.

There’s no point in choosing a homepage that’s only on your screen for two seconds before you navigate away.

In terms of usefulness, you can’t get much better than Google. Sure, you could try something like Reddit or Google News, but Google Search is the ultimate web portal. But how do you make Google your homepage? Here’s how to do it on the four major web browsers.

How to Set Your Homepage on Google Chrome

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click on the Menu icon in the upper right-hand corner (three vertical dots).
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Scroll down to On Startup.
  5. Mark the checkbox next to Open a specific page or set of pages.
  6. Enter www.google.com into the on-screen box.

How to Set Your Homepage on Microsoft Edge

  1. Open Edge.
  2. Click on the More icon in the upper right-hand corner (three horizontal dots).
  3. Select Settings.
  4. In the dropdown menu under Open Microsoft Edge With, choose A Specific Page or Pages.
  5. Enter www.google.com in the on-screen box.

How to Set Your Homepage on Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Click on the Menu button (three horizontal lines).
  3. Select Options.
  4. In the panel on the left-hand side of the screen, choose General.
  5. Scroll down to When Firefox starts.
  6. Select Show your homepage.
  7. Enter www.google.com into the Homepage box at the bottom of the screen.

How to Set Your Homepage on Safari

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Go to Safari > Preferences.
  3. In the new window, select the General tab.
  4. Scroll down to the Homepage field.
  5. Enter www.google.com.
  6. Select Change Homepage when prompted.

Remember, these aren’t the only worthwhile desktop browsers. If you’d like to try a less common app, check out our best browsers guide


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.


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Continuity Alternative: 5 Best Windows Programs for Android

Continuity Alternative: 5 Best Windows Programs for Android


While you’re free to use whatever OS you prefer, there are tons of benefits to staying in one ecosystem. Perhaps nobody knows this better than Mac and iPhone users, who enjoy Continuity, FaceTime, AirDrop, and more.

But what about the world’s most popular desktop OS, Windows, and the most popular mobile OS, Android? Even though they aren’t made by the same company, you’ll find tons of apps to connect them. Here’s how to make your computer and phone work better together.

1. Chrome, Firefox, Edge: Sync Browser Data

Safari is the default browser on macOS and iOS, and it provides several cross-platform benefits. But you can get many of those same perks using your browser of choice.

Install Chrome, Firefox, or even Microsoft Edge on your Android phone, and you can take advantage of their continuity features. This includes syncing your bookmarks, history, open tabs, autofill info, and more.

Chrome

Open Chrome on your PC and click the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner. Choose Settings and under People, make sure you have Sync enabled. You can select Sync to remove some types of data. If you don’t see the option, you need to sign into Chrome with your Google account first.

best windows programs for android

Then, on your phone, open Chrome and tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right. Tap Settings and then select your name at the top of the list. Make sure you’re signed into Chrome with the same Google account, and all your information will sync.

best windows programs for android

Download: Google Chrome for Android (Free)

Firefox

On your PC, open Firefox and click the three-bar Menu button in the upper-right. Choose Options and then click the Firefox Account tab on the left. Here, you can create or sign into a Firefox account if you haven’t done so already. Once you’re logged in, choose what you want to sync.

best windows programs for android

Then, on your phone’s Firefox app, tap the three-dot Menu button and choose Settings. Tap Sign in at the top and log into your Firefox account to get everything synced up.

best windows programs for android

Download: Firefox for Android (Free)

Edge

If you prefer to use Microsoft’s new browser


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on Windows 10, you can pair it up with your phone too.

Open Edge on your PC, click the three-dot Menu button and select Settings. On this menu, look for the Account header. Make sure your Microsoft account email is here and the Sync your favorites slider is on.

best windows programs for android

Then, install Edge on your phone, tap Sign in, and log into your Microsoft account. If you already had Edge installed, tap the three-dot Menu button in the bottom-right corner of the browser and tap Sign in.

Once you’ve connected your Microsoft account, you can also choose to sync your saved passwords, which requires verification. While convenient, we recommend that you don’t save passwords in your browser and instead save them in a dedicated password manager like LastPass. Even without syncing passwords, Edge will sync your Favorites and Reading List.

best windows programs for android

If you want to push links from your phone to your PC, you’ll need to sync your phone to Windows. Open the Settings app in Windows 10, then select the Phone entry. Click Add a phone and enter your phone number. You’ll receive a text with a link to download Microsoft Launcher, which is a solid replacement


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. It’s not required to use, though; once you’ve linked your phone you’re ready to send links via Edge.

Tap the Send button on the bottom bar and choose your computer to send the link. You can also tap Continue later to send a notification instead.

Download: Microsoft Edge for Android (Free)

2. Pushbullet: Sync Notifications and Share Files

Syncing your browser takes care of a lot, but Pushbullet fills in some gaps of your Android-Windows continuity. This app allows you to easily share pictures, documents, and other files between your devices. It also mirrors your notifications so you can see what’s happening on your Android without ever picking up your phone


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.

Head to Pushbullet’s website and create an account to get started. You can use the browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, or install the Windows app if you’d prefer. After you have an account, install the Pushbullet app on your phone and sign in.

From there, check out our guide to using Pushbullet


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Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength

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for full instructions. You can share links and files instantly, reply to messages, view your notifications, and more. Pushbullet offers a Pro plan, but the free version should be enough for most people. If you need Pro features but don’t want to pay, try one of the best free alternatives


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The 7 Best Free Alternatives to Pushbullet

Mad that Pushbullet is suddenly expensive? Don’t worry, there are plenty of free alternatives.
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.

Download: Pushbullet for Android | Chrome | Firefox | Windows (Free)

3. Pulse or MightyText: Text From Your PC

You have plenty of options for Android keyboards


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, but they all pale in comparison to typing on a real keyboard. Thus, if you’re at your computer, it doesn’t make sense to pick up your phone to reply to a message. While Pushbullet lets you respond to texts, the free plan limits you to 100 messages per month.

The best two dedicated apps for texting on PC are Pulse SMS and MightyText. We’ve already claimed Pulse as one of the best SMS apps for Android


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While it’s totally free without ads, you can pay a small fee to access your messages from a browser extension/website, plus Android tablets, Android Wear, and more. This costs $1/month, $2 for three months, $6/year, or $11 for a lifetime subscription. If you text from your PC regularly, this is a no-brainer.

If you don’t like Pulse for some reason, give MightyText a try. Like Pulse, it lets you send and receive texts on your PC. The free plan has a limit of 150 messages per month, which isn’t much for heavy texters. Upgrading to Pro removes this limit and gives you access to many more features, but it’s a hard sell at a whopping $80 per year.

If you can’t pay, the 250 combined messages per month from Pushbullet and MightyText might get you by. But we think the relatively low price for a lifetime of Pulse messages is definitely worth the cost.

Download: Pulse SMS for Android | Chrome | Firefox | Web (Free)
Download: MightyText for Android | Windows | Chrome | Web (Free)

4. Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive: File Access

While Pushbullet is great for quickly sharing a file you need right away, it isn’t a true cloud storage solution. For that, you should create an account with a popular cloud storage platform like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or similar.

There’s no right or wrong choice here


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; whichever you prefer is fine.

Google Drive gives you the most free storage at 15GB, while OneDrive is best integrated with Windows


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. Download the app for your platform on both Windows and Android, create a few folders, and you’ll have access to your most important files anywhere you go. Conveniently, many of the best Android backup apps


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let you back up to your cloud storage.

Plus, all three of these apps have automatic photo backup capabilities


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, ensuring that you’ll never lose a precious picture again.

Download: Dropbox for Android | Windows (Free)
Download: Google Drive for Android | Windows (Free)
Download: OneDrive for Android | Windows (Free)

5. Cortana: Notifications

While it’s a similar feature set to Pushbullet, Windows 10 offers built-in notification syncing with Android now. It only requires that you sign into your PC with a Microsoft account and download the Cortana app on your phone. This lets you get call, app, and low battery notifications, as well as quick replies for text messages.

We’ve covered everything about using Cortana to sync your Android notifications.

Download: Cortana for Android (Free)

Don’t Forget Microsoft’s Excellent Android Apps

best windows programs for android

If you love Microsoft’s apps on your PC, you’re in luck on Android too. While these apps don’t offer tons of continuity between Android and Windows, they provide familiar interfaces and let you access your account files (where applicable).

We’ve written all about the great Microsoft apps available for Android


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. If you want your mobile experience to approximate what you use on your PC, give them a try.

Windows and Android Share a Heartbeat

With these apps, you can sync up notifications, files, messages, and browser data between your phone and PC. That’s nearly everything important on your device that you can access using your keyboard and big screen. Don’t be jealous of Mac and iPhone users — you can do basically everything they can!

Use many computers? Check out the best ways to sync your bookmarks across every device


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How to Disable Annoying Notifications on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and More

How to Disable Annoying Notifications on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and More


Browser notifications let websites announce important updates. Websites send notifications to alert you to new emails, blog posts, or special offers. These notifications are genuinely useful in some cases like Gmail where it can notify you of a new email


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.

But sadly, most websites these days have “abused” this feature to the point where you get bombarded with notifications. Notifications can interrupt your browsing experience and distract your focus thus they quickly turn into an annoyance.

You can deny permission when a website requests you to send notifications. You would just have to do it for every website. So, wouldn’t it be great if you could stop websites from sending you notifications altogether?

Here’s how you can do just that.

How to Turn Off Google Chrome Notifications

To disable website notifications on Chrome, follow the instructions below.

  1. Click the three-dot menu button on the right and click Settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and click Advanced.
  3. Find and click on Content Settings.
  4. Click Notifications.
  5. Toggle Ask before sending to the left and disable it.
  6. It should now display Blocked, indicating that notifications from all the websites will be blocked by default.

how to turn off notifications chrome firefox safari

Note that the websites that you’ve authorized to send notifications earlier can still send you notifications. If you want to block notifications from those websites, here’s how you can do it.

  1. Scroll down to the Allow section.
  2. Tap the menu button next to the website you want to disallow notifications from.
  3. Select Remove.

how to turn off notifications chrome firefox safari

The website will no longer be able to send you notifications.

Perhaps the best thing is that you can manually add an exception in the Allow section while still blocking out notifications from every other website out there. For instance, you can allow Facebook notifications


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, while disallowing annoying prompts from every other website.

How to Turn Off Notifications for Chrome Android/iOS

Disabling website notifications on Chrome for Android and iOS is pretty similar to that of Chrome on the desktop. Here’s how.

  1. Open Chrome on your Android device or iPhone.
  2. Tap the three-dot overflow menu button and click Settings.
  3. Tap Site settings > Notifications.
  4. Toggle the Notifications switch to disable it.

how to turn off notifications chrome firefox safari

How to Turn Off Safari Notifications

Like all notifications on Mac, the website notifications also slide out from the top right corner. Safari makes it pretty easy to stop websites from sending you notifications. Here’s how to block website notifications on Safari.

  1. Click Safari > Preferences from your Mac’s menu bar.
  2. Click on the Websites tab.
  3. Select Notifications from the sidebar.
  4. Uncheck the box where it says Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications.

how to turn off notifications chrome firefox safari

Once you enable this setting, websites will no longer prompt you to send notifications.

As with Chrome, you can still explicitly Allow or Deny individual websites to send you notifications, overriding this global setting.

Note that website push notifications are not supported on mobile Safari. I’m sure that there’s a technical reason behind it, but I think it’s a clever decision since we already have tons of apps that bomb us with notifications


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on our mobile devices.

How to Turn Off Mozilla Firefox Notifications

Firefox doesn’t let you disable website notifications altogether from its regular Settings window. To change this setting, you’ll need to dive into Firefox’s hidden about:config page.

Here’s how you can do that.

  1. Type about:config in the address bar and press enter.
  2. Click on I accept the risk.
  3. Type “notifications” in the Search bar.
  4. Find and double-click on dom.webnotifications.enabled.
  5. Its preference value will now be changed to false, indicating that website notifications have been disabled.

how to turn off notifications chrome firefox safari

If you’ve already granted permission to a website to send you notifications, you can configure it by going to Firefox’s Settings page.

  1. Go to Firefox > Preferences.
  2. Click Privacy & Security from the sidebar.
  3. Click the Settings button beside Notifications.
  4. Here, you should see the list of websites that have requested to send you notifications. You can click Allow or Deny and configure the setting for each website.

how to turn off notifications chrome firefox safari

How to Turn Off Opera Notifications

Opera makes it a breeze to disable websites from asking you to show notifications. Here’s how to disable website notifications on Opera.

  1. Open Opera > Preferences.
  2. Click Websites from the sidebar.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and find the Notifications section.
  4. Select Do not allow any site to show desktop notifications.

how to turn off notifications chrome firefox safari

To configure notifications on a per-website basis, click on Manage Exceptions. Here, you can Allow or Deny individual websites from sending you notifications.

Note that doing so will override the global setting configured above.

How to Turn Off Microsoft Edge Notifications

Website notifications saw the light of the day on Microsoft Edge with the Windows 10 Anniversary update


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. Unfortunately, Edge doesn’t let you disable website notification prompts altogether. However, you can still configure notifications on a per-website basis.

Here’s how to configure website notifications on Edge.

  1. Click the menu icon and select Settings.
  2. Find Advanced settings > Website permissions.
  3. Here, you can configure permission for websites.

We hope that Microsoft adds an option to disable notification prompts entirely in Edge. Until then, you’ll have to deal with these prompts on a per-site basis. Edge at least seems to remember your preference for the current website, though.

Say Goodbye to Annoying Website Notifications

Chrome introduced website notifications back in 2015, and most browsers followed suit. It gave web apps


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When Is It Better To Choose Web Apps Over Native Mac Apps?

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a native feel by letting them push notifications. It seemed like a great idea back then. For the most part, it still is, but the sheer number of websites implementing them leads to a frustrating experience.

For users who prefer Gmail’s web version instead of a native client


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, website notifications might be a boon. But for most of the news websites


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, I really don’t want to be notified every time you post a new update.

The information overload is real


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and you can easily feel overwhelmed amid such chaos. I’d prefer to block most websites from displaying notification prompts altogether.


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