There have been a couple studies done that showed that white text on a black background increase recall of data.

Although this is certainly debatable how might I invert the colors of Notebook font and background in Mathematica?

There are likely more then a couple ways to do this(external software vs stylesheet). Currently I think the best solution likely involves using the built in Mathematica stylesheets, but currently(as mentioned in the comments) there doesn't appear to be a great way to do such.

  • $\begingroup$ Is your question how to change the colors of the notebook font and background? What is your criterion for success? Are you looking for a more elegant solution than what you have? PS: Strongly related: mathematica.stackexchange.com/questions/1389/… $\endgroup$
    – Verbeia
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 2:46
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ But every white-text on black-background web page or printed page I've ever seen is unpleasantly difficult to read. (Perhaps the extra effort to read such is what makes retention better?) I strongly discourage anybody from using white-on-black. $\endgroup$
    – murray
    Commented Oct 20, 2013 at 22:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You should indeed be able to do this using style sheets, but I think you will need to manually provide styling for every type. Possibly you could automate this by processing the style sheet data itself but given that styles are spread between at least the Default and Core style sheet Notebooks this may be more complicated than doing it manually. $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 2:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You can also look at this answer of mine for some hints on what to change and where, and maybe also look through Mike Honeychurch's answers in notebooks/stylesheets tags. Also look through the Default.nb and Core.nb stylesheets for the base styles that you can modify. It's a lot of boring work. $\endgroup$
    – rm -rf
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 21:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How about Format->StyleSheet->Reverse Color? $\endgroup$
    – bill s
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


The easiest way is to evaluate this:

SetOptions[EvaluationNotebook[], StyleDefinitions -> Notebook[{
    Cell[StyleData[StyleDefinitions -> "Default.nb"]], 
    Cell[StyleData[All], FontColor -> GrayLevel[1], 
     Background -> GrayLevel[0]]}, Visible -> False,
   StyleDefinitions -> "PrivateStylesheetFormatting.nb"]

However as you can see in the pic below you will probably also need to change the syntax styling and cell label colour and possibly other styles.

enter image description here


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