How do I disable dark mode?

So I’m brand new to KiCad, and am transferring a schematic/board over from Eagle. When I open up the board, I see this:

This is…unreadable. I can’t find any “Dark/Light Mode” setting anywhere, and changing the “Background” color in “Preferences” doesn’t seem to change anything at all. How do I disable Dark Mode and/or change the background color so I can read my board?

Not sure about changing the background colours, but the foreground colours used for drawing can all be changed, to whatever you prefer. Yes, dark blue on black isn’t great!

If you have a 3-button mouse (3rd button may be a wheel), then just hover over the relevant colour and press the middle button: you’ll get a colour selector. (If you only have 2 buttons, then rt-click, and select the top item)

Don’t forget that some of the things displayed will be listed under the “Items” tab, rather than the “layers” tab

That’s not dark mode…that’s the standard kicad interface for PCBs…and is pretty traditional in other CAD tools other than the poor contrast.

While 5.99/6.0 supports custom color themes, I don’t remember if 5.1 did. The default color theme was also overhauled for higher contrast in both eeschema and pcbnew.

There is no light background built in. To use a custom white background:

Create your own color them in Prefs->PCB editor->colors
There’s a dropdown to make a new theme. That way it will all be saved.

You can change the background color in the menu on the same prefs page. So so far so good.

The color algorithm however - just lightens the color when selected - so you probably want kind of light gray - rather than white - background. That way selected colors that are too light will still kind of show up. This will take a bit of experimenting and likely be monitor specific

I am currently using my own light theme and it’s working well enough but the color algorithm could be much smarter - and that is occasionally makes things tedious. I’ll be happy to share it if you care - I’m not quite sure how - if you can message me here or what.

5.1 supports changing the color theme, you just can’t manage multiple themes inside KiCad.

See for a third-party solution

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