When choosing a slicer software, the first things that usually come to mind are the capabilities it has and the features that it offers for the improvement of the 3D printing process, and rightfully so, as the goal, at the end of the day, is to obtain as high-quality prints as possible.
On the other hand, while not mentioned as much, the user experience side of things is just as crucial for an enjoyable 3D printing process since utilizing software that is not user-friendly, even if it comes with a plethora of incredible features, won’t make for a great overall experience, especially considering that you will need to spend a considerable amount of time using it.
In today’s article, our topic will be dark mode, in specific, which is something that is getting more and more popular with most software and websites adding the option to enable it, and whether Cura, the most widely used slicer software available for 3D printing, also offers this option for its users.
So, can you use dark mode (dark theme) in Cura?
It is indeed possible to switch away from the standard white-themed look of Cura to a theme that is created with dark colors instead, which essentially has the same effect as the “dark mode” option that you can find in most of the widely used applications nowadays.
Moving forward, we will discuss the possibility of using dark mode in Cura in greater detail, find out how to switch to dark mode in Cura, and finally, go through the process of creating custom themes in Cura, which practically allows you to use your own color scheme.
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Can You Use Dark Mode (Dark Theme) in Cura?
Even though it’s not a necessity for the slicer to operate correctly by any means, the option to switch to dark mode is, without a doubt, a feature that we all look for in any software we use due to how much easier dark colors are on the eye.
While Cura does not come with a “dark mode” switch that we are familiar with seeing on many popular applications, its support for themes makes it possible to technically activate dark mode by switching to a theme that is created with dark colors.
In fact, as Cura already includes a dark theme by default, we can consider the action of switching to this theme to essentially be the same thing as activating dark mode, only without the “dark mode” label that makes finding it more intuitive.
While a dark mode switch that we can find directly on the main screen of Cura would definitely be convenient and more intuitive for users who aren’t entirely familiar with the menus of Cura, switching to dark mode in Cura is, without a doubt, quite a straightforward process once you know where to look.
How to Switch to Dark Mode (Dark Theme) in Cura?
Even though the process of switching to dark mode in Cura is not as straightforward as it is in many other software, where you can quickly toggle between dark and light mode with the click of a button, it’s one that you can easily apply relatively swiftly and effortlessly once you exactly know what to do.
Below, you can find a step-by-step guide you can use to switch to the default dark theme in Cura and enable dark mode:
- Click the Preferences option on the menu bar of Cura, and choose the Configure Cura option from the dropdown menu.
- Click the General tab on the left pane of the Preferences pop-up.
- Click the dropdown menu next to the Theme label, and choose the “Ultimaker Dark” option.
- Close the Preferences pop-up.
- Restart Cura for the changes to take effect.
If you would like to go back to the standard look of Cura, you can follow the same steps above but activate the “Ultimaker” theme instead, which is the theme that Cura has enabled by default.
How to Create Custom Themes for Cura?
You are not limited to the themes you can find by default in Cura, as it’s entirely possible to obtain community-made custom themes or even create them yourself and change the color scheme of Cura to precisely what you would like to see on your screen.
Below, you can find a step-by-step guide you can follow to create your own custom theme for Cura:
- Launch your favorite file explorer application.
- Navigate to the Cura directory by using the file explorer. For instance, the default directory for Cura 4.13 in Windows would be “C:\Program Files\Ultimaker Cura 4.13.0”.
- Navigate to the “resources” directory. If you’re using Cura 5, you will need to go through the “share” and “cura” directories first.
- Navigate to the “themes” directory.
- Copy a folder that belongs to a default theme, paste it, and rename it. For instance, you can copy the “cura-dark” folder, and rename it as “my-custom-theme”.
- Navigate to the new folder that you have created.
- Open the “theme.json” file in your favorite text editor.
- Replace the “name” value with the name you would like to give to your custom theme.
- Replace the color values accordingly to create your own custom theme. As the names of the attributes may not be too apparent at first look, some trial and error can be necessary.
- Save the file.
As the color values in the file follow the RGBA format, you can utilize an online color picker tool or a photo editing tool (such as Photoshop) to pick the colors of your choice through a visual interface first and then copy the RGBA codes that correspond to the colors you have picked over to the file.
While the theme you use for Cura won’t really have an impact on the quality of your prints, there is no denying that using a theme that is easier on the eye, such as dark mode, will make the experience of using Cura much more comfortable.
To quickly recap, activating “dark mode” in Cura is possible by utilizing the built-in Theme feature, which allows you to switch to multiple different color schemes, including a dark color scheme that Cura includes by default and custom themes that you can create with the colors of your choice.
While a dark theme is often the go-to choice for many enthusiasts, as the dark colors are much easier on the eye compared to the light ones, you can also feel free to take the custom theme creation in a different direction and create a theme that consists of your favorite colors.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.