Basically, I want a viewer which has a night mode or a dark mode so that I can change a pdf with a white background and black text to a dark background and light coloured text.

  • 7
    qpdfview (lubuntu 18.10 & up standard viewer) allows you to change colors of background, paper-color & presentation backgrounds to any of a huge list (30+) of selections.
    – guiverc
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 4:40
  • 4
    Which pdf file viewers have you researched? Both okular and qpdfview can invert colors unless the pdf file is composed of images.
    – DK Bose
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 4:40
  • 2
    I used search terms "dark mode","pdf viewer", "night mode" coudn't get any result. qpdfview.Till now I was using default docuement viewer. Thanks, qpdfview have the feature that I was asking for. Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 5:04
  • 1
    qpdfview is awesome! I love the Invert colors option in its view menu and it has the most sensible scrolling I've seen in any pdf viewer. Thanks @guiverc I have a new goto pdf viewer! Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 3:26
  • @guivers - qpdfview cannot change text color the way you said; if the text is black it stays black in all those 30+ selections. The "invert color" option under "View", as LonnieBest said, can change that, but only to white-on-black, which is not as comfortable as adjusted colors like light-grey on dark-grey etc (which other viewers can provide).
    – cipricus
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 10:13

11 Answers 11


This method is only for text only documents. Otherwise the image colors will be inverted.

You can install Evince document viewer from this link and open it.Then goto the options on the top right corner as seen in the picture.

enter image description here

Then select Inverted colors. This will help you to read white text on a black background. In Evince document viewer 3.30.1+ select Night Mode.

  • 2
    Thanks I already had Evince document viewer installed but didn't know that inverted colors can do this. Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 7:36
  • 2
    @UbuntuLover You are welcome, yes it comes pre-installed. Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 7:41
  • 2
    @UbuntuLover Actually could not find it here... help.gnome.org/users/evince/stable/shortcuts.html.en Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 7:50
  • 3
    In my Document Viewer (3.30.1) the option is called 'Night Mode'.
    – muclux
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 8:11
  • 2
    Nothing better than finding out that the feature you're looking for you already have!
    – cjauvin
    Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 16:45

Simply inverting colors doesn't provide the best readability (being limited to very bright white text on very dark black background), although it can improve it a lot in a dark environment.

Evince and also pdfstudioviewer can do that, which will result in something like this (in both image and text pdfs):

enter image description here

PDF readers that can change both page and text color in both text and image (scanned text) pdf files are:

I think this is more readable:

enter image description here

enter image description here

UPDATE on Okular:

In newer versions of Okular (like 1.9.3) both font and page colors can be edited — and a dark-mode look can be enabled — through a new and rather non-intuitive setting, under Configure Okular - Accessibility - Color mode: Change Dark and Light Colors, by selecting a light color for dark and a dark one for light color option.

enter image description here

Then, for easy access, configure toolbar and add Toggle change color. It works for picture/scanned pages too.

enter image description here

enter image description here

qpdf can change both text and background color but only in text-based pdf files - and that in a rather odd manner: only background/"paper" color can be set directly, the font color can only be "inverted" from white to black: so, the trick is to set the direct color in such a way as to result in a desired color when inverted (see this answer, which provides an example of good setting for a proper dark mode result: Background color: #41403b, Paper color: #cccbca).

Just for text-based pdfs, Adobe Reader 9 can separately set both font and page colors (when it can still be used in Linux: more here).

See my linked answer on Foxit Reader, which can match the two above but has no dark GUI and no full-screen.

Calibre Ebook Reader (like many ebook readers) can edit colors of font and page, but it can also open text-based pdfs.

By the way: in case somebody needs to transform a scanned text saved as image-pdf so that it becomes more readable by removing colored (gray, yellowish or pinkish) background, a good tool is ScanTailor, as described here.

  • Master PDF Editor is news to me. Glad to hear about that. Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 3:36

Atril from MATE DE also has Inverted Colors mode (accessible with Ctrl+I):

Inverted Colors mode in Atril

You can install Atril with sudo apt-get install atril.


I recommend you to go for Okular, one of the best readers for Linux platform. It is free of cost and provides features such as

  1. Night view mode
  2. Annotate and Markup tools
  3. Text extraction from PDF file
  4. Border trimming, and lot more.
  • how do you enable the night view?
    – cipricus
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 14:54
  • 4
    not sure if there is a night view, I use okular and change the colors in the accessibility settings: Settings->Configure Okular...->Accessibility->tick change color, and I use change dark&light color, I then choose as dark color a lighter gray and as light color a very dark gray. This tuns the text light gray and the background dark gray, which imo is nice. I really don't like the invert color stuff, 100%white on 100%black is just too much contrast for me and strains way more than more gentile (gray) colors. Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 18:17
  • I had just discovered that and updated my answer when I saw your comment!
    – cipricus
    Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 9:58

I found all these answer are usefull then finally found this

xcalib -i -a

This inverts all the screen , everywhere. So no need to find if a particular software have this feature or not. I can set a hotkey and now whenever I want dark mode I just need to press the Hotkey, works even for browser.


sudo apt-get install xcalib
  • 1
    That's cool! I'll be setting up autokey shortcuts that link to various xcalib adjustments. It even allows you to adjust contrast and brightness. Thanks for sharing this; what a jewel. Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 4:11

how about Foxit Reader? ( a big name on Windows - although the Linux version seems like minimal version )

It allows us to view a PDF in many better ways than Inverted Colors so you can choose what is suit for you ( and your eyes)

![enter image description here

thanks @bodqhrohro for the image

For Night:

Black: enter image description here

Darkmode: enter image description here

For Day:

Yellow : enter image description here

Pink: enter image description here

Blue: enter image description here

Get it officially here: http://www.foxitsoftware.com/products/pdf-reader/

  • 2
    For the moment the problem with FoxitReader when we are looking for dark mode is that it has no dark gui and no full screen, which means that a large part of the screen stays very white.
    – cipricus
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 16:12
  • I install Foxit all the time for my windows users, but had no clue it ran on Linux too. Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 3:29
  • 1
    >(don't know why I cannot screenshot that menu ) I strongly suggest scrot -d 5 for such cases ;) Here's my screenshot; feel free to replace your photo with it.
    – bodqhrohro
    Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 12:53
  • thank @bodqhrohro, I updated it, And also thanks for the tip
    – Thinh NV
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 4:14

After testing through many pdf readers, I found qpdfview is the best application for viewing pdf in dark mode.

Foxit is the best in term of dark mode colors configuration, but it can't view djvu, there's no dark theme for the UI.

Here is my qpdfview's setup for dark mode, it should work for scanned pdf/djvu, and vector pdf.

View > Invert Colors
View > Composition > Darken with paper color

<Invert colors> option ensures that scanned documents and images (which almost are in light colors) are in dark mode. When using <Invert colors> option, the paper color and background color should be light colors, such as:

Settings > Graphics
Background color: #41403b
Paper color: #cccbca

Here is the result:

Vector pdf, with colored texts 1

Scanned djvu 2

  • Just a note those links wont be there later.
    – David
    Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 14:50

Sioyek is a newcomer on the scene, but has quickly become my favorite PDF reader.

It has both a dark mode and a custom colors mode. Mine look like this:


dark mode


custom colors


normal color

But that's just my setup. You can make it whatever you want.

To set custom colors, create the file $HOME/.config/sioyek/prefs_user.config and include a section such as:

custom_background_color 0.075 0.082 0.094
custom_text_color 0.529 0.686 0.875

Where the numbers correspond to r g b values between 0 and 1. E.g., 1 1 1 would be white and 0 0 0 would be black, 1 0 0 would be red, etc.

  • Could you add info on how to set the custom colors?
    – cipricus
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 23:43

If you're using Compiz WM with "Color filter" plugin installed, you can enable any of several nightmode filters for any windows.


i was searching for X software too and i could not find one my bad solution...using vim with a plugin ( Plug 'makerj/vim-pdf') let you do it just make sure your terminal is readable and you book as no real image and your set here a link to the "plugin" https://github.com/makerj/vim-pdf


WPS Office 11

WPS Office since v11 has a PDF viewer with Dark mode that works quite well (i.e. not just simple colour inverting). It also has Sepia and Eye Protection mode.

enter image description here

You can install it from:

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .