Immersive Reader & Custom Page Background Color in the Retail (Non-Sub Based) Word 2019?

If, like me, you’re wondering if the retail version of Microsoft Office 2019—the single purchase one, not the subscription-based Office 365/Microsoft 365—comes with the same Immersive Reader, the answer is: yes. And that’s great, because it makes Word so much more comfortable, imo:

(Sorry, this retail version of Office is in French and I’ve not yet checked if I can switch language, like with O365.)

Also, one can use a custom page background color and therefore keep using the traditinal page layout with margisn and border:

Don’t mind the odd-looking custom tab you can see in the Ribbon: that’s one of the really neat features of newer Word versions, the ability to create your very own Ribbon/Tabs, and group whatever tools you often use. That option, plus the ability to hide the Ribbon and define keyboard shortcuts or almost any tool, is 😍

FYI, the retail version I use is ‘Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019’, no idea what the ‘Professional Plus’ stands for but unlike what the screenshot may let you believe: OneNote is not pre-installed (I reckon because this version of Office does not come With any OneDrive Storage?)

Why bother with the retail version of Office if I already use the sub-based Microsoft 365? I needed Word on a machine that won’t connect to the Internet, and the sub-based Microsoft 365 needs to connect at least once a month to check if your sub is still active. This retail version needed to connect online only once, in order to activate the license.


A True Dark Mode for Microsoft Word

Reading PDF in inverted colors/night mode

Inverted colors, dark mode or even night mode. If the name changes from app to app, the feature is the same: changing the page light background color into something dark, and changing its black text into something light. It’s great when reading PDFs in a low light environment and t’s essential when you suffer from some sort of extreme light sensibility, or have a terrible eyesight that makes it so you can’t read dark text on a light background on a screen.

Of all the apps I have tested, those three support some sort of inverted colors, at least partially for the last one.

Here is our reference PDF, for comparison. It is a scan of an old book: a simple black-and-white image, the text in it is not editable/selectable, with some handwritten annotation in red ink.

Continue reading Reading PDF in inverted colors/night mode

(An online) Dark Mode for Antidote

Unlike its macOS cousin, Druide Antidote for Windows doesn’t come with a dark theme. A lack that makes it very hard to read, at least for me.

One thing you might not know is that, if you’re using the latest Antidote 10, you probably also have a free access to their new-but-in-beta web version: all their guides and the spellchecker, directly in a web browser.

So, you can use Antidote in Dark Mode, as long as you load it in a web browser that support some dark mode extensions.

Out of curiosity, I tried to load it as a PWA, using the beta version of Edge-Chrome.

It works fine. And since it’s a PWA, you can pin it as any app to the Start menu and to the Taskbar.Making it even faster to access. You can also change Antidote’s settings to make it use the web version by default, instead of the classic app—but be aware that, while in beta, Druide will analyze any text that you correct through their website.

The main difference is that, unlike the classic installed app, you must be connected to the Internet to use the PWA version. But, hey, at least it’s there and it has a dark mode 😉

A True Dark Mode for Microsoft Word

Some users consider dark mode a fad. Because of my deteriorating eyesight, I don’t have such a luxury: I can’t read dark text on bright/light colored background, be it on screen or on paper.

Before dark mode was a thing, I was using a high contrast accessibility theme—which is great but also way too radical for my specific needs. Dark mode has given me the best of both worlds: a more or less ‘normal’ looking setup, only with bigger fonts, less eye candy and, well, darker colors.

So, how does Microsoft Word deal with dark mode? Very well, as long as you do not limit yourself to what the majority of guides will suggest you do, that is to use Office 365 dark mode. There is more to it, as you will see.

Illustration: the left of the screen shows Word using its dark mode plus the Immersive Reader: the text is white on a black backround, with an image that is unchanged. There is no page break or margins, the document almost feels like a basic text editor save that it shows an image too. The other half of the screen shows the wallpaper: a night view of a desert scene with many stars.
Microsoft Word in all its dark glory, once fully configured.

But let’s start with the obvious: activating Office’s dark mode.

Continue reading A True Dark Mode for Microsoft Word

A Surface Book with a Matte Screen?

I’ve never been a fan of glossy screens. I have been cursing at Apple the day the introduced glossy screens on their iMac lineup, and then on their MacBook Pro line too. Because what Apple does will eventually—and have since then been—copied by the rest of the industry.

So we now have amazingly color-accurate screens that are also mirror like and riddled with distracting light reflections. Everywhere.

Of course, this is a totally subjective opinion. Glossy screens are not worse or better per se. But I can’t stand them, as it makes seeing what’s on screen much more difficult for me, with my already bad eyesight. And what’s making things worse is that we almost have no choice anymore: it’s glossy or nothing. Even more so when you’re looking for non 16:9 laptops.

In that regard, the Surface Book 2’s screen is very reflective, much more than, say, my 15” retina MacBook Pro was. Since I’ve started using the Surface, it has been a constant problem for me. So I did the same thing I did with my glossy MacBook Pro, I put a matte screen protector that, once again, did its magic.

Continue reading A Surface Book with a Matte Screen?

Invert colors in a video

Since 2010 or so, most if not all the Collège de France lectures are freely available as video recordings. It’s an amazing resource that can be watched online, or downloaded for a more comfortable experience—if you’re on Paris the entry to any lecture is free too, btw.

Alas if, like me, you can’t read black text on a light background it can be a pain to read the many slides in their videos.

Excerpt from Jean-Luc Fournet’s lecture « Le calame et la croix : la christianisation de l’écrit et le sort de la culture classique dans l’Antiquité tardive »

I could easily invert all colours on screen (making white black, and black white) using Windows (or macOS) accessibility tools, but that’d screw up my own Dark mode setup that’s working great for me 99% of the time, and I don’t want that. I just want to invert the video itself.

Here is a neat little trick that works well with a video player called Scorpio Player for Windows (it’s not free but it’s very often on sale on the Microsoft Store, @ $2.99):

In Scorpio Player, right-click the video and go to Graphic -> Effect Manager.

Check Invert and, bam, the video is now inverted.

Not that great for our poor lecturer, but so much better to read its slides 😉