If you use your computer a lot, your doctor may have advised using the High Contrast mode.
It’s an accessibility feature that can help screen users reduce the impact of blue light and glare on their eyes.
Still, that’s not the only function of this mode, and a wider range of users can benefit from enabling it.
It’s also not limited to Windows devices, as most manufacturers help users increase their digital well-being.
What Is High Contrast Mode?
High contrast mode is designed for users with weak eyesight to help them read text and navigate apps and websites more efficiently.
They can see the buttons and text with more pronounced borders with the background, making them more visible.
Depending on its function, it changes different parts of an app or web page.
For example, the buttons, hyperlinks, or backgrounds will have different colors.
However, the high contrast mode has other benefits, including:
- Improves visibility and readability
- Reduces visual noise
- Reduces eye strain
- Eases light sensitivity
- Improves focus
Despite what the name suggests, the high contrast mode isn’t exclusively about increasing the contrast between colors.
It’s more about giving users better control over the screen visuals and a better visual experience.
It may even involve lowering the contrast between colors to match the user’s preferences.
For example, people with migraines and light sensitivity may choose low-contrast colors to prevent bright colors from worsening their conditions.
In addition, some websites don’t have eye-friendly color combinations, which are difficult to read for visually impaired people and even those without visual disabilities.
This mode will help you tweak these colors and make them easier on the eye.
Using digital screens, including computers and smartphones, can strain your eyes severely.
You may get eye fatigue, headaches, dry eye, and even blurry vision.
If you take a more conscious look at your computer screen, you can see why.
It’s a white, shiny screen filled with black lines of text and images, exposing your eyes to harmful or uncomfortable factors such as screen glare.
The High Contrast mode is a built-in accessibility feature found on many digital devices with screens to prevent these conditions.
This mode changes the background, text, and button colors to make them easier on the eye.
Depending on your chosen theme, you may see different colors, including yellow, green, white, black, or blue.
This way, the text becomes more readable because it’s in higher contrast with the background.
In addition, you may see some visual elements removed to reduce visual noise and make the screen simpler to read.
How To Enable High Contrast Mode
You can activate the High Contrast mode on most Windows, Android, and iOS devices.
1. Windows 10
Press Left Alt, Left Shift, and Print Screen together to open the High Contrast mode window.
Alternatively, you can access it through Settings > Ease of Access > High Contrast.
Once in the High Contrast window, you should first turn it on by moving the toggle.
Then, you can choose among different themes, each giving you different options and sets of colors.
You may need to wait a few seconds until Windows applies the changes.
If the default themes don’t match your preferences, you can customize them to create your own mode.
After choosing the theme, you can see an option below the selected theme: Select a colored rectangle to customize the High Contrast mode colors.
Below this option, you can see some rectangles with colors and text.
Each rectangle belongs to one element on the screen, including text color, hyperlinks, disabled text, selected text, button text, and background.
You can change the color of all these elements to match your conditions and preferences.
The Disabled text refers to options that you can’t choose.
These are normally grey, but if it’s difficult for you to see them, you can change them to another color.
After selecting your colors, click Done > Apply.
2. Windows 11
Accessing the High Contrast mode in Windows 11 is a bit different from Windows 10, but it gives you the same options.
Go to Settings by clicking the Start button and selecting it from the list.
Once in the Settings menu, click Accessibility.
Expand the dropdown menu under Contrast themes and select one of the themes.
You can decide better by looking at the theme preview giving you four options: Aquatic, Desert, Dusk, and Night Sky.
Unlike Windows 10, the Windows 11 Contrast themes don’t have an on/off toggle.
You can choose the None option from the dropdown menu to turn off the theme.
You can also customize your theme by clicking the Edit button under your selected theme.
You have the same options as Windows 10: Text, Hyperlinks, Disable Text, Selected Text, Button Text, and Background.
There are more color options than in Windows 10 because you choose from a color-picker palette with a wider range of colors.
It also has a slider to choose the selected color’s brightness.
The High Contrast mode also changes your desktop wallpaper to a solid color.
You can change it through your display settings if you don’t like it.
Note. You can also access the High Contrast menu on Windows 10 and Windows 11 on the Sign-in screen.
When you turn on your PC, you can see the Sign-in window in which you should select your account and enter your password, if you have any.
On the bottom right corner of the screen, you can see some buttons and icons.
The one next to the On/Off icon is the Accessibility/Ease of access button.
Click it and find High Contrast from the options.
Move the toggle to turn it on.
You can find the High contrast Mode in iOS labeled as Increase Contrast.
This setting turns your text, controls, and buttons into a darker color, making individual cells more defined.
To activate the mode, go to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size > Increase Contrast.
You can use other options in the same menu to increase your text visibility.
For example, Bold Text makes your text more defined by bolding it.
Android devices also have different accessibility options to help you get more visibility.
For example, you can use the Dark Mode to make the screen easier on the eye or the High Contrast mode to bold the text.
The High Contrast mode in Android is simpler than in Windows as it only bolds the text for more visibility.
To activate it, Go to Settings > Accessibility > Vision > High Contrast Text.
Unlike Windows, the Increased Contrast mode on Apple devices doesn’t affect the background colors.
It only bolds the text to increase visibility.
If you want to change the display and background contrast, choose the Display contrast option.
To access these menus, click the Apple menu and go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display.
In this menu, you can see different settings, including the Increased Contrast mode, to adjust your display to your preferred conditions.
Should I Use The High Contrast Mode?
The High Contrast mode in Windows 10 and 11 is a useful feature that can help you in many ways.
You can increase your screen readability if you’re photosensitive or visually impaired due to cataracts or glaucoma.
It removes the screen glare and reduces the strain on your eyes, even if you don’t have vision issues but use your computer for extended periods.
It can also reduce screen flickering by turning the background color black and help you read the text in low-light conditions.
In addition to these advantages, your laptop can also benefit from the dark screen because it reduces the bright pixels.
As a result, the device will consume less power, leading to longer battery life.
The entire idea can be a positive experience, although it may take a while to get used to.
Despite all the benefits the High Contrast mode can bring, the experience may not be the same for all users.
For example, if you’re astigmatic, you may find it difficult to read white text on a black background.
In addition, not all websites will respond the same to this mode because they may not be optimized for it.
Depending on the website design, you may have difficulty identifying hyperlinks.
As a result, you may click on links that you shouldn’t.
If you don’t use a mouse to navigate websites and use the keyboard focus indicators, you may not see them properly, affecting your experience on the internet.
However, it doesn’t mean that the High Contrast mode is a bad idea.
On a Windows device, you have many options to customize the experience.
On non-Windows devices, the mode only affects the text size.
Therefore, you can safely enable the feature and enjoy its benefits.
Inverted Colors Vs. High Contrast Mode
The High Contrast mode isn’t the only solution for visually challenged users.
Windows has many other solutions—which we will cover later in this article—among which the Inverted colors option is the most similar to the High Contrast mode.
While both options may look alike when you enable them, they have fundamental differences.
Suppose you visit a website with hard-to-read text because of the bad color contrast between the text and the background.
If you have normal eyesight, you may have difficulty reading white text on a black screen.
Color inversion inverts the colors to make the text more readable.
For example, if the background is white and the text is black, it makes the text white and the background black, making it easier for you to read.
These changes may make both options look similar because they turn to dark mode.
The main difference between the two is that Inverted color only activates if you have enabled Magnifier, another accessibility tool that helps visually impaired users read text by magnifying it.
However, the screen may become messy and difficult to read if you don’t need the Magnifier.
On the other hand, the High Contrast mode uses different color schemes to help you recognize different parts of the text more easily.
The Inverted Colors feature is better for specific situations that are difficult for you to handle visually, not something you want to enable for the entire device.
How To Enable Inverted Colors
You can access inverted colors by pressing Ctrl + Alt + I.
However, it won’t activate without the Magnifier.
You can press the Windows key and the + button to activate the Magnifier and then use the inverted colors option.
You can also access these options through Settings > Ease of Access > Magnifier.
The Inverted colors option is under the Magnifier.
Other Visibility Options
As mentioned, Windows offers different accessibility options to help all users consume information through its devices.
In addition to the High Contrast mode and Inverted colors, the following are the best visibility options.
1. Dark Mode
Many apps, web browsers, and operating systems offer Dark Mode as one of their default visibility options.
You can choose the Dark Mode even if you don’t have any vision issues.
It can have all the benefits of the High Contrast mode without the color palette.
Some people choose the Dark Mode only because it seems cool.
On Windows 10, you can access Dark Mode through Settings > Personalization > Colors.
If you choose Dark under Choose your color, the background of all apps will turn black.
However, if you choose Custom, you can decide which parts can be dark and which remain light.
The Dark Mode in Windows 11 is also accessible through the same steps.
2. Mouse Pointer
Here’s another accessibility feature for visually challenged users.
If you have weak eyesight, the High Contrast mode may not be enough for you, and you need the mouse pointer to be more visible.
To access mouse options, go to Settings > Ease of Access > Mouse Pointer.
You can make the mouse pointer bigger in this window by moving the slider under Change Pointer Size.
You can also change the pointer’s color and design by selecting one of the options under Change Pointer Color.
Choose a color that matches your entire color scheme and mode.
3. Text Cursor
Since the pointer changes its appearance in the text, such as a Word document or a webpage, you can determine its appearance in those contexts.
You can access it through the same Ease of Access window under Text Cursor.
You can choose the cursor’s size, thickness, and color to match your conditions.
4. Color Filters
Another setting in the Ease of Access menu is Color Filters, allowing you to change your PC’s color settings to match your vision-related issues or preferences.
For example, users with color blindness can use filters to weaken specific hues, including green, red, and blue.
After turning on the Color Filter option by moving the toggle, the other options are enabled for you, and you can choose the right setting.
In Windows 11, you can access this option through Settings > Accessibility.
It has more options for using color filters, allowing you to choose from a wider range of colors.
5. Making Text Bigger
As mentioned, Magnifier is a great option for those who have impaired vision.
Other than that, you have several options to increase the text size in the Ease of Access menu.
For example, in the Display window, you can move the slider under Make text bigger to increase text readability.
You can also change the size of apps and icons on the Desktop by changing the settings under Make everything bigger.