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Community Plugin
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A Gatsby plugin which handles some of the details of implementing a dark mode theme.

It provides:

  • Browser code for toggling and persisting the theme (from Dan Abramov’s overreacted.io implementation)
  • Automatic use of a dark mode theme (via the prefers-color-scheme CSS media query) if you’ve configured your system to use dark colour themes when available.
  • A React hook for implementing theme toggling UI in your site.


npm install @skagami/gatsby-plugin-dark-mode
// gatsby-config.js

module.exports = {
  plugins: ['@skagami/gatsby-plugin-dark-mode'],

How to use


rootElement: string = ‘document.body’

The root element to add .dark class to, for example, tailwind.css users could set it to document.documentElement. it is also possible to use document.querySelector('foo') because this will be inserted into the literal template for the <script /> tag.

script: string | null

The customized script implementation instead of the default one, using this means you might also need to handle the theme and theme changes yourself. This could be helpful if the theme persistense is from somewhere else than localstorage

Another option is feeding null, which means the <script /> tag won’t be inserted.

Implement theme toggling UI

The plugin module exports a useTheme hook

Here’s an example of using useTheme with a checkbox to toggle the theme:

import React from 'react'
import { useTheme } from '@skagami/gatsby-plugin-dark-mode'

const ThemeCheckbox = () => {
  const [theme, toggleTheme] = useTheme()

  // Don't render anything at compile time. Deferring rendering until we
  // know which theme to use on the client avoids incorrect initial
  // state being displayed.
  if (theme === null) {
    return null

  return (
        onChange={(e) => toggleTheme(e.target.checked ? 'dark' : 'light')}
        checked={theme === 'dark'}
      Dark mode

The toggled theme will be persisted across visits in localStorage.theme.

Implement theming

The default theme names are 'light' and 'dark' - the plugin adds the current theme name to the <body> element’s className, so you can use global styles to implement theming.

A nice option is to use CSS variables like so:

/* global.css */

body {
  --bg: white;
  --textNormal: #222;
  --textTitle: #222;
  --textLink: blue;
  --hr: hsla(0, 0%, 0%, 0.2);

  background-color: var(--bg);

body.dark {
  -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased;

  --bg: darkslategray;
  --textNormal: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.88);
  --textTitle: white;
  --textLink: yellow;
  --hr: hsla(0, 0%, 100%, 0.2);

You can then use these variables in your site’s components…

class Layout extends React.Component {
  render() {
    return (
          backgroundColor: 'var(--bg)',
          color: 'var(--textNormal)',
          transition: 'color 0.2s ease-out, background 0.2s ease-out',

…and in your Typography config if you’re using gatsby-plugin-typography, which is included in the Gatsby Starter Blog:

// typography.js

import './global.css'

import Typography from 'typography'
import Wordpress2016 from 'typography-theme-wordpress-2016'

Wordpress2016.overrideThemeStyles = () => ({
  a: {
    color: 'var(--textLink)',
  // gatsby-remark-autolink-headers - don't underline when hidden
  'a.anchor': {
    boxShadow: 'none',
  // gatsby-remark-autolink-headers - use theme colours for the link icon
  'a.anchor svg[aria-hidden="true"]': {
    stroke: 'var(--textLink)',
  hr: {
    background: 'var(--hr)',


The theme detecting/switching/persistence code and the suggested theming implementation are entirely from the implementation of overreacted.io by Dan Abramov - I’m just publishing them as a plugin to make them easier to use in my own blog, and for reuse by others.

MIT Licensed

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