How to Invert the Mac Screen Colors in OS X Mavericks & Mountain Lion

Sep 10, 2012 - 6 Comments

Invert the screen colors in OS X Mountain Lion

Inverting the colors of a Mac display is a fairly common accessibility feature, and it’s also pretty handy for when you’re reading at night because it puts most screen text into a white on black mode like iOS.

Prior versions of Mac OS X let you invert the display by hitting the Command+Option+Control+8 keyboard shortcut, but OS X Mavericks and Mountain Lion have changed that. From 10.8, 10.9, onward you’ll need to do the following instead:

  • Hit Command+Option+F5 to bring up Accessibility Options
  • Check the box next to “Invert Display Colors”

The display change is immediate.

Note the actual colors drawn on screen are not being changed, it’s only the display of them that has been inverted. This means if you take a screenshot it will still display as usual, and colors chosen in a color picker will remain their original choice.

Invert the display in Mac OS X

To disable the inverse display coloration and get back to normal, just hit Command+Option+F5 again and uncheck the invert box.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

6 Comments

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  1. Jeff says:

    Even easier, you can just re-enable the keyboard shortcut by going into Prefs->keyboard->keyboard shortcuts
    click on accessibility on the left list and check the “Invert Colors” box.

    The really hard question is why Apple chose to f*ck with users by unchecking this and also by removing web sharing – just having fun or merely incompetent.
    I dont know…

    • Ceveces says:

      I agree I do not like change to longstanding features. Why bother? Like the save as mess, needless annoyance a la Microsoft.

    • Alex says:

      It was not by accident or spite this was left unchecked by default in Mountain Lion.
      Prior to this a lot of people were calling up AppleCare every week, saying ‘there’s something wrong with my screen’, and it was just a case of cmd-alt-ctrl-8 pressed by accident; you’d be surprised how often this happens. And some of them were not even calling up, but taking it straight to the Genius Bar.

      It’s the same principle behind why they hid the user Library.

  2. Sue Dunham says:

    The more I read about ML, the stupider it seems. It’s like Jobs tasked them to screw with their customers.

  3. mook mook says:

    OR you can just do this: System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > Accessibility > turn on option for Invert Colors.

    Default key combo is – wait for it – cmd-alt-ctrl-8

    Just like old times.

  4. Beth says:

    So is there a way to take a screenshot with the colors inverted (and have it stay that way)? Every time I’ve tried the colors just go back to normal when I switch back, is there a way to capture this on screen?

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