Zacchary Puckeridge
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๐ŸŒ• How to add a Dark Mode Toggle to Gatsby

May 20, 2021
4 min read โ€ข 712 words

Recently, I decided to implement a light theme into my, by default, dark themed blog. I saw lots of unnecessarily complicated methods and decided to do some researching to see if there was a more simpler, direct way. Iโ€™ve documented my solution in the article below.

Prerequisites::

The following article assumes that you some general knowledge in the following areas:

  • CSS
  • React/Gatsby Components

Install gatsby-plugin-dark-mode

This fantastic Gatsby plugin is going to do 90% of all the hard work for us. To install it, run the following:

yarn add gatsby-plugin-dark-mode

or if you are using Node Package Manager

npm install gatsby-plugin-dark-mode

Now that the plugin has been installed, we need to add it to our gatsby-config.js file along with all of our plugins.

plugins: [`gatsby-plugin-dark-mode`]
If your development server is running, be sure to restart it after installing the plugins.

Create a new themeToggle.js Component

Itโ€™s time to create our a new component. This will be responsible for handling our toggle button and calling the gatsby-plugin-dark-mode plugin.

Simply add a new component called themeToggle.js to your Components (typically ../src/components) folder and use the example from the plugins documentation:

import React from "react"
import { ThemeToggler } from "gatsby-plugin-dark-mode"

export default function ThemeToggle() {
  return (
    <ThemeToggler>
      {({ theme, toggleTheme }) => {
        if (theme == null) {
          return null
        }
        return (
        <div className="theme-switch-wrapper">
          <label className="theme-switch">
            <input
              type="checkbox"
              onChange={e => toggleTheme(e.target.checked ? "light" : "dark")}
              checked={theme === "light"}
            />
            <div className="slider round"></div>
          </label>
        </div>
        )
      }}
    </ThemeToggler>
  )
}
There are some minor changes to the code above to integrate with our custom CSS in the next step. Be sure to copy as-is if you're following along!

Adding Custom CSS

In this section, we will be adding the required CSS to make our button appear as a switch. Iโ€™ll be using the code from Ananya Neogiโ€™s post on how to create a simple CSS theme toggle.

.theme-switch-wrapper {
  display: flex;
  align-items: center;

  em {
    margin-left: 10px;
    font-size: 1rem;
  }
}
.theme-switch {
  display: inline-block;
  height: 34px;
  position: relative;
  width: 60px;
}

.theme-switch input {
  display:none;
}

.slider {
  background-color: #ccc;
  bottom: 0;
  cursor: pointer;
  left: 0;
  position: absolute;
  right: 0;
  top: 0;
  transition: .4s;
}

.slider:before {
  background-color: #fff;
  bottom: 4px;
  content: "";
  height: 26px;
  left: 4px;
  position: absolute;
  transition: .4s;
  width: 26px;
}

input:checked + .slider {
  background-color: #66bb6a;
}

input:checked + .slider:before {
  transform: translateX(26px);
}

.slider.round {
  border-radius: 34px;
}

.slider.round:before {
  border-radius: 50%;
}

Now that we have our toggle CSS, the HTML and classes we specified in themeToggle.js will begin working correctly.

Our toggle is working, but what now?

You may have noticed at this point that your theme is not updating. Well, this is because there is one last step to complete! Itโ€™s time to ensure that we have two sets of global variables, one for our dark theme and another for our light theme. Most good Gatsby Starters already come with two sets of global variables, but in case yours only comes with one, simply lift the variables that you are using in your CSS and paste it under the following variable name like so:

body.light {
  --color-primary: #47a6ff;
  --color-text: black;
  --color-text-light: #4f5969;
  --color-heading: black;
  --color-heading-black: black;
  --color-accent: black;
  --color-background: #ebf7fd;
  --color-accent-background: #d6e4f0;
}
Ensure that you are using `body.light` or `body.dark` as the variable name as this is what the `gatsby-plugin-dark-mode` is looking for in our CSS file.

Once you are happy with the variations you have made, simply save the file and have a play with your site to see the switch between light and dark mode.

You can also add a simple transition from your dark/light theme by adding the following CSS line to the relevant body/element tags:

transition: background-color 0.4s;

Conclusion

Setting up a theme toggle doesnโ€™t have to be a complicated process. I hope that you were able to learn something from my article!

If you have any questions or think I could have taken a better approach, let me know! Feel free to reach out in the comments below or reach out to me via email.

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