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Is it possible to change colorScheme in the middle of a Playwright test?

This was a question that was recently asked via the Playwright Discord server in the #help-playwright channel. If you aren't there you should join now!

Hi there, I wish to be able to change the system/browser's theme preference in the middle of my test, because my app can react to changes in user's preference without them having to reload the page. To assert this, I need to be able to change the system/browser's theme when the test runner is executing the test

It's worth noting that there are multiple ways to accomplish this, let's take a look at them!

Using test.use()

The first way is by using the codegen tool to build out your UI test. When you use the below command, this starts the codegen tool in with color-scheme dark.

npx playwright codegen --color-scheme=dark

By default this is the codegen file that is generated.

import { test, expect } from '@playwright/test';

  colorScheme: 'dark'

test('test', async ({ page }) => {

This examples shows that you can use the test.use() functionality outside of a test block. This will ensure that all tests that are run within this file will use the dark colorScheme.

Emulation | Playwright
With Playwright you can test your app on any browser as well as emulate a real device such as a mobile phone or tablet. Simply configure the devices you would like to emulate and Playwright will simulate the browser behavior such as “userAgent”, “screenSize”, “viewport” and if it “hasTouch” enabled.…

Using page.emulateMedia()

Another way to achieve this is to use the page.emulateMedia() within the test block itself. This allows you to have multiple checks and assertions all within the same test. In the below example.

  • I visit https://www.reddit.com
  • Create a locator variable named postContainer
  • Set the page to dark mode colorScheme
  • Validate the CSS background color is dark gray
  • Set the page back to light mode colorScheme
  • Validate the CSS background color is white.
import { test, selectors, expect } from "@playwright/test";

test("Validate dark and light CSS", async ({ page }) => {

  await page.goto("https://www.reddit.com/");

  const postContainer = page.getByTestId("post-container").first();

  await page.emulateMedia({ colorScheme: "dark" });
  await expect(postContainer).toHaveCSS(
    "rgba(26, 26, 27, 0.8)"

  await page.screenshot({
    path: `tests/ui/reddit.com/screenshot/reddit-home-dark.png`,

  await page.emulateMedia({ colorScheme: "light" });
  await expect(postContainer).toHaveCSS(
    "rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.8)"

  await page.screenshot({
    path: `tests/ui/reddit.com/screenshot/reddit-home-light.png`,

Quick shoutout to @r_ydv on twitter who created the below article that walks you through how to make css assertions!

Playwright and CSS Validation
One of the few things that we might have to do during writing automated tests is to validate or verify certain CSS properties, like the background-color, or the font-family. For e.g. one of the cli…

Specifying on newContext and newPage

The below example was pulled straight from the playwright docs that I listed above under the library section. These examples can be used when using Playwright as a standalone library. In the example below, we will use them in the test block as a 2nd context and page that we create and set the colorScheme.

test("Exploring other options", async ({ page, browser }) => {
  // Create context with dark mode
  const context = await browser.newContext({
    colorScheme: "dark", // or 'light'

  // Create page with dark mode
  const newPage = await browser.newPage({
    colorScheme: "dark", // or 'light'

  await newPage.goto("https://www.reddit.com/");

  await newPage.screenshot({
    path: `tests/ui/reddit.com/screenshot/reddit-home-dark-context.png`,

  await context.close();

Wrap up

With all these examples you should have plenty of ways to update the colorScheme of the browsers you are testing with. The code examples can all be found here. Have fun testing in dark mode!

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