Is it possible to customise the colours for the desktop theme and window appearance in Pangolin 12.04 as it was possible in Narwhal? I only see four default choices in the display adjustment selection.

  • Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! Can you provide more details what you wanted to change? Are you referring to the selection colors? or the colors of the window border (In Ambiance, it is a dark color) itself? In the first case, this question can be useful for you. – Anwar Aug 5 '12 at 17:24
  • I don't think this is a dupe. Because other question asks changing theme while this asks customizing current theme – Anwar Aug 14 '12 at 6:59
  • 2
    @Anwar That makes sense. I've voted to reopen this. (While this and this are related I can see how they're not the same and how they don't cover what's being asked here.) You might also want to post on meta; oftentimes, in this sort of situation, a closed question won't get much attention otherwise. (Though I see you've brought this up in chat, which can sometimes be sufficient.) – Eliah Kagan Sep 1 '12 at 13:33

You said,

Is it possible to customise the colours for the desktop theme and window appearance in Pangolin 12.04 as it was possible in Narwhal?

I assume, you are referring to the customization window in the theme in Natty Narwhal and previous distributions. Since, Gnome 3 is released, those easy customization options are removed default.

But, the good news is, the corresponding keys in gconf and hence dconf is available still now. So, you can change those keys using dconf-editor (dconf-editor or gsettings should be used instead of gconf, since settings are migrating to dconf).

I've tested in Narwhal and found the corresponding keys, the path is /org/gnome/desktop/interface and

the keys are as follows:

  1. bg_color - It refers to the window color. This corresponds to left color selection in Windows row i.e 1st row in Narwhal.

  2. fg_color - This controls the text colors in windows, menus, title bars etc. This is the right side color selection in Windows row (It does not change the text color in input boxes, nautilus folder pane etc, text in editors etc).

  3. base_color - This controls the background colors in input boxes, nautilus folder pane, editor's background, search bar, address bar in browsers etc. Corresponds to the left color selection in Input boxes row in Narwhal.

  4. text_color - This controls the text colors (foreground colors) in the above settings, such as input boxes, nautilus folder pane, editor's text, search bar, address bar's text etc. Corresponds to the right color selection box in Input boxes row in Narwhal.

  5. selected_bg_color - This controls the background color i,e the color of any selections, when you select with your mouse etc. Corresponds to the Selected Items row's left-most settings in Narwhal.

  6. selected_fg_color - This controls the text colors withing selection. Corresponds to the Selected Items row's right settings.

  7. tooltip_bg_color - This I think self-explanatory. It controls the background colors of a tooltip. Corresponds to the Tooltips row's first settings.

  8. tooltip_fg_color - This controls the tool tip text color. Corresponds to the right settings in Tooltips row in Narwhal

    image of appearance window

How to set those colors:

You can easily set those colors in dconf-editor. Install it via terminal with the command:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

or via Software Center Install via the software center

Now, Open dconf-editor by typing the name in dash. To do so, Press Super and type dconf-editor and Click on the icon.

Go to the path org -> gnome -> desktop -> interface and select gtk-color-scheme and input value there. Don't forget to put a ; after each key-value pair. For example, If you want to change the window color(bg_color) and window text color(fg_color) with some values, the line should be like this:


Generate color value:

To generate color value, you can use the Appearance Window in System Settings. To bring it. Right Click on Desktop -> Choose Change Desktop Background and in the Window, click the little color box below the big Monitor image. There you can see a custom color box. click there.

Alternatively, you can use agave color generator. It is a very convenient and tiny tool to generate color value. Install it with terminal using the commmand:

sudo apt-get install agave

or using Software center Install via the software center

Type agave in the dash to open it after pressing Super

Changing window border color:

Changing window border's color of default Ambiance and Radiance themes aren't supported. Because, those themes use images as window borders. If you really want to have the ability to change the window border, I suggest you to use old colorable window borders such as Crux, Esco, Human etc.

Some are included in the default Ubuntu installation. You can use those by using Ubuntu-tweak.

After installation, open it by Pressing Super and typing "Ubuntu tweak" in the dash. Then go to Tweaks -> Themes and then change Window Theme.

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