Staring with Ubuntu 13.04, the outline around windows when scale/spread (Super+W) and the switcher (when viewing different windows of an application using Alt+`) are invoked is red. See the pictures below. The outline stays red even when I change themes. Using the CompizConfig Settings Manager I can change the color of the outlines that appear when expo is invoked, windows are set into a grid, and windows are resized, but I can't find an option for scale/spread or the switcher.

How can I change the outline's color?

red outline - switcher

red outline - spread

3 Answers 3


In Ubuntu 14.04 you can change the window spread highlight color by editing your theme unity.css (if it has one) For example using the default ambience theme.

  1. Browse to the directory /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/apps/, and edit unity.css as root.

    sudo gedit /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/apps/unity.css


    -UnityDecoration-glow-color: rgb (221, 72, 20);
  2. Change the rgb (red, green, blue) values to your desired color! You can also use a hex value like so:

    -UnityDecoration-glow-color: #ffffff;
  3. Save the file, and log out then back in to see changes.

    HUMOR** If your wondering why I didn’t say to back up the file before editing. It's because I'm a long time Windows user. We tend to try first ask questions later. ROFL, Seriously back up files before making any modifications, or better yet copy your theme to your home folder ~/.themes.

    cp -R /usr/share/themes/Ambiance ~/.themes/Ambiance

I was looking to change the color, too. According to this (https://answers.launchpad.net/unity-tweak-tool/+question/228274) the color seems to be hard-coded somewhere. So no chance to change the color, unless you find the corresponding code and recompile unity :/

  • Thank you for the information that it's hard-coded. Hopefully someone can figure out to compile it with different colors.
    – Fern Moss
    May 29, 2013 at 21:12
  • Update: Look at Travis' answer, it is editable, but not from gsettings interface. It is hard-coded into the theme, and editing the css file will give the desired effect.
    – Mahesh
    Aug 22, 2014 at 7:36

Just got to Screen settings and check the window color option and then make your own color or use existing colors they provided. This Screen settings you will find at top right corner of your main screen.

  • Hmm, I'm not sure what you mean. Where is this "screen settings" option? It's not in the "System Settings", if that's what you meant, nor can I find anything like that in Compiz settings.
    – Fern Moss
    May 5, 2013 at 20:18
  • yeah i will clarify you, that Screen Settings option is nothing but Display Settings and this will be available at System settings.. alright..,
    – SiyanShiva
    May 7, 2013 at 1:53
  • Thank you for your help, but this is still confusing. Are you using 13.04? "Displays" in System Settings is for setting screen resolution and managing multiple monitors; there is nothing on window color. I can change my theme in "Appearance", but that is unrelated to my question. Can you post a screenshot?
    – Fern Moss
    May 7, 2013 at 19:54

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