I'd like to reduce the contrast of the GTK widgets, that is, make the borders less articulate. E.g. in the screenshot below, the separator above and below the toolbar is very strong. I'd like smoother borders.

How is this possible?

current situation

  • 1
    Do I understand your question correctly if I suggest you set a theme. (system > prefreces > appearance) Radiance might work for you, it is smooth and light.
    – bacon
    Mar 23, 2011 at 17:47
  • I don't think there is a notion of "contrast" in GTK, you'll probably have to edit the theme's gtkrc to change the colors with more granularity than through the UI and thus hopefully, depending of the capabilities of the engine used, obtain the desired result. Mar 28, 2011 at 20:51
  • I really thought that it was possible to adjust the smoothness of any theme with a slider. Maybe it was KDE where I got these memories from.
    – gabor
    Apr 1, 2011 at 8:46
  • Or, perhaps, you are thinking of something like the Murrine Configurator? It only worked (works?) on themes for the Murrine GTK engine. May 3, 2011 at 20:06

2 Answers 2


Actually, I don't know of any way to do that. The only way to make such a change would be to open up the gtkrc file (it's found in your /home/usernamehere/.themes or in /usr/share/themes) and to modify settings there.

You appear not to be using any gtk theme, so you may want to check out this tutorial on making gtk themes that suit your needs.


This is not possible in the way you imagine without getting a new or different theme (system > preferences > appearance). Although you can kindof reduce or increase the contrast of a window with compiz, this will likely not give you the output you desire, as it will kindof reduce the contrast of the entire window (text and icons included).

If you want to do it with compiz:

  1. Install ccsm
  2. Open ccsm (System > Preferences > CompizConfig Settings Manager)
  3. Enable the "Color filter" module
  4. Change the key bindings to suit your needs, and see if any of the filters do what you want :)

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