I know there are a million posts on this but not a single one has helped me solve this... I'm trying to change the color of the top menubar/status bar of the system. I've managed to set the transparacy of it using some fancy commands in the terminal but trying to change the actual color is a nightmare. It just stays black! I'm trying to set it to white.

enter image description here

I've tried modifying the unity.css file of the theme I'm using by setting the @dark-bg-color and @dark-fg-color values but all that seem to do is change the menu colors of the windows that open up for each program, not the actual status bar of the system.

3 Answers 3


The menubar color and the color for some other things can derive from your desktop wallpaper. Unity color is chameleonic. So you don't need to explicitly change the color of the menubar.

First open CompizConfig Settings Manager, go to Ubuntu Unity Plugin, enable it and set Panel Opacity to 0 as in the following image:


Now, when you will change your wallpaper, the menu bar will take the color of the wallpaper. Some examples:

menubar blue

menubar orange

If you want it to be almost white (well, completely white can not get because otherwise would not distinguish the text and the icons from the menu):

menubar white-gray

  • Thanks Radu, it really sucks that you can't set it to plain white. Because then you can change the foreground/text to black and there would be no problem. But if this is the only option I have, thanks for the effort! (Will award bounty in 4hrs) Jul 29, 2013 at 6:19
  • @DeanGrobler Well, you can find here some Ubuntu themes for Unity: upubuntu.com/2012/07/a-list-of-best-15-ubuntu-1204-themes.html. I like the thirteenth, which have an 'iced' menubar Jul 29, 2013 at 6:34
  • I wanted the text color(color of the Ubuntu Desktop) of the status bar to be black. Can I do it? Jan 30, 2016 at 14:12
  • does this work with ubuntu 18.4/20.4 ? Apr 30, 2020 at 19:40

If you're aware of CSS than you would have a greater control over color and style of the top panel. Following is how you can do it with Ambiance theme.

Open Nautilus as root, since you'll be backing up and editing files.

gksu nautilus

From here, make sure all file operations that you do are from this instance of nautilus that you opened using command.

Navigate to /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/apps directory

Before you do anything, make copy of files unity.css and gnome-panel.css in the directory to somewhere in your home folder so that if you mess up anything, you can revert back the changes easily. Since you want to change color of top panel in Unity, open unity.css for editing in a text-editor (gedit).

Now create CSS variable as follows at the topmost of the file

@define-color dark_bg_color #DCDCDC;
@define-color dark_fg_color #3f3f3f;

Note that variable dark_bg_color indicates the panel background color you want to have, set its value with the hashcode of the color you want.

Similarly, variable dark_fg_color indicates foreground color i.e. font color of the panel items, set it with hashcode the value you want.

Finally, save the file and exit. Logout, and login again, and changes you made should be visible. You can modify the values as you want, and in case you want to get back default panel color of Ambiance back, just open Nautilus as root and replace file unity.css with the one you backed up earlier.

While above mentioned method can be used to tweak color of Unity top panel, you can make similar changes in gnome-panel in GNOME classic, by making similar changes in file gnome-panel.css.

Hope this helps....

  • Hi Nishant, this is actually what I've tried before and like I said, this only changes the windows background and foreground. Not the top bar of the entire system as seen in my screenshot. Thanks for the effort though. Jul 29, 2013 at 6:12

Look I know the guy above said otherwise BUT I found this...

If you go to the same directory as Radu said there is a setting for background color.

I know this also changes the taskbar but you are able to change the menu bar to full white!


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .