Is it possible in GTK-2 or/and GTK-3 to remove the scrollbar trough or make it invisible?

I know there are scripts to remove the scrollbar steppers, like:

GtkScrollbar::has-forward-stepper = 0

Now I want to know if there is such script to remove the trough.

In other words, GTK scrollbar is at the end of content, but I want to put it over the content – just like Overlay scrollbar.

EDIT: Let’s make my question more clear. I’ve edited both GTK-2 and GTK-3 themes to make scrollbars more similar to Overlay since I don’t like a low-contrast wide scrollbar. So I edited gtkrc and gtk-widgets.css files to change the slider color to orange and the trough to white, but as seen in the screenshot below the contrast between the trough and a dark background is annoying.

gtk-2 white trough on a dark background

The question is here if it’s possible to completely remove the trough or make it transparent. I guess the latter is possible.

My ideal is something like this:

Terminal with Overlay scrollbar which has no trough

  • I don't have an answer, but could you post your code for getting the GTK2 trough the color it is? I've only managed to change the scroller itself. – valadil May 5 '14 at 20:02
  • 1
    @valadil yeah, it only supports trough_shades and trough_border_shades under engine "murrign". – AliN May 13 '14 at 19:47

Transparent colors (RGBA) are possible in GTK-3 using alpha, so for making the trough transparent:

.scrollbar.trough.vertical {
    border: alpha (@base_color, 0.0);
    background: alpha (@base_color, 0.0);

I don’t know about GTK-2 yet.

  • I came across this by searching for "does murrine engine support transparency". BTW, I'll borrow your gtk3 code later in the day ;) – user25656 Aug 20 '13 at 2:38

I'm not sure I understood your question correctly but ...

I use Lubuntu 13.04 with the Greybird theme (sudo apt-get install shimmer-themes). I've heavily altered both the gtk2 and gtk3 aspects to suit my taste. The image shows a bit of a gedit window (top) and a bit of my file manager, Thunar (below). As you can see, the trough is not really distinctive.

                                                     scrollbar trough

To get this effect, if that's what you're looking for, I edited ~/.themes/MyGreybird/gtk-2.0/gtkrc and ~/.themes/MyGreybird/gtk-3.0/gtk.css and ~/.themes/MyGreybird/gtk-3.0/gtk-widgets.css.

Unfortunately, I really can't say whether it's this or that hack that gave me the current look. If you're looking for something like what I have, try editing the files similar to those I mentioned by looking for things like:

  • GtkScrollbar ::trough-border
  • prelight_shade ... # shade level for scrollbar's slider, comboboxstyle(1), and prelight state with gradient_colors
  • trough_shades # draw gradient on trough of GtkScrollbar and GtkProgressbar

These are in gtkrc and I have commented them out in my theme by having # at the start of the line.

Then, in gtk-widgets.css, my theme has:

.scrollbar.trough.vertical {
    border-width: 0;
    border-radius: 0;
/*    background-image: -gtk-gradient(linear, left top, right top,
                                     from (shade(@theme_bg_color, 1.1)),
                                     to (shade(@theme_bg_color, 1.3)));*/
    background-color: shade(@theme_bg_color, 0.9);

.scrollbar.trough.horizontal {
/*    background-image: -gtk-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom,
                                     from (shade(@theme_bg_color, 1.1)),
                                     to (shade(@theme_bg_color, 1.3)));*/
    background-color: shade(@theme_bg_color, 0.9);

Again, I've commented out some stuff (using /* and */).

I'm not sure I've made much sense but, basically, just look for relevant stuff and comment it out or modify it!

I use gedit as my editor with a plug-in that saves multiple, time-stamped backups so that if I break something, I can revert the changes.

Please note that some applications may have their own scrollbar systems and you'll have to mess with those separately.

  • Thanks for your time and the complete answer, but my question is about how to completely remove the trough, i.e. put the slider alone on the contents (not beside them). I’ll edit my question to make it clear. – AliN Aug 19 '13 at 18:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.