I like the default Ambiance theme but I spend a lot of time within Eclipse and there are portions that are unusable. The attached screenshot shows one example of this problem.

I tried using Parasite to identify the widget class to modify but it isn't special, just GtkTreeView. So I'm hoping I just don't know the magic theme incantations.

I'm trying to make selected "unfocused" tree items have black text.


enter image description here

2 Answers 2


I was facing the same issue and now that its fixed, here is the solution:

  1. Go to Appearance Preferences
  2. Select Theme tab and click Customize button.
  3. Go to Colors tab and change the color (which should be white) of Text column for Selected Items row.

Hope this will fix your problem.

Note: As this is Theme change it will be applied in other applications too, so choose your color so that it is visible properly under the Background color in the same row.

  • Thanks for the reply. I ended up taking a slightly different approach by making eclipse use a different theme that looks very similar to Ambiance but does not have the some selection issues. GTK2_RC_FILES=/path/to/other/theme/gtkrc /path/to/eclipse Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 18:39
  • Your welcome. I am glad your problem is already resolved. May I ask which theme was used by you? Its definitely simple to just change the theme.
    – Chakra
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 4:40
  • If you want to match Ubuntu's default theme I'd suggest the original Equinox Ambient theme. Commented May 18, 2011 at 14:23

There is an easier way (works on 12.04): install and start gnome-color-chooser. Then go to the first tab 'Global Colors', and in 'Entry Fields', change the Foreground for 'selected' (use a dark color).

This will also affect the color of the focused selection - I don't know if there is a way to only change the unfocused selection color, but actually it's all right because dark on orange is also readable.

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