24

In Ubuntu 13.04, I often have multiple tabs open in gnome-terminal. The problem is that, while I can set the title of each tab, it is very hard to tell which tab is active -- the color and rendering distinction between the active tab and the inactive tab is so subtle that one must study the tab bar very carefully.

Is there a way to make this contrast more obvious?

3
  • What is the name of the theme you are using?
    – user25656
    Oct 8, 2013 at 10:41
  • Colorized distinction should be a sane default IMHO. C'mon GNOME!
    – blong
    Sep 21, 2015 at 19:21
  • This problem is even more significant in gedit. Dec 11, 2015 at 20:49

4 Answers 4

22

I'm running Ubuntu 13.10 with the Ambience theme - had the same problem.

Solution: edit ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css (you might have to create it) and add:

TerminalWindow,
TerminalWindow.background {
        background-color: #6e6e6e;
        color: #000000;
}

TerminalWindow .notebook tab {
        padding: 2;
        background-color: #6e6e6e;
}

TerminalWindow .notebook tab:active {
        background-color: #d1d1d1;
}
4
  • Ubuntu 14.04 has the same issue. Your solution solved it for me.
    – nomæd
    Nov 11, 2014 at 11:49
  • Tried the tab:active block alone, no effect. :\ It appears that the file does not get noticed/read by a newly opened gnome-terminal. Could it be in the wrong place, does it have to be referenced from somewhere? Nov 14, 2014 at 14:58
  • Forgot to add: I tried switching to another theme and back (as suggested here: askubuntu.com/a/221783/32201) and still no effect. Nov 14, 2014 at 15:05
  • Perfect solution. Has a few nuances with the way it blends with certain borders, but this is essentially exactly what was needed. Apr 28, 2016 at 15:58
11

Here is what worked for me in ubuntu 14.04, I tried to maintain similar overall look, and make the inactive tabs less bright.

edit the file ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css

to contain

TerminalWindow .notebook tab:active {
    background-color: #f5f4f3;
    foreground-color: #000000;
}

TerminalWindow .notebook tab {
    background-color: #d2d1d0;
    foreground-color: #2e2d2c;
}

close ALL terminal windows start and test

EDIT: After using that for a little while it became clear that a pronounced difference between active and inactive tab is not enough.

I think it is necessary to be able to tell an inactive tab at the first glance - without looking to its sides.

So here is the updated configuration (darker inactive tabs):

TerminalWindow .notebook tab:active {
    background-color: #f5f4f3;
    foreground-color: #000000;
}

TerminalWindow .notebook tab {
    background-color: #a2a1a0;
    foreground-color: #1e1d1c;
}
5
  • Thanks... this stretch of my life has passed by, but next time I get the problem I'll try that!
    – Stabledog
    Nov 30, 2014 at 20:23
  • Awesome, Tjunkie, this works great on 15.04 Jul 12, 2015 at 15:28
  • It works in 15.10 too. Nov 3, 2015 at 9:08
  • no gtk.css file there in ubuntu 14.04
    – diEcho
    Feb 10, 2017 at 4:07
  • foreground doesn't work on ubuntu 14.04 lts
    – Tuna
    Jun 23, 2018 at 14:55
5

If you wish to make the text of the active tab more obvious you can modify it's label like this,

edit the file ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css

TerminalTabLabel.active-page .label {
    color: cyan;
    font-weight: bold;
}

Tested in gnome-terminal 3.17.91

enter image description here

enter image description here

Here is what I'm using at work on Ubuntu 15.10 with gnome-terminal 3.16.2. The smaller tab size allows more screen area for the terminal to use and I've experimented with the contrast between active and inactive tabs. I think the tab label text looks better without the bold style applied.

/* gnome-terminal */
@define-color term-win-bg           #262626;
@define-color term-tab-inactive-bg  #333333;
@define-color term-tab-active-bg    #424242;
@define-color ubuntu-orange         #fb9267;

TerminalScreen {
    -TerminalScreen-background-darkness: 0.95;
    background-color: @term-win-bg;
}


TerminalWindow .notebook {
    border: 0;
    padding: 0;
}


TerminalWindow .notebook tab {
    border: 0;
    border-radius: 0px;
    border-image: -gtk-gradient (linear, left top, left bottom,
                                from (alpha (shade (@term-win-bg, 0.9), 0.0)),
                                to (shade (@term-win-bg, 0.9))) 1;
    border-image-width: 0 1px;
    border-color: transparent;
    border-width: 0;
    box-shadow: none;
    background-color: shade(@term-tab-inactive-bg, 1);
}


TerminalWindow .notebook tab:active {
    border: 0;
    border-radius: 0px;
    background-color: shade(@term-tab-active-bg, 1);
}


TerminalTabLabel.active-page .label {
    /*color: @bg_color;
    font-weight: bold
    color: @ubuntu-orange; */
    color: cyan;
}

enter image description here

4
  • Crazy color, but it works =)
    – A.B.
    Nov 12, 2015 at 9:37
  • I must admit my text colour choice is nicer with dark tabs :)
    – Bruce
    Nov 12, 2015 at 9:54
  • Feel free to remove my screenshot. ;)
    – A.B.
    Nov 12, 2015 at 9:54
  • Nah it's all good.
    – Bruce
    Nov 12, 2015 at 9:56
4

I don't have any problem to distinguish active and inactive tabs in gnome-terminal using the default Ubuntu theme - Ambiance.

Looking on Launchpad, I found that this is a confirmed bug affecting many people: Difficult to distinguish which tab is selected.

If this is affecting you also, you can solve this by changing your Ubuntu theme: right click on the desktop, select Change Desktop Background and in the new opened window change your theme to High Contrast:

change ubuntu theme

Then you can distinguish without problems your active and inactive tabs in gnome-terminal:

terminal tabs

3
  • 2
    Ok, that's an idea. I guess I was hoping for something less global and dramatic than changing the entire desktop theme -- but if that's the only way, I guess it's worth it. Thanks!
    – Stabledog
    Oct 8, 2013 at 11:17
  • Any updates on this for 14.04? Changing the whole theme feels like overkill. And High Contrast in particular is very ugly.
    – becko
    Oct 15, 2014 at 22:25
  • @becko The bug is being tracked here: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubuntu-themes/+bug/762349 . However, renedv1 's solution is very simple and effective: askubuntu.com/a/406816/31592
    – blong
    Sep 21, 2015 at 19:26

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.