I managed to change the background on the boot screen and now I need to set the font colours to something I can read. I've been lurking around the Ubuntu Forums and the Ask site and I've also tried with the grub-customizer with no luck. All I need is the right code for grub file.

Here's a copy of my current grub:

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR="`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`"


2 Answers 2


I had this problem in ubuntu 13.10 with grub-customizer. In my case it was caused by reverting to the default debian theme, which made the image appear in the background, but all text was grey. I solved it by editing the 05_debian_theme file found in /etc/grub.d/

$ sudo gedit /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme

Find where it reads:

if [ -z "${2}" ] && [ -z "${3}" ]; then
        echo "  true"

Change to:

if [ -z "${2}" ] && [ -z "${3}" ]; then
    echo "  true"
    echo "    set color_highlight=light-blue/black"
    echo "    set color_normal=white/black"

Replace the colours with that of your choosing, remembering grub treats 'black' as transparent. Then run the following and reboot:

sudo update-grub

If that does not solve it for you go go back and edit the theme as mentioned above. You will see a section:

        # Set a monochromatic theme for Ubuntu.
        echo "${1}set menu_color_normal=white/black"
        echo "${1}set menu_color_highlight=light-blue/black"

        if [ -e /lib/plymouth/themes/default.grub ]; then
            sed "s/^/${1}/" /lib/plymouth/themes/default.grub
        # Set the traditional Debian blue theme.
        echo "${1}set menu_color_normal=white/black"
        echo "${1}set menu_color_highlight=light-blue/black"

Change the colours to what you require then update-grub, reboot.

Good luck, I hope this helps.


Solution: /etc/grub.d/06_local_colors

The problem is that update-grub recreates your grub.cfg. The usual way to configure update-grub in Ubuntu is to edit /etc/default/grub, but unfortunately text colors are not yet supported.

We will use a lower level method: create a script in /etc/grub.d/ which will output the lines we want in the grub.cfg files. We use the name 06_local_colors so that it will run after 05_debian_theme and override the color choices.

There are three easy steps.

Step 1. sudo editor /etc/grub.d/06_local_colors

Paste in this script:

# /etc/grub.d/06_local_colors
# Override foreground/background colors with local admin's choices.  
# Note: be sure to chmod +x this file or it will not be used.
# After editing this file, run update-grub.
set -e
echo "Overriding foreground/background text colors ($0)" >&2

echo "${1}set color_normal=light-gray/black"
echo "${1}set color_highlight=black/light-gray"

# Set these if you'd like the menu options to be different than other text
echo "${1}set menu_color_normal=light-gray/black"
echo "${1}set menu_color_highlight=black/light-gray"


# Colors: red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, brown, light-gray, black
# Foreground has additional colors available:
#         light-red, light-green, light-blue
#         light-cyan, light-magenta, yellow, white, dark-gray

# Text background of "black" is transparent when a background image exists.
# (GRUB_BACKGROUND in /etc/default/grub).

# To change the font face and size, set GRUB_FONT in /etc/default/grub 
# to point to a .pf2 file crated by grub-mkfont.
# sudo grub-mkfont --output=/boot/grub/fonts/DejaVuSansMono24.pf2 --size=24 \
#           /usr/share/fonts/truetype/dejavu/DejaVuSansMono.ttf 

The script contains abundant notes so it should be quite simple to tweak.

Step 2: sudo chmod +x /etc/grub.d/06_local_colors

The file needs to be executable or it will not be used.

Step 3: sudo update-grub

After update completes successfully, simply reboot to see what your new colors look like in GRUB.

Further reading

Side note: Why not 05_debian_themes?

While it is possible to edit the system file 05_debian_theme, as described in other answers, it is a bad idea. That file can may need to be overwritten when the system is updated.

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