Is there a easy way to customize XFCE themes? What I want is to change colours or use part of one theme in another(eg. scroll bar). I tried to find some tutorials but everything seemed so overwhelming.

Also if someone could explain how themes work in XFCE - eg. how come that some apps use theme just for part of their interface (eg. Linux Mint's software center's searchbox turns yellow resulting in unreadable text).


You can go to /usr/share/themes/YOUR-THEME to tweak the CSS. The main file for this is gtkrc often located in the gtk-2.0 directory. Be sure to read the comments in the document. Here is an example of an edit I made when the background color, bg_color, in the theme Greybird was a little too gray for me (/usr/share/themes/Greybird/gtk-2.0/gtkrc).

# gtk-color-scheme  = "bg_color:#CECECE\nselected_bg_color:#398ee7\nbase_color:#fcfcfc" # Background, base.
gtk-color-scheme    = "bg_color:#EEEEEE\nselected_bg_color:#C3D4AA\nbase_color:#fcfcfc" # Background, base. 

I commented out the original so there would still be a record if I wanted to go back. You will need to log out or change your theme and return to it again for the changes to be applied. Often gtkrc will have a gtk-color-scheme section at the top of the file. This is the overall color scheme.

I recommend going to Window Manager > Style tab to try different options. Also customize in Appearance > Style and Icons tabs. Playing with those three options can offer a lot of possibilities. I really like setting a custom color. On Xubuntu 14.04, I have Daloa as the Window Manager, Orion as my theme (Style tab in Appearance), and elementary Xfce darker as my Icons. Then in Theme Configuration, gtk-theme-config, I have custom colors set. With this setup I have nice green accents throughout my system.
gtk-theme-config settings
If you have Xfce 4.12, Orion is not installed there, but there I use Greybird theme. (This is on my Fedora Xfce install.) Greybird also does a nice job of populating my theme color throughout the system.

Sometimes a theme may not cover every aspect of every program. In these cases the default theme would be used. In Xubuntu 14.04 this is Raleigh. Only certain themes have an accompanying Window Manager style. If they do have it, there will be an xfwm directory in the theme's directory with a themerc file:
cd /usr/share/themes && find . -type d -name "xfwm4" -print | sort

I recently installed Numix on Fedora Xfce (particularly for the icons). It is a nice looking theme and is available for Xubuntu. http://www.webupd8.org/2013/08/new-ppa-for-numix-gtk-and-icon-themes.html

To answer the part about using one part of a theme in another, I wanted to make my Xfce panel have a text shadow with using Orion. I noted that I liked Greybird's text shadow on its panel. Instead of combing through the CSS in Orion to see what to change or add, I backed up /usr/share/themes/Orion/gtk-2.0/apps/panel.rc. Then I just replaced this file with /usr/share/themes/Greybird/gtk-2.0/apps/xfce-panel.rc. Worked just fine.


You can use a tool called Xfce Theme Manager

You can change the themes from a single GUI.

Xfce Theme Manager also includes thumbnails.

Xfce Theme Manager allows settings the following:

Complete Xfce theme.
Icon theme
Cursor theme
Window borders only
Controls only
Change the wallpaper
Customizable theme preview size.
Save the current theme.
Install themes using drag'n'drop.
Reset the theme.

You can install Xfce Theme Manager from a PPA.

Open a terminal by hitting Ctrl+Alt+T.

Run the following commands:

sudo -i
add-apt-repository ppa:rebuntu16/other-stuff 
apt-get update
apt-get install xfce-theme-manager

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