I use (and love) Gnome Classic in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with the built-in Radiance theme. Only gripe that I have is that all applications in the (bottom of the screen) task bar are highlighted the same.

Minimized applications are indicated by wrapping the application name in [...]. Is there a configuration that highlights the active application in bold, or using a different taskbar button color?




active app in bold

active app in different color

  • 1
    I'd like to add a remark: it seems that this issue applies only to Radiance theme. In dark Ambiance theme (16.04 LTS) the button of active application is darker than the rest applications' buttons.
    – whtyger
    Jul 17, 2017 at 8:35
  • @whtyger: Thanks, that's a helpful observation! That means I could probably edit the Radiance theme to achieve the same visual distinction. Jul 17, 2017 at 9:20
  • @whtyger Same with the Radiance theme on a newly installed gnome desktop environment. As I am not very familiar with gnome, I dont know how you got to customize the bottom taskbar. But my guess it the problem lies in the plugins to customize the taskbar.
    – urben
    Jul 17, 2017 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


Comparing files /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/apps/gnome-panel.css and /usr/share/themes/Radiance/gtk-3.0/apps/gnome-panel.css showed that one fragment in Radiance theme stylesheet is missing. We can copy it from Ambiance theme. Make a backup of /usr/share/themes/Radiance/gtk-3.0/apps/gnome-panel.css for safety and add these lines between PanelApplet .button:prelight { ... } and ClockBox { ... } blocks of the mentioned file:

PanelApplet .button:checked {
    background-image: -gtk-gradient (linear, left top, left bottom,
                                     from (shade (@dark_bg_color, 0.95)),
                                     to (shade (@dark_bg_color, 1.1)));

PanelApplet .button:checked:prelight {
    background-image: -gtk-gradient (linear, left top, left bottom,
                                     from (shade (@dark_bg_color, 1.15)),
                                     to (shade (@dark_bg_color, 1.3)));

PanelApplet .button:checked:prelight:active {
    border-image: none;
    background-image: -gtk-gradient (linear, left top, left bottom,
                                     from (shade (@dark_bg_color, 0.75)),
                                     to (shade (@dark_bg_color, 0.9)));
    border-color: shade (@dark_bg_color, 0.8);

This code is taken from the gnome-panel.css file of Ambiance theme. Reload and observe the changes.
These settings are adapted to Ambiance theme, but they'll work for Radiance theme also - now the button of active application will be darker than the other ones. Some adjustments of the values will probably enhance the compliance with Radiance theme, but that's the job of theme creators.
Created bugreport. Maybe it will be fixed in the foreseeable future.
P.S. Take into consideration that any update of light-themes package will revert this fix.

  • This works great, thanks a lot (and enjoy the bounty)! I've tweaked the styles a bit (e.g. started the shading from @selected_bg_color) to suit my preferences. Jul 19, 2017 at 11:40
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    If others want to tweak as well: The first rule is for the button representing the active application, the second with mouse hovering over it, the third with mouse pressed on it. Jul 19, 2017 at 11:41
  • Nice addition. I'll mention also that according to my comparison Radiance theme values are less than the Ambiance theme ones. You can safely decrease the values by 0.1 to fit better to Radiance theme.
    – whtyger
    Jul 19, 2017 at 12:05

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