Tag Archives: DYI

Variety On the Desktop

Are you like me? Do you like to change your desktop backgrounds and themes pretty often?

Do you get kinda’ tired of the same ol’ offerings for your windows managers; be they KDE, Gnome, Xfce? I trolled Xfce-Look and snarfed up most of the good stuff there over the past couple years. Sometimes though, you just gotta’ do it yourself. Here’s how to customize already existing Xfce themes the easy way.

Pick a simple based theme like Clearlooks-gray. If you don’t already have it installed, go to Xfce-Look and pick it up real quick. Once you have it installed in your /home/<user>/.themes directory, you’re ready to start. The first thing you want to do is make a copy of the Clearlooks-gray directory. Call it Clearlooks-build or something like that.

Now, go into the new Clearlooks-build directory and you’ll find gtk-2.0 directory. Inside that one, you’ll find the gtkrc file and the menu.png file. That’s what we’re going to work with here. Open the gtkrc file using your favorite text editor. It looks similar to Figure 1.

Figure 1

The color codes that I’ve circled are the ones you’ll be dealing with. They determine the colors for the background, foreground, text, selected times, etc. Use your favorite color picker app (I use Gcolor) to pick and choose your custom colors. just copy/paste them over the existing ones in the gtkrc file. Save the file and reload your theme using the Xfce Settings –> Appearance tool. You can also use The GIMP to re-colorize the menu.png image so that it matches the rest of your theme colors.

Once you have everything the way you like it, save the files and rename your top level directory from Clearlooks-build to whatever you want to call your new theme. It’s easy-peasy, folks. Since you’re working on a copy of the Clearlooks-gray theme, you’re not going to break anything by tweaking this stuff.

Here are a couple shots of my Clearlooks-dkblue theme:



Until next time, folks…

Have some fun!