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Thread: How-To: Change Panel Color Xfce4 - Xubuntu 9.1

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Lightbulb How-To: Change Panel Color Xfce4 - Xubuntu 9.1

    This how-to is written for Xfce users who would like to change the panel color in a theme. The method is tested and works for me with Xubuntu i386 9.10 Karmic w/ Xfce 4. The file names given here were created by sysinstall or subsequent apt-get's, without interference from me. It may work for any Linux distribution with Xfce 4, but I don't know.

    Make sure you have some themes installed:
    $sudo ls -l /usr/share/themes
    To get several nice ones quickly:
    $sudo apt-get install xfwm4-themes xfce4-theme-brushedchrome
    $ls -l /usr/share/themes
    If you don't have a color-palette application that's handy, try this one:
    $sudo apt-get install gcolor2
    If you haven't already done so, it might help to choose a background, or several that have similar color schemes.

    Arrange your open windows such that you get an idea how the desktop will look with any theme. You want to a couple windows open to compare themes.

    From the desktop menu choose <settings><appearance>.

    Using your mouse, click through the list of themes, choosing one that looks the way you want, but you still need to change the panel color.

    When you find one remember the chosen themes name, it's case sensitive.

    Create a directory for a new theme. It will be just like the theme you liked, but provide you the file to modify for different colors. You can keep the installed theme, and have your "customized" themes too. In our example, I'll call my new theme Exploit1, and I liked the "Albatross" theme.

    $sudo mkdir /usr/share/themes/Exploit1
    make the copy
    $sudo cp -R /usr/share/themes/Albatross /usr/share/themes/Exploit1
    that also created /usr/share/themes/Exploit1/gtk-2.0/gtkrc.
    This the file where we'll find things we can modify with the theme.
    $sudo mousepad /usr/share/themes/Exploit1/gtk-2.0/gtkrc
    Near the top of that ascii file, you should see some familiar html color codes for things like "bg" (background), etc.

    If you search for the word "panel", you may find a structure that sets your panel attributes. I did, but I haven't checked every theme - only Albatross.

    Here: I changed the attibute "bg[NORMAL] to the color I selected.

    style "panel" = "dark" {
    ## Default style
        bg[NORMAL] = "#186224"
    ## Style 2 : darker active tab and light orange prelight tab
        fg[PRELIGHT] = shade(1.3, @selected_bg_color)
        fg[ACTIVE] = "#fff"
        bg[ACTIVE] = "#1A1A1D"
        bg[PRELIGHT] = "#444"
    Open your bcolor2 color app that you installed, (it's in your graphics submenu on your desktop, or just run bcolor2 from the command line.

    Choose the color you need and edit the gtkrc file with the resulting html code.

    Notice there are other attributes for ACTIVE and PRELIGHT. When you figure out more things that can be done with your panel, come back here and share it.

    Save your work.

    Force an update by clicking to another theme, then back to your new one. If you haven't noticed, that copy command also put your new theme into the list on <settings><appearance>. And you can choose it like any other.

    Check permissions of your theme files, and set them to look like the other themes.

    There are many things you can customize in that file. If you want some nifty screenlets

    $sudo apt-get install screenlets
    If you want to change the transparency effects of your windows, from your desktop menu open <settings><Window Manager Tweaks> and choose the "Compositor" Tab.
    I have mine set so that by clicking on the top of my window, my window becomes transparent. I can work in a terminal, and see through it to double-check commands from a tutorial or how-to.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by drreed; April 20th, 2010 at 04:09 PM. Reason: added more detail of gtkrc file
    I could sit around and click "comment" all day. Instead, I'll help bring the Internet to it's knees with this signature, and a fresh download of Lucid.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Re: How-To: Change Panel Color Xfce4 - Xubuntu 9.1

    I know that this thread is quite old, but I would just like to thank you for writing this fantastic tutorial. It allowed me to fix a theming issue with the system tray I had when defining a custom color for the panel.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: How-To: Change Panel Color Xfce4 - Xubuntu 9.1

    Old thread closed.

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