Transparent GTK Themes

Compiz may be the prime suite of effects on the desktop, but it can’t go too far beyond decorating the windows themselves. What if you could give GTK+ widgets effects themselves? Depending on your theme, you may be able to.

This is a quick tip, but it requires a few things to be in place:

  • Your GTK theme must support RGBA. Murrine is the classic example of an engine that supports it.
  • You must be using some sort of desktop effects (the Metacity compositor, Compiz, etc)

Let’s begin: open /usr/share/themes. Find the folder of the theme you want to edit and open it. Then open gtk-2.0, and then finally gtkrc as root. Search for a line with rgba on it; it is most likely set to false. You know what to do: change that line to true, save, and then sign out and back in to see your changes.

If successful, you may be greeted with transparent awesomeness on applications that support it:

Avatar for jacob Jacob Peddicord - http://jacob.peddicord.net/

Jacob is a web developer, student, and programmer from Ohio. He is a staff member at the Ubuntu Forums and is most likely a fanboy of the distribution. He loves to write in code and words, play video games, and rant about topics most would have abandoned long ago. Jacob uses GNOME and is never seen running stable software, much to the demise of his laptop.

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Discussion: Transparent GTK Themes

  1. Don (guest)

    # Posted on 09 March 2009 at 05:44 AM

    Great idea. Or, you could just use Xfce which can make ANY theme transparent regardless of the theme engine. By the way, Xfce 4.6 Rocks.



  2. Shagbag (guest)

    # Posted on 09 March 2009 at 08:12 AM

    Nice little howto. I'd be interested to know if it's possible to blur the background of the active window (thus making the text easier to read) as well.



  3. # Posted on 09 March 2009 at 10:59 AM

    Don said:

    Great idea. Or, you could just use Xfce which can make ANY theme transparent regardless of the theme engine. By the way, Xfce 4.6 Rocks.

    Compiz does this.

    Shagbag said:

    Nice little howto. I'd be interested to know if it's possible to blur the background of the active window (thus making the text easier to read) as well.

    Compiz does this as well. :P

    Not that I'm a fan of Compiz, I use just the Metacity compositor.



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