settings for font colors

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at
Tue Mar 2 01:02:13 GMT 2010

Rick Miles posted on Tue, 02 Mar 2010 11:10:15 +1100 as excerpted:

> I'm new to kde4.4 :^)
> Wher is the setting for system tray fonts? All my notifications are
> black on black.
> Wher is the setting for desktop font colors, i.e. the lettering under
> icons, and also where is the setting for font shadowing for lettering
> under icons. I seem to remember these being in Advanced where wallpaper
> was changed. Wallpaper is is now changed under Desktop Activity Settings
> when I right click on the desktop but there are no settings for fonts
> and shadowed text and degfault seems to be some sort of white shadow
> cloud behind the icon text on my desktop.

The desktop, aka plasma, has its own themes.  However, in a couple places, 
they seem to interact with the normal kde colors as well.  Well either 
that or the themes I run don't have a couple things set too well.  This 
can be bad if like me you have a strong "reverse color scheme" (that is, 
light text on a dark background) preference, as that's uncommon and the 
assumption would be dark text on a light background.

Unfortunately, unlike kde, where most of the colors are set specifically, 
with plasma one has to choose a theme -- altho individual components (, 
general color scheme, panel background, desktop widget background, analog 
clock, etc) can be set to different themes if desired.  Editing individual 
elements within a component, however, requires editing the text-based 
config files themselves, unfortunately.

To set a default plasma (aka "workspace") theme, see kcontrol (the 
application formerly known as, now less accurately and way too generically 
known as system settings), look & feel, appearance, style, workspace tab.  
You can even download more from kdelook using the button, if you like.

If you wish to mix and match components from different themes, that's 
under advanced user settings, desktop theme details.  Select the one that 
you want to use as your base in the top ribbon, thus setting all the 
individual components to it, then change individual components to those of 
other themes as desired.

But here, I liked a particular theme ("Professional", downloaded from 
kdelook) except for one problem: the lettering on the "cashew" (aka 
toolbox) popup was white (good), but surrounded by white shadow as well 
(bad), thus making it unreadable (very bad).  To fix that I had to edit an 
individual entry in the theme color scheme file.  But there was a trick to 
the entry I had to edit, as plasma was apparently trying to out-smart 

It sounds like you may have similar issues but in different areas.  You 
have two choices.  You can either trial and error with themes until you 
find something you like that doesn't have such issues, or, if you're like 
me and have a particular favorite, except for those one or two things, you 
can try editing them yourself, in effect, creating your own theme color 

The file I had to edit was in $KDEHOME (~/.kde as shipped by kde, some 
distributions make it ~/.kde4 or the like, or you can always set and 
export the variable before starting KDE, if you want it elsewhere).
$KDEHOME/share/apps/desktoptheme/<theme>/colors.  That's probably the file 
you want too, but you may have some work cut out for you figuring out 
which line.

Here, I had the one theme I liked, but for the one issue, and another 
theme that didn't have the issue.  What I did to find the problem was 
backup the theme I liked, then switch out the files one by one from the 
other theme I didn't like so well, killing and restarting plasma-desktop 
each time, until I found the culprit -- the colors file as mentioned 
above.  Then I restored my backup, and backed up that individual file, 
then used the same technique on sections within that file.  Once I found 
the section, I did the same thing with individual lines of that section.

It turned out that for me, the problem section was [Colors:Window], with 
the problem line being ForegroundNormal.  Now here's the trick.  The color 
in that line was NOT the problem color, directly!  What plasma was 
apparently doing was believing that color to be the text/font color, when 
the text/font color was actually something else.  But because that color 
was set somewhat dark, and the background was also dark, plasma thought 
there wasn't enough contrast between the two and was whitening the area 
around the text, so it would contrast better with what plasma THOUGHT was 
a dark foreground/font/text color -- except that's not the color that was 
being used for font/foreground/text at all.  The color that was being used 
was actually white or close to it, so rather than fix the problem by 
whitening the background around the text, plasma was actually CREATING the 
problem.  See what I said about being a bit too smart for its own good?

Now your problem is probably a different line in that same file.  The 
white shadow cloud seems to be the same effect I saw, tho, so be aware 
that the problem line is likely NOT a white or near-white RGB code 
(255,255.255), but rather, something a bit darker, with plasma likely 
trying to out-smart itself and failing, in your case as well.  You'll 
likely need some luck and a lot of patience to find it, at least using the 
trial and error method I used, but it'll work if you're sufficiently 
patient and determined.  If you're not up for that, just try a few more 
plasma themes until you find one at least /almost/ right, and leave it at 

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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