I've tried different themes in emacs (on mac with xterm set to 256) and everything works great except it's ignoring the theme's background color. Even if I add (set-background-color "red") for example to my .emacs file, it simply ignores this and uses the default terminal background of OS X.


Unfortunately, to my experience at least if you use emacs in terminal you can't really change color schemes, Emacs, contrary to vim, is meant to be used in its own window not in cli.

  • 4
    um, no. Emacs was originally designed for CLIs. the GUI is basically an afterthought.
    – strugee
    Mar 29 '14 at 7:01
  • My bad then, still on my installation i wasn't able to change color schemes in terminal, emacs simply used default xterm colorcheme for rendering text. Mar 30 '14 at 22:19

I cannot replicate your problem. I am using Emacs 24.3.1 which you can get either from emacsformacosx.com or MacPorts. Running Emacs with emacs -nw in Terminal.app (TERM=xterm-256color). Using M-x customize-theme I can select themes with colored backgrounds -- see attached image.

It may be that the OS X Emacs /usr/bin/emacs, which is version 22.1.1 in Mavericks, does not support this, but Emacs 22 is ancient anyway.

So I suggest you install the current Emacs and try it out.

Emacs 24.3 in Terminal using the light-blue theme

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