I recently switched over to Xfce and really enjoy it. However, when I went in to my settings to change the appearance, the theme that I liked best was "Xfce-dusk" with one exception:

The default colors for application tabs are so dark that it's hard to tell where they are.

I hunted around for a little while looking anywhere I could to see where the styles for the tabs are set in the theme configuration file and couldn't find anything that looked like it would do what I need.

The file I've found to define the theme was:


But looking through that file, I can't find anything that seems to apply.

Any suggestions? Normally I'm a command-line only sort of guy and don't really know much about WMs or theming, and don't even know the terms of what I'm trying to modify, so my Google searches are coming up painfully empty.

Here is a screenshot of the type of tabs I want to modifya screenshot of the type of tabs I want to modify.

  • Xcfe == Xfce ? Sorry I am not able to edit your post.
    – Hemant
    Sep 1, 2010 at 23:40
  • just as an FYI you can now put images on StackExchange sites Sep 2, 2010 at 19:18
  • @xenoterracide: I read the blog post about it but didn't think Jeff and those guys had rolled those changes out to Stack Exchange. Thanks for the edits and fixing my dyslexic Xfce spelling... :D Sep 3, 2010 at 12:20

2 Answers 2


I can't give you a precise answer but this will get you started. If that's too much work, you might want to check out other themes for something similar with higher contrast tabs.

  • 1
    Yeah, I spent a few hours on those sites trying to do exactly that, just didn't have any luck. Figured I was missing something simple. :( Sep 3, 2010 at 12:21

I'm unaware of any command-line way to do it, but...

  1. Install gnome-color-chooser and fire it up
  2. Global Colors -> Default Configuration -> Normal -> active

I have included a screenshot that shows the proper spot to change (look for the mouse cursor):

enter image description here

I'm assuming this corresponds to base[ACTIVE] or bg[ACTIVE] in the gtkrc, but I have not tested it.

Also, this changes more than just the tab's color. It may be possible to change only the tab's color, but I don't know how to do that.

  • 1
    gnome colour chooser applied to xfce?
    – markling
    Feb 18, 2020 at 18:24

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