Whenever I open an image in feh, the background is set to the standard, dark gray and gray checkboard pattern like this:

enter image description here

As you can see, it's the checkboard background. How do I permanently change this to black?

I've search Google and other places, but I can't seem to find a straight answer. I'm guessing feh's config file is involved, but I can't find any examples of how to do it in the config file. I know you can do it in the command line with --bg-color black (or something) but I'd like to just have it set to black by default.


It seems that you cannot put your desired default options in a config file.

If you know about $PATH you can resort to a hack.

Create this script:

feh --bg-color black "$@"

Call it feh and place it in your $PATH before /usr/bin/ (assuming that feh itself is in /usr/bin/).

Some distros have ~/bin/ in $PATH by default. So you would put that script into ~/bin/ (and make it executable). Otherwise just create this folder yourself and prepend it to your $PATH.

Also, if you want to set multiple default options, you can group them into themes. (Theme is the feh developer's name for a named group of options.) Create ~/.config/feh/themes and add this line to that file:

default --bg-color black

feh -Tdefault will then start feh with your desired default options. This is handy if you want to set multiple options at once. Unfortunately there is no way to set a default theme either. So, in your case it doesn't help. But you can fallback to the same hack as above:

feh -Tdefault "$@"


If you are just going to call feh manually from the commandline, you can instead set an alias in your shell. In bash you would add this line to your ~/.bashrc and restart the interpreter (e.g. re-open the terminal):

alias feh="feh --bg-color black"

In fish shell you would run:

abbr -a feh feh --bg-color black
  • 2
    In feh-3.1.1-1, I get unrecognized option '--bg-color'. – Kevin Jan 23 '19 at 0:59

I would like to add this as a comment to the only answer but I do not have enough reputation.

A look into the man page of feh reveals that the alias should look like this:

alias feh="feh --image-bg black -Z -."

I also added -Z and -. for convenience, -Z zooms pictures to screen size, -. scales down images to fit window geometry

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