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I have awesome installed onto a system that doesn't have a desktop environment installed. For now, I'm satisfied with the default theme of awesome itself, but I need to apply a dark theme to all the applications I launch within awesome.

So far, in my searches, I keep seeing documentation on theming awesome itself, but I don't think those themes would have any affect on the applications. Am I wrong about that? If not, can I apply themes to the applications without installing GNOME or KDE?

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You are right, themes of Awesome won't have any effect on gtk (gnome) or qt (kde) apps. You don't need to install anything more per se (I'll suggest a package for qt, but it's for preferences), if you have gtk and qt apps installed and running, they have all the dependencies needed already installed.

You'll need to touch this file for gtk3: /etc/gtk-3.0/settings.ini

For apps using older gtk2: /etc/gtk-2.0/gtkrc

For qt apps I suggest you to install qt5ct package (apt install qt5ct on Debian and derivatives).

Sample of /etc/gtk-3.0/settings.ini:

[Settings]
gtk-theme-name = breeze-gtk-theme
gtk-icon-theme-name = Numix
#gtk-fallback-icon-theme-name = Numix Circle
gtk-font-name = Roboto Regular 11
#gtk-font-name = Nimbus sans 16
#gtk-font-name = Hack Nerd Font Mono 13
gtk-xft-antialias = 1
gtk-xft-hinting = 0
#gtk-xft-hintstyle = hintfull
gtk-xft-hintstyle = hintmedium
#gtk-xft-hintstyle = hintslight
#gtk-xft-hintstyle = hintnone
gtk-recent-files-enabled = false
#gtk-application-prefer-dark-theme = true
#gtk-button-images = true
gtk-enable-animations = false
#gtk-enable-event-sounds = 1
#gtk-enable-input-feedback-sounds = 1
#gtk-menu-images = true
#gtk-modules = colorreload-gtk-module
#gtk-primary-button-warps-slider = false
#gtk-toolbar-icon-size = GTK_ICON_SIZE_SMALL_TOOLBAR
#gtk-toolbar-style = 3
gtk-cursor-theme-name = Amiga
#gtk-cursor-theme-size = 10
gtk-decoration-layout = close,menu
#gtk-decoration-layout = icon:minimize,maximize,close

Sample of /etc/gtk-2.0/gtkrc:

gtk-theme-name = "Xfce-smooth"
gtk-icon-theme-name = "Numix"
#gtk-fallback-icon-theme-name = Numix Circle
gtk-font-name = "Roboto Regular 11"
#gtk-font-name = "Nimbus sans 16"
gtk-xft-antialias = 1
#gtk-xft-hinting = 1
#gtk-xft-hintstyle = "hintfull"
gtk-enable-animations = 0
#gtk-primary-button-warps-slider=0
#gtk-cursor-theme-name="Layan-white-cursors"
#gtk-cursor-theme-size=0
#gtk-toolbar-style=3
#gtk-toolbar-icon-size=GTK_ICON_SIZE_SMALL_TOOLBAR
#gtk-button-images=1
#gtk-menu-images=1
gtk-enable-event-sounds = 0
gtk-enable-input-feedback-sounds = 0

You can uncomment to set the commented options if you like.

For qt, after you install qt5ct package you can execute qt5ct, which will present you with a GUI app to set the qt apps theme or sync it to the gtk one.

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    Thank you. Merry Christmas. Dec 25, 2021 at 19:10

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