Customize Theme Colors with Oomox

📅 August 22, 2016
lanceloth2aInterested in customizing your Linux desktop theme colors to a fine degree? Try Oomox!

Oomox is a program that lets you adjust and create your GTK theme colors for your Linux desktop and save the result as a brand new theme set.

Light themes. Dark themes. Classic themes. Wild themes. Your imagination is the limit!

What Can I Change?

Only the colors. Oomox is not Emerald. Its primary purpose is to allow different colors to be assigned to various parts of a window. Want to change the background color? The text color? How about the menu bar color? Oomox lets you.


Oomox showing the Ashes-Dark preset (in the preview) while the Shiki-Dusk theme is used as the main theme. Any theme changes are shown in the preview in the upper right corner.


Once the theme is applied to the system, it takes effect immediately. Shown here is the Ashes-Dark theme and Nemo.


Ashes-Light variation. You have the option of making light and dark versions of a theme.

However, Oomox does not perform magical eyecandy adjustments, such as window transparency and wobbly windows. You can make a few minor button changes, such as rounded corners and gradients, but that’s it. Oomox’s purpose is to create a new color scheme, and it achieves that goal well.

Oomox will not change the colors or style of the Linux Mint Cinnamon bar. Cinnamon requires its own separate theme.

Even though Oomox is touted as a Numix theme color customizer, I did not have the Numix theme installed, and it worked fine.


Oomox is available from GitHub [] and as a deb from webupd8 [].

Version 0.22.1 showed good results in Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon.

Main Menu

Oomox is simple to use. Many theme sets are already provided by default along with a preview. Simply select a theme and view the changes in the preview.


This is the only window in Oomox, and it consists of three sections: Presets (a list of many preset themes to choose from), Edit (where you make changes), and Preview (where you view any changes you have made).

The only real trick is learning what color adjustment applies to which element since all elements are abbreviated. For example, BG is the window background while FG is the color of the text that appears in the window’s content pane, not the the title bar. Changing FG will change the color of the foreground text.

It is mostly trial and error, but after a while, you will become accustomed to the nicknames.

Saving Themes

You can save and export a theme. What’s the difference? Saving saves any changes in Oomox for future use. Exporting saves the theme into a file set for use. You cannot use the theme until you export it as a theme set.

In the upper left corner of the menu bar, there are two buttons: Clone current theme and Save theme. Clone will make a duplicate of the current theme being edited. This lets you experiment freely without concern about messing up the original preset theme colors.

Once you like the changes you have made to a theme, saving will save the changes.

Exporting Themes

When you save, your system’s theme is not affected. That only saves the Oomox settings for a theme. You must export the theme by clicking the Export theme button. This creates an entirely new theme that is saved to your home’s .themes directory (~/.themes), and the theme is available for use.

What About Exporting Icons?

You can adjust the colors of a few basic icons, such as the folder icon. Clicking the Export icon theme button modifies a basic icon theme and stores the resulting icon set in ~/.icons. The folder icons can look good (sometimes), but I prefer a custom icon theme so all icons appear consistent across the system.

Using the Theme

Open the Themes dialog and click the Controls button. Your new theme appears in the list. Simply click the theme and it is applied immediately, changing you system theme.


Open the System Settings dialog (shown here) and choose Themes.


From the Themes dialog (shown here), click the Controls button to select the new theme you proudly created. Choosing Window borders will change the window borders to that of your new theme, but you can mix and match as you please. Controls will have the greatest effect.

Each theme you export is saved as a different theme (unless you overwrite an existing theme name), so you can always return to another theme. You can have several in your ~/.themes directory at once. System themes are not affected, so there is no danger of ruining any themes you might already have installed.


You can easily devise irritatingly unusable color schemes, such as this one, so duplicate a theme before making any significant changes. You will eventually want to return to the orginal settings.

Preset Themes

Many color sets are available ranging from traditional to avant-garde. Simply select one and export it to experiment. If you find one you like but think, “This looks good, but this color could be a little darker,” then darken that color and export it again. You can make changes to any preset theme. If your changes are many, then you might want to clone the theme first and then make changes to the clone.


So many preset themes to play with! This one is called popart/adventure_time_3. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Probably unusable during everyday usage, but can you resist trying it out just to see what it looks like?


Skiki-Human theme shown with custom Vibrancy icons (not generated with Oomox) and a few selected items.


retro/omega2 theme. Notice the slight gradient effect.


popart/adventure_time_3. No, I couldn’t resist trying it out. Note the rounded buttons. Oomoox makes that possible.


Those familiar with third-party DOS programs should recognize this color scheme called retro/commander.


Not all preset themes are over-the-top gaudy. Most of them are usable, and many provide a fresh twist such as this one called retro/lanceloth.


By making a few colors changes to a base theme, we can produce different results to our liking. Lanceloth is good as it is, but how about light blue color instead of orange while keeping the rest of the theme the same? Here, all orange was changed to #61b1ff, a light blue color. Make sure to save a duplicate before editing so you can return to the original orange theme.


And here is the result of the new theme with blue instead of orange.


Oomox is a fun eyecandy customization tool that can easily consume hours of your life. The playful tweaking options are fun, and your imagination is the limit. Certainly worth a try.

Have fun!

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