Emacs: Set Color Theme

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page shows you how to set emacs to use color themes.

Emacs 24 Color Themes

Emacs 24 comes with color themes.

Alt+x customize-themes to set a color theme.

emacs customize-themes 2015-11-13
emacs M-x customize-themes. Click to see the change immediately.

Alternatively, Alt+x load-theme, then press Tab to show a list of available themes.

To clear theme, Alt+x disable-theme. Press Tab for completion.

To find enabled themes, call describe-variable then type custom-enabled-themes

emacs color theme misterioso 2012-10-12-2
emacs color theme “misterioso”

Set a Color Theme Permanently

To set it permanently, put this in your emacs init file.

(load-theme 'misterioso)

Here's list of emacs 24.3 themes.

Thanks to Gabriel Saldaña, Torsten Wagner, Steve Purcell for tips.

Simple Setting of Background Color

Sometimes a color theme is too much. All you need is a mild background color.

To set background color, Alt+x set-background-color then type “honeydew”.

Alt+x list-colors-display to see colors names.

For permanent setup, put the following in your emacs init file.

;; initial window settings
(setq initial-frame-alist
      '((width . 92)
        (height . 54)
        (background-color . "honeydew")))

;; subsequent window settings
(setq default-frame-alist
      '((menu-bar-lines . 1)
        (tool-bar-lines . 0)
        (width . 92)
        (height . 52)
        (background-color . "honeydew")))

(info "(elisp) Frame Parameters")

[see Emacs: Set Default Window (frame) Size]

[see Emacs: Font Configuration]

Simple White on Black, Reverse Video

emacs --reverse-video 2015-11-13
emacs started with emacs --reverse-video

In terminal, emacs --reverse-video will start emacs with white text on black background. This is useful under bright sunlight.

Emacs Customization

  1. How to Set Emacs's User Interface
  2. Emacs: How to Install Packages Using ELPA, MELPA
  3. How to Install Emacs Package Manually
  4. Emacs: How to Define Keys
  5. Emacs: M-x customize Tutorial
  6. Emacs: Set File to Open in a Major Mode
  7. Emacs: Organize Init File
  8. Emacs: Byte Compile Elisp Files
  9. Emacs: What's Hook?
  10. Emacs: Set Environment Variables within Emacs
  11. Elisp: Determine OS, Emacs Version, Machine Host Name
  12. Elisp: Check If a {function, variable, feature} is Defined/Loaded
  13. Emacs: Set Default Window (frame) Size
  14. Emacs: Font Configuration
  15. Emacs: Set Color Theme
  16. Emacs: Save Cursor Position
  17. Emacs: Turn Off Auto Backup; Set Backups into a Directory; How to Delete Backup Files
  18. Emacs: Stop Cursor Going into Minibuffer Prompt
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