This document describes various options available for fluxbox styles.


What is a Style?

Styles, sometimes referred to as Themes, are a graphical overlay for the fluxbox(1) window manager. If you wanted to get to know fluxbox, the styles would be the look of the look and feel.

Styles are simple ASCII text files that tell fluxbox(1) how to generate the appearance of different components of the window manager. The default installation of fluxbox(1) is shipped with many classic examples that show a great deal of what one could do. To use one of the standard styles navigate to the System Styles menu under your main fluxbox(1) menu.

fluxbox(1) uses its own graphics class to render its images on the fly. By using styles you can determine, at a great level of configurability, what your desktop will look like. Since fluxbox(1) was derived from blackbox many often wonder if old themes will work on the latest releases of fluxbox(1). Well they basically do, but you will have to tune them since the fluxbox(1) code has changed quite a bit since the initial grab.


A style is made up of a few major components which then have their own sub-directives. The major components are as follows:

The window.* directives control the appearance of the window frames,* controls the appearance of the window tabs, menu.* controls the appearance of the popup menu that you see when you right click on the desktop. toolbar.* is the bar you will see at the top or bottom of your screen. Finally the slit.* has options you can use to customize the appearance of the slit. However if you don’t set the slit directives specifically, the slit’s appearance is controlled by the toolbar directives instead.

To understand how the style mechanism works, it is nice to know a little about how X11 resources work. X11 resources consist of a key and a value. The key is constructed of several smaller keys (sometimes referred to as children), delimited by a period (.). Keys may also contain an asterisk (*) to serve as a wildcard, which means that one line of text will match several keys. This is useful for styles that are based on one or two colors.

A more complete reference to this can be found in X(7), section RESOURCES.


There are many places to store your styles, the most common is in your ~/.fluxbox/styles directory. The initial installation will place the default styles in @pkgdatadir@/styles providing a basic usable configuration.

When creating your own style, create a directory (normally the name of your style) in ~/.fluxbox/styles/ (If the styles directory doesn’t exist, create that also). While there isn’t an official structure, it is common to create a directory named after your style and place your pixmaps directory (if required) in there along with a file called theme.cfg (may also be named style.cfg). This file is where you will construct your style using the components covered later in this manual page. An example of steps taken when beginning a style project of your own may look like:

$ cd
$ mkdir -p ~/.fluxbox/styles/YourStyle/pixmaps
$ cd ~/.fluxbox/styles/YourStyle
$ nano theme.cfg

Output of a packaged style should look like the following:

$ cd
$ tar -tjvf YourStyle.tar.bz2

Of course, all of these are just preferences, fluxbox(1) allows for the customization of many things, including how you handle your styles. Just remember, however, that if you plan to distribute your style you may find some community bickering if you don’t follow practices. :)


As discussed above, fluxbox(1) allows you to configure its four main components: the toolbar, menus, slit and window decorations. Remember that you can customize the slit with its own directives, otherwise the slit will take the appearance of the toolbar.

Here are some quick examples to illustrate basic syntax:

toolbar.clock.color: green

This sets the color resource of the toolbar clock to green. Another example:

menu*color:     rgb:3/4/5

This sets the color resource of the menu and all of its children to ‘rgb:3/4/5’. (For a description of color names, see X(1).) So this one also applies to menu.title.color and menu.frame.color. And with

*font:  -b&h-lucida-medium-r-normal-*-*-140-*

you set the font resource for all keys to this font name all at once (For information about the fonts installed on your system, you can use a program like xfontsel(1), gtkfontsel, or xlsfonts(1).)

In the last example you will notice the wildcard (*) before font. In a Fluxbox style you can set a value with a wildcard. The example means that every font in the style will be what is specified. You can do this with any component/value. For example if you wanted all of the text to be one color you would do:

*textColor:  rgb:3/4/5

This means that you can setup a very simple style with very few properties. See the EXAMPLES below for an example of this in practice. fluxbox(1) also allows you to override wildcards in your style. Lets take our example above and add an override for the toolbar.clock.textColor component:

*textColor: rgb:3/4/5
toolbar.clock.textColor: rgb:255/0/0

With that all of the text will be rgb:3/4/5 except the toolbar clock text which will be rgb:255/0/0.

Now what makes fluxbox(1) so spectacular is its ability to render textures on the fly. A texture is a fillpattern that you see on some styles. Texture descriptions are specified directly to the key that they should apply to, e.g.:

toolbar.clock:  Raised Gradient Diagonal Bevel1
toolbar.clock.color:    rgb:8/6/4
toolbar.clock.colorTo:  rgb:4/3/2

Don’t worry, we will explain what these mean. A texture description consists of up to five fields, which are as follows:

Flat | Raised | Sunken

gives the component either a flat, raised or sunken appearance.

Gradient | Solid

tells fluxbox(1) to draw either a solid color or a gradient texture.

Horizontal | Vertical | Diagonal | Crossdiagonal | Pipecross | Elliptic | Rectangle | Pyramid

Select one of these texture types. They only work when Gradient is specified.


tells fluxbox(1) to interlace the texture (darken every other line). This option is most commonly used with gradiented textures, but it also works in solid textures.

Bevel1 | Bevel2

tells fluxbox(1) which type of bevel to use. Bevel1 is the default bevel. The shading is placed on the edge of the image. Bevel2 is an alternative. The shading is placed one pixel in from the edge of the image.

Instead of a texture description, also the option ParentRelative is available, which makes the component appear as a part of its parent, e.g. totally transparent.

Or for even more possibilities Pixmap. If pixmap texture is specified (it might not be necessary on every occasion) the pixmap file is specified in a separate pixmap resource.

toolbar.clock: pixmap
toolbar.clock.pixmap: clock_background.xpm

This feature might need some investigation, reports say that sometimes the resources color and colorTo must be set and then they may not be set.

All gradiented textures are composed of two color values: the color and colorTo resources. When Interlaced is used in Solid mode, the colorTo resource is used to find the interlacing color.


In addition to specifying the font-family and the font-weight via the supported font-rendering-engine (eg, Xft), fluxbox(1) supports some effects: halo and shadow. To set the shadow effect:

menu.title.font: sans-8:bold
menu.title.effect: shadow
menu.title.shadow.color: green
menu.title.shadow.x: 3
menu.title.shadow.y: 3

To set the halo effect:

menu.title.font: sans-8:bold
menu.title.effect: halo
menu.title.halo.color: green


If you have problems installing fonts or getting them to work, you should read the docs page at Here is a link to one of these:


Here is the exhaustive component list for fluxbox(1) styles. Each one is listed with their type of value required. Comments in a style file are preceded with an exclamation point (!) which we also use here so that these can be pasted into a new theme.cfg to be customized appropriately. Please note that in order to keep styles consistent it is often the practice of stylists to provide all of the theme-items in their style file even if they are not used. This allows the user the ease of changing different components.


Many, many things you can do with window design in fluxbox(1), below are your options. Have fun.

window.bevelWidth:              <integer>
window.borderColor:             <color>
window.borderWidth:             <integer>
window.button.focus:            <texture type>
window.button.focus.color:      <color>
window.button.focus.colorTo:    <color>
window.button.focus.picColor:   <color>
window.button.focus.pixmap:     <filename>
window.button.pressed: <texture type>
window.button.pressed.color:    <color>
window.button.pressed.colorTo:  <color>
window.button.pressed.pixmap:   <filename>
window.button.unfocus:          <texture type>
window.button.unfocus.color:    <color>
window.button.unfocus.colorTo:  <color>
window.button.unfocus.picColor: <color>
window.button.unfocus.pixmap:   <filename>
window.close.pixmap:            <filename>
window.close.pressed.pixmap:    <filename>
window.close.unfocus.pixmap:    <filename>
window.font:                    <font>
window.frame.focusColor:        <color>
window.frame.unfocusColor:      <color>
window.grip.focus:              <texture type>
window.grip.focus.color:        <color>
window.grip.focus.colorTo:      <color>
window.grip.focus.pixmap:       <filename>
window.grip.unfocus:            <texture type>
window.grip.unfocus.color:      <color>
window.grip.unfocus.colorTo:    <color>
window.grip.unfocus.pixmap:     <filename>
window.handle.focus:            <texture type>
window.handle.focus.color:      <color>
window.handle.focus.colorTo:    <color>
window.handle.focus.pixmap:     <filename>
window.handle.unfocus:          <texture type>
window.handle.unfocus.color:    <color>
window.handle.unfocus.colorTo:  <color>
window.handle.unfocus.pixmap:   <filename>
window.handleWidth:             <integer>
window.iconify.pixmap:          <filename>
window.iconify.pressed.pixmap:  <filename>
window.iconify.unfocus.pixmap:  <filename>
window.justify:                 <{Left|Right|Center}>            <texture type>  <color>
window.label.focus:             <texture type>
window.label.focus.color:       <color>
window.label.focus.colorTo:     <color>
window.label.focus.pixmap:      <filename>
window.label.unfocus:           <texture type>
window.label.unfocus.color:     <color>
window.label.unfocus.colorTo:   <color>
window.label.unfocus.pixmap:    <filename>
window.label.focus.textColor:   <color>
window.label.unfocus.textColor: <color>
window.maximize.pixmap:         <filename>
window.maximize.pressed.pixmap: <filename>
window.maximize.unfocus.pixmap: <filename>
window.roundCorners:            <{Top|Bottom}{Left|Right}>
window.shade.pixmap:            <filename>
window.shade.pressed.pixmap:    <filename>
window.shade.unfocus.pixmap:    <filename>
window.stick.pixmap:            <filename>
window.stick.pressed.pixmap:    <filename>
window.stick.unfocus.pixmap:    <filename>
window.stuck.pixmap:            <filename>
window.stuck.unfocus.pixmap:    <filename>
window.lhalf.pixmap:            <filename>
window.lhalf.unfocus.pixmap:    <filename>
window.rhalf.pixmap:            <filename>
window.rhalf.unfocus.pixmap:    <filename>
window.title.focus:             <texture type>
window.title.focus.color:       <color>
window.title.focus.colorTo:     <color>
window.title.focus.pixmap:      <filename>
window.title.height:            <integer>
window.title.unfocus:           <texture type>
window.title.unfocus.color:     <color>
window.title.unfocus.colorTo:   <color>
window.title.unfocus.pixmap:    <filename>


Everything you need to make your menu look pretty.

menu.bevelWidth:                <integer>
menu.borderColor:               <color>
menu.borderWidth:               <integer>
menu.bullet:                    <{empty|square|triangle|diamond}>
menu.bullet.position:           <{left|right}>
menu.frame:                     <texture type>
menu.frame.color:               <color>
menu.frame.colorTo:             <color>
menu.frame.disableColor:        <color>
menu.frame.font:                <font>
menu.frame.justify:             <{Left|Right|Center}>
menu.frame.pixmap:              <filename>
menu.frame.textColor:           <color>
menu.hilite:                    <texture type>
menu.hilite.color:              <color>
menu.hilite.colorTo:            <color>
menu.hilite.font:               <font>
menu.hilite.justify:            <{left|center|right}>
menu.hilite.pixmap:             <filename>
menu.hilite.textColor:          <color>
menu.itemHeight:                <integer>
menu.title:                     <texture type>
menu.title.color:               <color>
menu.title.colorTo:             <color>
menu.title.font:                <font>
menu.title.pixmap:              <filename>
menu.title.textColor:           <color>
menu.title.justify:             <{Left|Right|Center}>
menu.titleHeight:               <integer>
menu.roundCorners:              <{Top|Bottom}{Left|Right}>
menu.selected.pixmap:           <filename>
menu.submenu.pixmap:            <filename>
menu.unselected.pixmap:         <filename>


Every style must specify the background option. If you don’t want your style to change the user’s background, then use ‘background: none’. The options ‘centered’, ‘aspect’, ‘tiled’, and ‘fullscreen’ require the ‘background.pixmap’ resource to contain a valid file name. The ‘random’ option requires ‘background.pixmap’ to contain a valid directory name. For these options, fluxbox(1) will call fbsetbg(1) to set the background. The options ‘gradient’, ‘solid’, and ‘mod’ all require ‘background.color’ to be set. ‘gradient’ and ‘mod’ both require ‘background.colorTo’. ‘mod’ requires ‘background.modX’ and ‘background.modY’ to be set as well. These options will be passed to fbsetroot(1) to set the background. The special option ‘unset’ is for use in user overlay files only. It specifies that fbsetbg should never be run (by default, even when ‘none’ is set in the overlay, fluxbox will try to run “fbsetbg -z” to restore the last wallpaper).

background: centered|aspect|tiled|fullscreen|random|solid|gradient <texture>|mod|none|unset
background.pixmap: <file or directory>
background.color: <color>
background.colorTo: <color>
background.modX: <integer>
background.modY: <integer>


Here are all of the options for the slit.

slit: <texture type>
slit.bevelWidth: <integer>
slit.borderColor: <color>
slit.borderWidth:               <integer>
slit.color:                     <color>
slit.colorTo:                   <color>
slit.pixmap:                    <filename>


Below you will find all of the configuration possibilities for the toolbar. The list is pretty extensive and offers you many options to make your toolbar look just the way you want it.

toolbar: <texture type>
toolbar.bevelWidth:             <integer (0-255)>
toolbar.borderColor:            <color>
toolbar.borderWidth:            <integer>
toolbar.button.scale:           <integer>
toolbar.color:                  <color>
toolbar.colorTo:                <color>
toolbar.clock:                  <texture type>
toolbar.clock.borderColor:      <color>
toolbar.clock.borderWidth:      <integer>
toolbar.clock.font:             <font>
toolbar.clock.justify:          <{Left|Right|Center}>
toolbar.clock.pixmap:           <filename>
toolbar.clock.color:            <color>
toolbar.clock.colorTo:          <color>
toolbar.clock.textColor:        <color>
toolbar.height:                 <integer>
toolbar.iconbar.focused:        <texture type>
toolbar.iconbar.focused.color:  <color>
toolbar.iconbar.focused.pixmap: <filename>
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused:      <texture type>
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.color:  <color>
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.colorTo: <color>
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.pixmap: <filename>
toolbar.iconbar.empty:          <texture type>
toolbar.iconbar.empty.color:    <color>
toolbar.iconbar.empty.colorTo:  <color>
toolbar.iconbar.empty.pixmap:   <filename>
toolbar.iconbar.focused.borderColor: <color>
toolbar.iconbar.focused.borderWidth:    <integer>
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.borderColor: <color>
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.borderWidth:  <integer>
toolbar.iconbar.borderColor:    <color>
toolbar.iconbar.borderWidth:    <integer>
toolbar.iconbar.focused.font:   <font>
toolbar.iconbar.focused.justify:        <{Left|Right|Center}>
toolbar.iconbar.focused.textColor: <color>
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.font: <font>
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.justify:      <{Left|Right|Center}>
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.textColor: <color>
toolbar.pixmap:                 <filename>
toolbar.shaped:                 <boolean>
toolbar.workspace.font:         <font>
toolbar.workspace.justify:      <{Left|Right|Center}>
toolbar.workspace.textColor:    <color>
toolbar.workspace:              <texture type>
toolbar.workspace.borderColor:  <color>
toolbar.workspace.borderWidth:  <integer>
toolbar.workspace.color:        <color>
toolbar.workspace.colorTo:      <color>
toolbar.workspace.pixmap:       <filename>


This list may seem intimidating, but remember, when you create your own style you can easily set a majority of these keys with a single component. For an example of this:

*color: slategrey
*colorTo:       darkslategrey
*unfocus.color: darkslategrey
*unfocus.colorTo:       black
*textColor:     white
*unfocus.textColor:     lightgrey
*font:  lucidasans-10

This sets nice defaults for many components.


These are the color formats for styles:

#000000 (Hexadecimal)

See /usr/share/X11/rgb.txt for an explanation.


Blackbox was written and maintained by Brad Hughes <blackbox at> and Jeff Raven <jraven at>.

fluxbox(1) is written and maintained by Henrik Kinnunen <fluxgen at> with contributions and patches merged from many individuals around the world.

The Official fluxbox(1) website: You can find a lot of styles here:

This manpage was composed from various resources including the official documentation, fluxbox(1) man page and numerous other resources by Curt "Asenchi" Micol. If you notice any errors or problems with this page, please contact him here: <asenchi at> and using the great contributions of <grubert at>. Numerous other languages could be available if someone jumps in.


fluxbox(1) fbsetbg(1) fbsetroot(1)