Setting a KDE Theme

People have wildly varying preferences in terms of the appearance of their desktops, menu buttons, and so on. Therefore, KDE ships with the ability to change the appearance of these elements. The simplest way to do this is to select a theme—an integrated set of desktop backgrounds, window manager borders, and so on. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Select K Menu O Control Center, K Menu O Configuration O Control Center, or a similar menu item to launch the KDE Control Center.

2. In the index list on the left of the Control Center, pick Appearance & Themes O Theme Manager or LookNFeel O Theme Manager. The result is the Theme Manager, as shown in Figure 6.5.

Figure 6.5: The KDE Theme Manager lets you select a set of appearance options for the desktop.

3. Select a theme from those appearing in the list near the middle of the window. For instance, Figure 6.5 shows the Nostalgy theme selected. You'll see a miniature preview of the theme to the right of the theme list.

4. Click Apply to see your theme applied.

5. Select File 0 Quit to exit from the Control Center.

Most distributions ship with just a handful of KDE themes. You can find many more on various websites, such as,, and To use a theme, download it and check the contents of the file. If it includes a file with a .ktheme extension, unpack it. If the archive has no such file but does have graphics files (with .jpg, .xpm, or other graphics file extensions) and a .themercfile, rename the tarball to use a .ktheme extension. You can then click the Add button in the KDE Theme Manager and locate the .ktheme file in the file browser. Your new theme should now appear in the list of themes, and you can select and use it. To make a theme available to all users, copy the .ktheme file to the /usr/share/apps/kthememgr/Themes directory. Some themes need to be compiled and installed like programs distributed as source code; follow the instructions in these themes' tarballs for details.

If you want to fine-tune your theme, you can do so by using various other KDE Control

Center options in the Appearance & Themes or LookNFeel area; specifically:

• The Background area lets you set a background image or use a solid or gradient color.

• The Colors area lets you control the colors of the drag bar, the interior colors for most Qt and some non-Qt applications, and so on.

• The Style area controls the appearance of various Qt widgets—buttons, tabs, sliders, and so on. These changes affect only Qt-derived applications.

• The Window Decorations area sets the appearance of the window borders and title bars.

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