Emacs: Set Color Theme

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Here's how to set emacs to use color themes. (new in Emacs 24 (released 2012-06))

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, Alt+x 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 27.1 themes (as of 2021-09-24).

2012-10-11 Thanks to • Gabriel Saldaña [[2018-11-01 https://twitter.com/gabrielsaldana ]] • Torsten Wagner [https://plus.google.com/b/113859563190964307534/102520135125330850042/posts] • Steve Purcell [[2014-01-18 https://github.com/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 color names.

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

(if (display-graphic-p)
    (setq initial-frame-alist
            (tool-bar-lines . 0)
            (width . 106)
            (height . 60)
            (background-color . "honeydew")
            (left . 50)
            (top . 50)))
  (setq initial-frame-alist '( (tool-bar-lines . 0))))

(setq default-frame-alist initial-frame-alist)

(info "(elisp) Frame Parameters")

[see Emacs: Set Default Window Size]

[see Emacs: Font Setup]

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.

Spent a few hours here?

Emacs Tutorial

Emacs Init

Emacs Keys

Elisp Basics

Elisp Examples

Elisp Advanced

Elisp Write Major Mode

Emacs Init

Init Basics


text editing