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16.12 X11 Colors

You can specify colors when you use Emacs with the MIT X Windowing system.

I dislike the default colors and specify my own.

Here are the expressions in my .emacs file that set values:

     ;; Set cursor color
     (set-cursor-color "white")
     
     ;; Set mouse color
     (set-mouse-color "white")
     
     ;; Set foreground and background
     (set-foreground-color "white")
     (set-background-color "darkblue")
     
     ;;; Set highlighting colors for isearch and drag
     (set-face-foreground 'highlight "white")
     (set-face-background 'highlight "blue")
     
     (set-face-foreground 'region "cyan")
     (set-face-background 'region "blue")
     
     (set-face-foreground 'secondary-selection "skyblue")
     (set-face-background 'secondary-selection "darkblue")
     
     ;; Set calendar highlighting colors
     (add-hook 'calendar-load-hook
           (lambda ()
             (set-face-foreground 'diary-face   "skyblue")
             (set-face-background 'holiday-face "slate blue")
             (set-face-foreground 'holiday-face "white")))

The various shades of blue soothe my eye and prevent me from seeing the screen flicker.

Alternatively, I could have set my specifications in various X initialization files. For example, I could set the foreground, background, cursor, and pointer (i.e., mouse) colors in my ~/.Xresources file like this:

     Emacs*foreground:   white
     Emacs*background:   darkblue
     Emacs*cursorColor:  white
     Emacs*pointerColor: white

In any event, since it is not part of Emacs, I set the root color of my X window in my ~/.xinitrc file, like this1:

     xsetroot -solid Navy -fg white &

Footnotes

[1] I also run more modern window managers, such as Enlightenment, Gnome, or KDE; in those cases, I often specify an image rather than a plain color.