The Greybird theme for GTK2/3 and xfwm4/emerald/metacity/mutter started out on the basis of Bluebird, but aims at reworking the pale blue color to a modern and vibrant blue that will be more pleasant to look at in everyday use.

Screenshot reel

  • Greybird in Xubuntu Natty

    Greybird in Xubuntu Natty

  • A bit older Greybird screenshot

    A bit older Greybird screenshot


Greybird is a lot more modern and feature-rich than Bluebird was in Xubuntu Maverick. Amongst other things it sports

  • Full GTK3 support
  • Native Chrome/ium theming (for >= v.9.0.597)
  • Application specific theming for Thunar and xfce4-terminal
  • Other xfce elements like panel and the application switcher
  • Panel plugins, including special theming support for Ubuntu’s indicators
  • Firefox and LibreOffice support
  • Compiz/Gnome support (emerald, metacity and mutter themes)
  • High accessibility and readability


For Xubuntu Oneiric Ocelot (11.10) we added support for both emerald and metacity to serve those who like the *zing* and *bling* of compiz in xfce. We also added full support for GTK3 and used the heir of the legendary murrine-engine to closely match the GTK2 theme: the unico-engine (developed by Canonical’s Andrea Cimitan).

Later, we dropped the unico-engine in favour of the built-in theme engine in GTK3, trying to make the both GTK2 and GTK3 themes resemble each other as closely as possible. The theme has gotten a major overhaul with brighter and more modern colors. The latest version also supports Client Side Decorations. A mutter theme is also provided for anti-aliased window corners if you want to use another window manager such as mutter, gala or muffin. Support for granite-widgets was also added, improving the way elementary apps look with Greybird.

One thing we plan to work on is more application specific theming, e.g. Ristretto (image viewer) and Parole (media player). Another specifically supported application area might be our gmusicbrowser layouts. Our initial tests for this were promising, but GTK3 theming just ate up too much time in the Oneiric release cycle so this’ll have to stay on the todo-list for now.

Comments and pingbacks for Greybird

  • Xubuntu - Xubuntu 11.04 sử dụng Greybird làm theme mặc định | Yêu Máy Tính, February 21, 2011 02:45

    [...] Thực tế thì các viền cửa sổ trong có vẻ giống Elementary nhưng sắp tới chắc chắn sẽ khác. Hơn nữa, có rất nhiều giao diện Elements đang được thiết kế lại và cải thiện khác xa so với bản gốc rất nhiều đặc biệt là các theme sử dụng trên notebook. Theme này sử dụng màu xám làm màu chủ đạo. Bạn có thể tải về từ link phía dưới Trang chủ | Tải về [...]

  • Easier menu and panel editing in Xubuntu 11.04 « It's free., May 10, 2011 13:42

    [...] 11.04 is shipped with the Greybird theme by the Shimmer Project as well as a wallpaper created by the Shimmer [...]

  • Fedora 15 XFCE Spin « Jumping Linux distributions, June 18, 2011 15:56

    [...] my desktop. I ended up with using my standard icon theme, Aw0ken Icon Theme by alecive, and Greybird theme by The Shimmer Project (yes, it is the default Xubuntu theme, and yes, I like it). Unfortunately, [...]

  • Pasi Lallinaho, June 20, 2011 16:57

    This is a comment for the Greybird project. Wooot! :)

  • rekik, July 4, 2011 11:06

    Great theme, I use Greybird on my two PC’s (Xubuntu 11.04 and Linux Mint9-xfce).
    I use compact xfwm4 decoration for space saving and noticied that roll-up icon is slightly too tall. Here is a screenshot:

  • Simon Steinbeiß, July 4, 2011 11:12

    hey rekik, thanks for the praise.
    yes, sorry, that’s a known issue. i started the compact xfwm4 a while ago but it’s still unfinished – hence the roll-up button that is too tall. i’ll see whether i can fix it sometime soon.
    if you want to be notified about this, it’s possibly best to watch our github repo.

  • David Sugar, July 8, 2011 13:04

    For me the one issue I have disliked in this theme is that the scrollbars appear very differently depending on the application running. They are very different if one is using chrome browser (a default scrollbar unrounded), the xfce terminal app (ugly black borders in the scrollbar), vs most other gtk apps (the tiny curved ones that are part of the theme).

  • Simon Steinbeiß, July 8, 2011 13:19

    Hm, that’s a very specific issue, the terminal is like that on purpose (to make the scrollbars blend in with the – usually – black terminal background), Chromium’s scrollbars are simply not yet gtk-themeable, so there’s not much I can do about that.
    If you dislike the terminal-style the easy thing is to just comment the “include Apps/terminal.rc” at the end of the gtkrc file, then they’ll look like everywhere else.

  • David Sugar, July 8, 2011 17:53

    Simon, I had experimented at one point in the theme by with changing the scrollbars of greybird to appear something closer to what google chrome would like, and with a few changes chrome is actually also partially themable for scrollbars, at least for colors and scroll handles, so it is possible to match both up pretty close, though obviously that result is “not” greybird as was intended.

    Since I always had preferred black text on white background for my terminals, I did not realize why that was explicitly being done. Yes, that makes perfect sense to me now as to why. Of course greybird is being used as a kind of “dark” theme, with dark menus, a dark panel, etc, so I guess it makes sense most users would choose a dark terminal also. Killing apps/terminal.rc is simple enough to do. And otherwise it is a lovely theme.

  • David Sugar, July 8, 2011 20:48

    Now that I have had a chance to look at it, there are a couple of interesting issues that stand out for me, at least in thunderbird, which happens to be an application I do spend a lot of time with. There is some oddity with the scrollbar borders that make those scrollbars look a bit odd and different from other apps, too. The currently selected and active “tab” is in a slightly highlighted color that does not matches the rest of the window it is in theory attached to as it has a hard color transition. And the header “buttons” (for subject, from, date) are all drawn in something based on white instead of the greyish background, and so they don’t seem to fit in at all.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, July 11, 2011 09:03

    Hey again,
    thunderbird (as you might now already anyway) uses XUL-based scrollbars, so if gtk-theming fails, there’s little I can do about it.
    Having said that, the next version of greybird is underway (incl. new scrollbar-style), you can check it out in the current git master (in our github repo). The general intention was to make it feel lighter, more “airy” and to reduce a few contrasts (e.g. the base color isn’t pure white #FFF anymore, therefore I also had to change the scrollbar-style).

    Also, if you have problems like the ones you described above it would be helpful if you could post screenshots (or at least version numbers of the programmes you’re using) so I can *see* what’s happening ;)
    Thanks again for you interest!

  • Brian, July 21, 2011 02:19


    Great themes, especially for the xfce interface. one thing though, I’m noticing in both greybird and blue bird that lines cross numbers in the number fields


    This happens to other fields as well.

    Is their anything we can do to fix this?


  • Simon Steinbeiß, July 21, 2011 02:27

    thanks for noticing. i’ll have a look whether i can fix it (at least other murrine themes don’t seem to have that problem).

  • Brian, July 21, 2011 03:40

    Ok Great!

    Keep us posted :-)

  • Simon Steinbeiß, July 22, 2011 14:12

    @Brian: fixed in git

  • Brian, July 23, 2011 03:36

    Ah ! Looks like it was fixed. Thanks! Great Job Simon! Was this fix applied to bluebird as well?

  • Brian, July 23, 2011 03:41

    Nevermind Simon! Looks like it was fixed with bluebird too!


  • Brian, July 23, 2011 05:58

    Ah, Im sorry if If this is a dumb question, but how do you go about updating xubuntu’s greybird theme? I originally tried the theme out in linux mint to check the fixes. I went back to installing xubuntu and tried the following:

    git clone git://

    but im not sure if this updates the theme or not?

  • Simon Steinbeiß, July 24, 2011 02:07

    yes, i applied the same fix to greybird and bluebird.

    if you want to use the theme from git, you can either directly clone (and after the first clone, use “git pull”, “clone” is only the initial command to locally mirror the upstream/remote repository, you can also use a combination of fetch and merge, but i guess pull is easier and more straightforward) to the user theme-directory (e.g. ~/.themes/greybird – this is only used for the user, not for superuser-applications like synaptic).

    alternatively you can also store the git-repo somewhere else on your computer and after each pull do something like “sudo cp -R greybird /usr/share/themes/”. whatever method works best for you.

  • Brian, July 24, 2011 23:12

    Got it! .. lol I ended up just replacing the themes folders with what were in the updated files… this worked!

    But the ~/.themes/greybird directory find helped out a lot!

    haha thanks again Simon.

    I’m hoping these updates make it the next release of xubuntu?

  • Simon Steinbeiß, July 24, 2011 23:24

    good to hear you managed :)

    yeah, these updates will definitely arrive in xubuntu oneiric. we’re hoping to put together a ppa that will provide nearly git-status of the themes, but for several reasons (mostly: it’s summer) we haven’t managed yet.

    a few things are still quite up to discussion, e.g. the scrollbar-style. but also the gtk3 port will most likely trigger some changes, as i’d like the gtk2 and gtk3 theme to resemble each other very closely. (right now there’s still too much development/movement in gtk3 and unico to really start diving into it. at least imo.)

  • juanito, August 3, 2011 21:33

    I really *love* this theme.
    One matter though : is there any way possible to make use of the top right corner pixel ?

    (take a maximized window, try to close it. This pixel is one of the 5 “magix pixel” that should not be overlooked when creating UI, but I just can’t find how to tweak that in xfce)

  • Simon Steinbeiß, August 4, 2011 08:32

    hey juanito,
    thanks for your comment, i just tried what you described (maximized a window, moved the mouse to the right-top corner and clicked) and that worked for me (as in: closed the window). or did you mean something else?

    i agree that this is an important part of a window-manager-theme because it greatly eases closing windows with the mouse.

  • Stephen, August 13, 2011 08:28

    just went searching for a ppa for updated versions of this theme om 11.04, but found this page saying one is “on the way”… i hope you’ll get a ppa up soon! ;)

    thanks for all the work on this great theme!

  • Simon Steinbeiß, September 5, 2011 16:03

    hey stephen,
    thanks for the laud :)
    the ppa is up and running and you can install the git-version of greybird from there. the theme will be called greybird-git though to avoid conflicts. that way you can also easily check out the differences between your latest version and git.

  • mips, September 6, 2011 20:38

    I’m a big fan of Orta (now uninstalled) but I like this theme more, really slick!

    Where can I get a firefox/iceweasel theme to match this from (using debian and installed from your ppa)?

  • Simon Steinbeiß, September 6, 2011 21:55

    hey mips,
    we never created a firefox/iceweasel theme because they (kinda) respect/inherit gtk-themes anyway, so it seemed there was no need.
    what exactly are you missing or how does iceweasel look in your debian installation (screenshot?) and what is wrong with it.

    and thanks for your comment. there are a few things i really liked about orta, but the fact that it’s a pixmap theme made me walk away from it (pixmap themes tend to be rather heavy and slow).

  • mips, September 7, 2011 10:54

    Hi Simon,

    Nothing wrong with it, just thought there might be a theme. I know scorllbars not matching are related to ff & chromium doing their own thing. So ignore my previous ramblings on a ff theme.

    Another question, is it possible not to have rounded title bar corners at the top, I’m a square sort of person :)

    Thanks again for a lovely theme!

  • Simon Steinbeiß, September 7, 2011 11:12

    righty :) about ff: scrollbars (and most other things) *should* work there. for chromium i included some gtk-stuff that should add basic theming. but yeah, chromium has its own scrollbars…

    i’m afraid you’d have to edit the xfwm theme directly, there are eight files you’d have to modify, called “top-*” (top-left*, top-right*). i can reconsider doing a more edgy version of the theme, but taking into consideration that there’s already a compact version of the theme, i’m not sure it makes too much sense to do yet another iteration :)
    (if there are more requests for it, i can do it though, it’s not like it’s an awful lot of work.)

    if you manage to do that modifcation well enough feel free to send it to me. i can then review it and include it in our git-repo and debian package (with a reference to you obviously).

  • timo, September 19, 2011 15:14

    I switched from Xubuntu to Mit and now I am trying to get it to work in LMDE using xfce but it will not happen. Any suggestions as to how I should go about that?

  • Danilo Sanchez, September 20, 2011 15:56

    To install greybird on LMDE or Debian just update your murrine engine.
    After that, extract the theme in /usr/share/themes.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, September 20, 2011 16:13

    @timo: sorry for not replying earlier, something didn’t work out in the wp-direct-reply thingy.
    @danilo: thanks for answering ;)

  • Danilo Sanchez, September 27, 2011 19:53

    There will be a GTK3 version of Bluebird?

  • haxck, October 1, 2011 08:58

    Is Albatross theme still updated?
    Right now I’m using greybird it’s very nice!

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 3, 2011 08:17

    yes, we have started to update albatross, but at the moment we were rather busy porting greybird to gtk3 in timr for xubuntu oneiric.
    so i guess you can expect something new for albatross during the next cycle, as maintenance of greybird won’t be as high as during the last 6 months.

  • Alez, October 3, 2011 19:03

    Congratulations on the new version of Greybird. Tested it on Archlinux with the AUR package (which gets it from git) and have to say you again managed to get the best even better! Thank you!

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 3, 2011 23:52

    Thanks a lot – always very nice to get this kind of feedback!

  • Danilo Sanchez, October 4, 2011 14:15

    I just install the new version of Greybird in Xubuntu 11.04 and it is amazing! Even better than the first version.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 5, 2011 10:55


  • Yury V. Zaytsev, October 14, 2011 17:09

    Hey Simon,

    The Greybird theme is just amazing. I am a Gnome 3 / Unity refugee and now looking at XFCE, but I’d like to keep on using most Gnome apps, so unified GTK2/3 theme is a must.

    I only wish you had a dark version of your theme as well. I am very used to Shiki Colors and love it, but it’s GTK2 only and has since been abandoned, so I guess no chance seeing anything like that for GTK3. And I guess it needs a face lift anyways. So if only your theme, which I also quite appreciate had a dark variation…


  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 14, 2011 20:27

    hey yury,
    thanks for your kind words. i just finished the gtk3-version of the theme in time for xubuntu oneiric, didn’t have any extra time for the dark version. but i’ll look into it soon, i guess it’s even higher on my list than porting the other shimmer-themes (albatross, bluebird) to gtk3, mostly because that’d be a lot more work ;)

    i’ll upgrade my work-maching to oneiric these days, then i guess i’ll get into that.
    all the best,

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 14, 2011 20:31

    what i forgot to mention before: the dark version won’t affect the window-borders, because xfwm4/xfce doesn’t support gtk3 yet. so i guess it won’t look like you’d expect from gnome (in fact another reason why i postponed this task).

  • Markus Riemer, October 17, 2011 19:23


    I also like greybird very much.
    A full dark version will be very nice, because i love the darkness of my crunchbang-linux-boxes. :)

    Thank you

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 18, 2011 00:32

    hi markus, thanks for your comment.
    we’ll see about the completely dark version. i started with “blackbird” a while ago, but i’m not sure how much time i’ll have for that project in the near future.

    what yury meant was something different though, he was referring to applying dark visual styles to certain apps (a design-choice in gtk3).

  • Alez, October 18, 2011 12:12

    Hi, it’s me again, feel free to tell me if i talk too much :)
    I recently switched to Xubuntu and find that the Greybird theme doesn’t look ok in a java app, raptor chess. I think it’s not the theme, but the engine on Ubuntu repo which is at fault here but the tips are completely black, something that didn’t happen with the same version of the theme in Archlinux. Any ideas about how to fix it?


  • Alez, October 18, 2011 12:15

    Notice the difference with Flow-Element theme, a theme which looks a bit like Greybird.

    I would really appreciate some help.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 18, 2011 14:37

    Hi again,
    no problem, I’ll let you know when it’s too much ;)
    But seriously, some things are more easily discussed on IRC, it makes this a lot less back and forth posting.

    Hm, I’m not sure what the problem is, to be entirely honest I haven’t used/tested Java apps in Ubuntu lately. Furthermore this doesn’t look like a regular tooltip – or should it be gtk3 stuff?
    All in all I’m not entirely convinced that this is entirely greybird’s fault, seems the Java app doesn’t pick the white fg-color for tooltips. At the moment I’m rather busy with other stuff, can’t promise when I’d get to debug/reproduce that problem. But feel free to check in either here or in IRC again and remind me.

  • Bruno, October 20, 2011 10:37

    I just installed Xubuntu, and I love the theme that greeted me :) Looking forward to the dark version of this.

  • Alez, October 20, 2011 14:59

    Hi, for the tooltip problem with Greybird it was on the app’s fault and I more or less solved it with the dev’s help. Thank you very much!

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 20, 2011 17:35

    ok, pleased to hear. actually there is another tooltip issue with gajim (, but unfortunately i’ve never really used that application so it’s difficult to debug…

  • Zilong WU, October 21, 2011 02:58

    Great theme! Working perfectly on lubuntu + compiz, and the gtk+ 3 app also have the same looking as 2.x apps.
    One question, there is slight shadow around the buttons and looks not very consistent with the menu bar and scroll bar. I’m not a professional guy and just telling you my feelings.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 21, 2011 08:26

    hey, thanks! good to hear that it works well with lubuntu as well :)
    the button-shadows are intended. at first i had no shadows in the gtk3 version (didn’t know how to do them) but that looked really flat and the buttons didn’t stand out enough anymore. so it’s probably not just a design decision but also a question of accessibility – of being able to spot the buttons more easily.

    if you can come up with a nice alternative design feel free to send it to me. in general i accept patches.

  • Darren Jones, November 3, 2011 23:53

    Hi Simon,

    I’ve made some ‘Greybird’ icons that sit on top of the default Xubuntu icons and give the icons a monochrome grey look. I was wondering if you would mind having a look and giving some feedback?



  • Simon Steinbeiß, November 4, 2011 00:00

    Hi DAZ,

    no, wouldn’t mind at all. You can either email them or if you’re on irc join #shimmer and we can discuss them there.


  • Darren Jones, November 6, 2011 17:28

    Cheers Simon,

    You can get the the icons here:

    I tried going #shimmer on irc, but it was empty, when is the best time to try?



  • Simon Steinbeiß, November 6, 2011 17:50

    Hey Darren,
    you were there for a mere minute (17:54-55) ;)
    And yeah, I was logged in, but marked as “away”, but I read my backlog when I’m online.
    Anyway, feel free to check in there some time soon again.

    I just looked at your icons. I’m wondering whether that’d make the desktop look too grey.
    By the way, Pasi and me were considering starting an icon-theme project, so if you’re up to it we could discuss it some day,

  • Darren Jones, November 6, 2011 18:28

    Hi Simon,

    Sorry about that – I’m not used to using irc, I was using a mibbit on the web which said I was connected, but clearly I wasn’t! I’m trying again using pidgin. I’m not sure what to do, do I just write stuff, even if there is no answer?

    I think Elementary icons are generally great, but wanted the icons that make up the gtk actions to have a more monochrome feel that fitted in with Greybird more. Do you have any suggestions for what they could be, a bit darker maybe?

    I’d be interested in discussing an icon theme any time.

    Thanks again,


  • Rekik, November 16, 2011 12:24

    Hi Simon,

    In the ALT-TAB applications switcher, I feel that the square around the active application is not sufficiently visible as it miss contrast against the background. Can this be improved ?

    I hope my english is understandable :(

  • Simon Steinbeiß, November 16, 2011 12:52

    Hi Rekik,
    yeah, I see what you mean. I guess I can try to improve the visibility of that a bit (never had complaints about it up to now, so I didn’t bother too much).
    Thanks for your feedback!

  • James Cole, November 16, 2011 22:53

    I love this theme, but I wish the menubar wasn’t messed up in Java programs like Eclipse and Netbeans.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, November 17, 2011 07:16

    Hey James,
    as a fellow Netbeans user I feel with you. I’m not entirely sure why it doesn’t work, but I’m not 100% sure it’s Greybird’s fault – Netbeans always looks like a Java/Swing-application here, no matter what theme I use.
    (And yes, I modified /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk/jre/lib/ accordingly.)
    If you come across the solution let me know!

  • James Cole, November 28, 2011 21:07

    @ Simon Steinbeiß
    Yeah the file only works for some Java apps, a lot of them override the setting themselves and you have to do it manually within the app or on the startup command line for those apps.

    For netbeans, look for netbeans.conf and add the following to the end of the netbeans_default_options line (before the closing quote of course): –laf
    Once you’ve done that, netbeans will use the GTK look and feel, and most of the time it’s pretty good, but unfortunately my favorite them, greybird, makes the menubar stay white text instead of black like all other gtk apps :-/

  • hector, December 8, 2011 02:19

    Nice work, I like this theme and I use it now, but… I recently using greybird on gnome, when I select a file or a word or line in apps of gnome I don’t see the background color of selected item, or is white I think, so I don’t know if the file is selected or not; apps who use gtk3 have this issue (nautilus, gedit, evolution for example).

    I’m using fedora 16, gtk-unico-engine version 1.0.1.

    *Sorry for my english.

    Again, great work.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, December 10, 2011 10:41

    Hi hector,
    Thanks a lot for your feedback!
    About the bug: I fixed that in git a few days ago ( Please test again with the latest version and let me know whether that really resolves the bug in all those gnome-apps (only tested it with gedit so far).

  • Jerome, December 14, 2011 14:41


    Quick message to say thanks for the greybird theme. I’m using Xfce and it’s hard to find nice gtk2/gtk3 themes.

    One thing that bothered me : it was really hard to grab-resize the windows from the bottom. See :

    “The Window bottom grab bar is made up of bottom-active.xpm and bottom-inactive.xpm pixmaps which will be repeated to fit as the window is resized.
    N.B These pixmaps also make up the mouse grab handles so keep that in mind when deciding how many pixels wide they should be (particularly the bottom-left and bottom right pixmaps which make up the main resize handles on the windows).”

    I guess you know that, and I suppose it’s rather a choice than a bug, but that’s my feedback anyway. In case it could be useful to someone, I copied the bottom-*.xpm from another theme (namely aguamelon) and now I have a bottom bar I can grab.

    I also added show_app_icon=true to have the applicaiton icon top left of the window.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, December 14, 2011 15:21

    Hi Jerome,
    indeed, that’s a design decision. I personally like the thin borders a lot more and there are enough (easy, accessible) ways to resize a window – many of them are in fact nicer to use imo than the window-border (unless someone implements a “dragging-area” that is larger than the actual window-border in xfwm).

    1) Use the keyboard-shortcut Alt+F1 (at least I think that’s the default, but you can set it in the window-manager > keyboard settings) to initiate resize.
    2) Use Alt+Rightclick to resize a window.
    3) Use the resize-grip (I know, only Ubuntu has patched Gtk2 so that it appears in every window) or the two top-corners of the window to resize.

    To me these 3 options seemed sufficient to skim down the border for a more pleasant visual appearance.

    About the app-icon, yeah, unfortunately it’s not as configurable as I’d like it to be (i.e. drag-and-drop like the other window-buttons). That’d be a nice improvement for xfwm4 though and might be wort a feature-request on

    Otherwise thanks for stopping by!

  • Jerome, December 14, 2011 16:19

    I agree that thin (invisible ?) borders look neat. Yet, a little border at the bottom doesn’t hurt the eye either. That’s just a matter of taste anyway. In both cases, a larger dragging area would be a great improvement.

    Resize is Alt+F8 here. Maybe I changed it. I didn’t know about Alt+Rightclick either, this is a great one. Thanks ! Anyway, I’ll probably keep the bottom bar : it allows me to resize with only one hand in case of lazyness and it’ll avoid me complaints from people using my computer. (I don’t have gtk2 resize grip, I’m on debian. Otherwise it would fit my need : I don’t need the bottom left grip.)

    I don’t understand the app-icon issue you’re talking about. (And therefore I can’t add that feature request.)

    Thanks for your answer, particularly for the Alt+Rightclick tip !

  • Simon Steinbeiß, December 14, 2011 16:28

    Right :)
    What I meant with the app-icon is that at the moment you can reorder the buttons in the window-manager-settings, but you can’t choose between the menu-button or the app-icon there, you have to do that in the xfwm4-theme-file. It might be nice to be able to choose there, but then again I can see why xfce-devs would probably not spend their time coding that in…

  • Jerome, December 14, 2011 16:43

    Hmmm, ok, I get it.

    Well, a lot more settings are not configurable and are theme specified (border widths…). This one is not the worse (and not the most difficult to tweat manually).

    Perhaps a checkbox could be added in the window-manager-settings, under the drag’n drop area, to replace the app-icon theme setting.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, December 14, 2011 16:48

    Border-width is hard to configure by a setting, because it’s based on a pixmap.
    But yeah, exactly why I was thinking that it might be overkill to add yet another button/setting to the settings-manager.

  • kholis, December 21, 2011 10:29

    Hi, Simon. Thank you for creating this awesome theme.

    I found several gtk3 applications have different (darker) background toolbar than other. Such as Evince, File Roller and Simple Scan. While other gtk3 apps such gedit show right color.

    Any clue?

  • Simon Steinbeiß, December 21, 2011 13:06

    Hi Kholis,
    you seem to be using an older version of Greybird, please check with the version in github, it’s a lot more mature and glitches like this one are now fixed.

  • kholis, December 22, 2011 03:23

    Thanks simon. I had greybird default version from Xubuntu 11.10 on my machine. One I grab the latest version in github, these bug are fix. But some gtk3 widget comes bigger now, such as menu item, combobox.

    Another example:
    - old greybird
    - latest greybird

    I don’t want this theme to be like adwaita, which wasting too much space :p

    Sorry for too much complaining.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, December 22, 2011 10:23

    Hey Kholis,

    thanks for taking a close look. Yeah, I agree, the buttons should be less fat, currently the padding isn’t set, so it uses whatever is gtk3′s default (or the engine default). I have started playing a bit with it, but haven’t found a good solution yet (i don’t want to make all buttons extra-slim, so it has to be matched to the correct widgets).

    If I don’t forget I’ll reply here as soon as it’s fixed (otherwise please monitor github).

  • Kenneth, January 2, 2012 17:27

    Awesomenesss theme really beautiful…..

  • Kenneth, January 2, 2012 17:27

    you can try to make a compact version :D

  • Pasi Lallinaho, January 2, 2012 18:19

    Kenneth, there already is a compact version under the name greybird-compat.

  • Kenneth, January 2, 2012 18:31

    Wow 0.0 that was fast :D

    Can you tell me please how to install it in xubuntu 11.10 ;D

  • hector, January 3, 2012 02:33


    Me again (hector, December 8, 2011 02:19 ); everything’s alright now!,
    no problem with nautilus, gedit, evolution or another gtk3 app; looks well the theme at the moment.

    Thanks. Saludos amigo!

  • Simon Steinbeiß, January 3, 2012 07:38

    Hi Hector,
    thanks for your feedback! If you come across any issues again feel free to post.

  • Tomas, January 4, 2012 19:48

    Hello Simon,

    very nice theme, it really makes xubuntu 11.10 look great.

    I’d like to ask how would I tweak it to change the text color from dark gray to black (I like the text to have a bit more contrast). For example,

    Thanks in adavnce.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, January 4, 2012 20:47

    you can easily change the colors in gtk-2.0/gtkrc and also in gtk-3.0/gtk.css and gtk-3.0/settings.ini

  • vasa1, August 9, 2012 12:05

    I’ve been using Greybird (extracted from shimmerproject-Greybird-v0.9-1-g79a114c.tar.gz) for a couple of days with Xfce 4.10 from and my OS is Ubuntu 12.04 fully updated. I know you’re targeting QQ!

    I notice that the gtkrc file lacks a section on overlay scrollbars. Is that intentional? I’ve written about how I got around it here:

    I’ve been tweaking your theme to remove all traces of white as far as possible and I’ve been quite successful. The only thing I couldn’t do is to darken the titlebar region. In the Ubuntu Forums thread I referenced, Toz suggested that I’d have to edit individual images in the xfwm4 folder and that’s a bridge to far for me. So, for the titlebar, I’m using the “Default” that comes with my Xfce 4.10.

    Thanks for a great theme :)

  • Peter, August 17, 2012 18:35

    Hi, just installed XFCE 4.10 on my Ubuntu (Precise). I really love the Greybird theme, but in firefox the autocompletion/suggestions from the adressbar and the searchbar appear white on white, so I have to hover the mouse over them to read them. Example:

  • Simon Steinbeiß, August 21, 2012 12:47

    Hi Peter,
    sorry, I can’t reproduce your problem at all. Would you mind filing a bugreport about this and adding some additional information? (Version of Greybird, Firefox etc.)
    Thanks in advance!

  • vasa1, August 21, 2012 19:04

    Hi, just trying out the latest version :)
    One request, if possible. Could you see if the tab in focus in gedit can be made to stand out a bit more? The differences are currently a bit subtle (#c9c9c9 versus #d9d9d9). Alternatively, could you explain how I could do it myself by editing gtk-widgets.css (or whatever else is appropriate)?
    Adwaita has a nice way to mark the tab in focus by means of a horizontal blue bar at the top of the tab in focus but their secret is hidden in a binary :(

  • vasa1, August 22, 2012 04:06

    Okay, this is embarrassing. Greybird **already** has a nice way to distinguish tabs in gedit: the height of inactive tabs is less than that of the active tab. I was so obsessed with colors and it was past my bedtime that I didn’t notice.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, August 22, 2012 08:57

    No worries, in fact I’m working to improve the Gtk3 tab-situation. For some reason this is the widget that we couldn’t get to match Gtk2 well enough, that’s the price you pay for using only CSS and no engine…

  • vasa1, August 26, 2012 04:28

    I won’t pretend to understand the intricacies of engines and gtk2 v/s gtk3 but I fiddled a bit with this section in gtk-widgets.css starting with line 998 (latest Greybird via ppa):

    .notebook tab:active {
    background-image: -gtk-gradient (linear, left top, left bottom,
    from (shade (@theme_bg_color, 1.05)),
    to (shade (@theme_bg_color, 1.05)));
    border-color: shade (@theme_bg_color, 0.8);

    I changed the last line to use just @theme_fg_color. Now the active tab has a visible border on the left, top, and right. My bg_color is #777777 and my fg_color is #a2e5fb.

    .notebook tab:active {
    background-image: -gtk-gradient (linear, left top, left bottom,
    from (shade (@theme_bg_color, 1.05)),
    to (shade (@theme_bg_color, 1.05)));
    border-color: @theme_fg_color;

    Works nicely for gedit and gnome-terminal.

  • vasa1, August 27, 2012 04:57

    In the latest gtkrc, in the section titled “engine “murrine” “, line 143 has “reliefstyle = 3″ but the comments to the right have explanations for only 0, 1, and 2.

    (If this is the wrong place to make such comments, where would be more appropriate?)

  • Simon Steinbeiß, August 27, 2012 08:20

    It’s not totally wrong to make such comments here, but ideally you could either report a bug (on launchpad or on github) or get in touch with me via IRC.
    The code comments aren’t fully comprehensive as to murrine’s options. For a list that would complement the comments in the code (and also explain the option you’re referring to) look here:


  • vasa1, August 27, 2012 11:25

    Okay, I dug out my github details. I somehow don’t much like IRC perhaps because I don’t know how to use it properly.

    The other point is about suggestions as opposed to bugs. Would those also be okay @ github?

    And thanks for the link.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, August 27, 2012 11:38

    Suggestions can be filed as bugreports as well as they can be marked as “Opinion” or “Wishlist” on launchpad.

    Github is less formal in that sense, but yeah, we can discuss things there too.

  • vasa1, September 13, 2012 06:51

    I thought I posted already but don’t see my post here. So I’m doing it again.
    This is with regards to the latest commits. After today’s update I see the first one, the newer one, but not the second.

    I see this:

    Fix tooltip-style with newer version of murrine-engine
    in my /usr/share/themes/greybird-git/gtk-2.0/gtkrc

    but not this:

    Fixed inline-toolbar in Ubiquity
    in my /usr/share/themes/greybird-git/gtk-3.0/gtk-widgets.css

  • Pasi Lallinaho, September 13, 2012 10:54


    your earlier comment was still in the moderation (we don’t want spammers to spam). From now on, you should be able to post new comments without moderation with the same email address.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, September 13, 2012 10:56

    Hey vasa1,
    sorry but I really have no clue what you mean. You pulled the latest changes from git and now you don’t find the changes on your local drive?
    Please elaborate! :)

  • vasa1, September 13, 2012 11:43

    I have the ppa and an update was made this morning. After that, I went to github to see what the update was about. There were two: one from you and one from Satya. Yours related to gtkrc. When I opened my gtkrc, I could see the change.

    My confusion is with the second one. When I open the file I mention (gtk-widgets.css), I don’t see anything resembling the code decribed in the commit. I also don’t see anything related to Ubiquity. So am I looking in the wrong place?

  • Simon Steinbeiß, September 13, 2012 11:50

    I’m not sure you’re looking close enough, at least judging from the diff the commit is there:

    (Search for “+ border-color: shade(@theme_bg_color, 0.8);”)

  • vasa1, September 13, 2012 13:13

    Okay, I see it now. All is well. Sorry for the trouble.

  • Mike, September 20, 2012 20:22

    Hi Simon,

    Love the theme, it looks amazing Just installed this on Fedora 17 and the XFCE menus are still in their original grey color (rather than black). I assume I’ve made some kind of noob mistake, and ideas?


  • Simon Steinbeiß, September 20, 2012 20:31

    Hey Mike,
    Glad to hear you like it!
    I don’t know what version of Greybird you installed, but we switched to bright menus quite a while ago.
    Before they were dark-grey, not really black.

  • Mike, September 20, 2012 22:29


    Thanks for the response. I first installed the theme using yum, so I assume it’s in the fedora repo. I then removed that version and downloaded and extracted the tar on this page to /usr/share/themes. Is that right? This is the first theme I’ve ever installed so I may well have missed something. Whichever method I use still leaves me with the light grey menus.



  • Simon Steinbeiß, September 20, 2012 22:38

    Hi again,
    well yes, as I said, the light menus are intentional. The “light grey” is #f4f4f4, so almost white.
    If you want dark menus you either have to modify the menu code in the gtk2 and gtk3 version or go back to an earlier version of greybird, the last one that featured dark menus was 0.8.2 (download it here:
    However, this version isn’t really maintained (=no more bugfixes) anymore, because we decided to use the default gtk3 engine instead of the unico-engine.

  • Mike, September 20, 2012 22:43

    Sorry, I misread your earlier comment! I’ll stick with the latest version. Thanks.

  • Trevor, September 27, 2012 04:17

    Thanks for your beautiful theme. I am currently using it in Ubuntu 12.10 beta and am loving it!.
    I just wanted to let you know I have created an icon theme using a mix of faenza monochrome toolbars icon and elementary with greybird in mind. You can check it out at
    Keep up the great work.
    Cheers Trev.

  • vasa1, October 6, 2012 03:44

    Greybird’s chromium.rc currently looks like this:

    # Google Chrome/Chromium theming (requires 9.0.597 or newer)
    style “chrome-gtk-frame”
    ChromeGtkFrame::frame-color = shade (0.5, @bg_color)
    ChromeGtkFrame::inactive-frame-color = shade (0.5, @bg_color)

    ChromeGtkFrame::frame-gradient-size = 100
    ChromeGtkFrame::frame-gradient-color = shade (1.08,@bg_color)
    ChromeGtkFrame::inactive-frame-gradient-color = shade (1.08,@bg_color)

    ChromeGtkFrame::scrollbar-trough-color = @base_color
    ChromeGtkFrame::scrollbar-slider-prelight-color = @panel_bg
    ChromeGtkFrame::scrollbar-slider-normal-color = shade (1.4, @panel_bg)
    class “ChromeGtkFrame” style “chrome-gtk-frame”

    You could consider including lines for the incognito mode:
    ChromeGtkFrame::incognito-frame-color = whatever
    ChromeGtkFrame::incognito-inactive-frame-color = whatever

    (I came across these lines while looking at the chromium.rc for Lubuntu’s 12.10 default theme. And Greybird’s chromium.rc works just fine after their inclusion.)

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 7, 2012 09:00

    Yeah, I knew about the options to style the incognito-window, but was always happy with the way it looked, so I didn’t touch it :)

  • Steven, October 9, 2012 09:40

    I just tried the git version of Greybird and I like it quite a bit better than the default in my Xubuntu Precise. However, the one thing I noticed so far is the ugly statusbar in Thunar.

    See for a comparison.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 10, 2012 08:16

    Yeah, that’s unfortunately a known issue. The widget structure changed in Thunar between the version we’re shipping in Precise and Xfce4.10 (which is what is in Quantal). The git-master version of Greybird is designed for Quantal (12.10).
    Having said that, there might be more problems with using Greybird from git-master in Precise, because the gtk3 version this is optimised for is gtk3.6 (whereas Precise ships gtk3.4).

  • Mat, October 25, 2012 15:45

    Hi, just wondering if it is possible to revert to the Precise version of Greybird in Quantal. I really admire the theme but my personal preference is for the Precise version. Going forward will it be possible to select old and new versions of all your themes in future Xubuntu releases? I have tried looking for versions of the shimmer package in Synaptic but only the latest one is listed in Quantal repository. Thanks.

  • Simon Steinbeiß, October 26, 2012 11:01

    there are two things you can do: you can try the theme from the git-repository (I guess the gtk3.3 branch still has the old colors) – but let me say in advance that this might cause a lot of problems.

    the better alternative is to just modify the colors of the theme yourself so that they’re what you want them to be. you can also use tools like this one:

Also see our other projects.


  • Greybird is the rather conservative grey variant of Bluebird. Greybird is the default theme in Xubuntu since 11.04 Natty Narwhal.


  • Dual-licensed under GPLv2 or later and CC-BY-SA 3.0 or later

People in the project

  • Contact and Credits
    Simon Steinbeiß, Satyajit Sahoo

Project links