D.6 GTK resources
If Emacs was built to use the GTK widget set, then the menu bar,
scroll bar and the dialogs are customized with the standard GTK
customization file, ~/.gtkrc-2.0, or with the Emacs specific
file ~/.emacs.d/gtkrc. We recommend that you use
~/.emacs.d/gtkrc for customizations, since ~/.gtkrc-2.0
seems to be ignored when running GConf with GNOME. These files apply
only to GTK widget features. To customize Emacs font, background,
faces, etc., use the normal X resources (see Resources).
Some GTK themes override these mechanisms, which means that using
these mechanisms will not work to customize them.
In these files you first define a style and say what it means; then
you specify to apply the style to various widget types (see GTK widget names). Here is an example of how to change the font for
# Define the style ‘metafont’.
font_name = "helvetica bold 14" # This is a Pango font name
# Specify that widget type ‘*emacs-menuitem*’ uses ‘metafont’.
widget "*emacs-menuitem*" style "menufont"
Here is a more elaborate example, showing how to change the parts of
the scroll bar:
fg[NORMAL] = "red" # The arrow color.
bg[NORMAL] = "yellow" # The thumb and background around the arrow.
bg[ACTIVE] = "blue" # The trough color.
bg[PRELIGHT] = "white" # The thumb color when the mouse is over it.
widget "*verticalScrollBar*" style "scroll"
There are also parameters that affect GTK as a whole. For example,
gtk-font-name sets the default font for GTK. You
must use Pango font names (see GTK styles). A GTK resources file
that just sets a default font looks like this:
gtk-font-name = "courier 12"
The GTK resources file is fully described in the GTK API document.
This can be found in
where prefix is the directory in which the GTK libraries were
installed (usually /usr or /usr/local). You can also
find the document online, at