Difference between revisions of "GTK+"

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Revision as of 16:47, 23 April 2012

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From the GTK+ website:

GTK+, or the GIMP Toolkit, is a multi-platform toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces. Offering a complete set of widgets, GTK+ is suitable for projects ranging from small one-off tools to complete application suites.

GTK+, The GIMP Toolkit, was initially made by the GNU Project for the GIMP but is now a very popular toolkit with bindings for many languages.

Configuration programs

These GUI programs allow theme selection and at least customising of a font. They generally overwrite the ~/.gtkrc-2.0 file.

Example install command:

# pacman -S gtk-theme-switch2

See also Uniform Look for QT and GTK Applications#How do I set styles for each toolkit?


GTK+ 1.x

Old GTK+ 1 apps (like xmms) often do not look very nice at first. This is because they use ugly themes by default. To change this, you need to:

  1. download and install some nice themes
  2. change the theme

Some nice themes are in the AUR. To install them, see gtk-smooth-engineAUR.

To change the theme you can use gtk-theme-switch2. Run it with the 'switch' command.

GTK+ 2.x

Major desktop environments provide tools to configure the GTK+ theme, icons, font and font size. Alternatively, tools such as those mentioned above may be used.

It is recommended to install some GTK+ 2 themes as well. The popular Clearlooks theme is included within the gtk-engines package.

Further themes can be found in the AUR:

Alternatively, GTK+ settings can be configured manually by editing ~/.gtkrc-2.0. A list of GTK+ settings can be found in the GNOME library. To manually change the GTK+ theme, icons, font and font size, add the following to ~/.gtkrc-2.0:

gtk-icon-theme-name = "[name-of-icon-theme]"
gtk-theme-name = "[name-of-theme]"
gtk-font-name = "[font-name] [size]"

For example:

gtk-icon-theme-name = "Tango"
gtk-theme-name = "Murrine-Gray"
gtk-font-name = "DejaVu Sans 8"
Note: The above example requires the packages ttf-dejavu, tango-icon-theme, gtk-engine-murrine from the official repositories, and murrine-themes-collectionAUR from the AUR.

GTK+ 3.x

If you use GNOME 3, the theme can be changed with the gnome-tweak-tool.

If you use Xfce 4.8, both GTK+ 3.x and GTK+ 2.x themes can be managed by Appearance tool. Go to Settings-->Appearance. If selected style has both GTK+ 2.x and GTK+ 3.x themes, they will be used. If selected style has only GTK+ 2.x theme, it will be used for GTK+ 2.x applications and (ugly) defaults will be used for GTK+ 3.x applications. If selected style has only GTK+ 3.x theme, it will be used for GTK+ 3.x applications and (ugly) defaults will be used for GTK+ 2.x applications. Thus for uniform UI appearance and best experience one can use style that has both GTK+ 2.x and GTK+ 3.x themes. Search packages and AUR. One example of this is theme clearwaita-gtk-themeAUR.

If you use a GTK+ 2.x based DE, like Xfce, LXDE, gnome-tweak-tool won't work; see FS#23644. You need to install librsvg, and set your theme manually in {XDG_CONFIG_HOME}/gtk-3.0/settings.ini (this is usually ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini. An example settings.ini file:

gtk-application-prefer-dark-theme = false
gtk-theme-name = Zukitwo
gtk-fallback-icon-theme = gnome
gtk-icon-theme-name = [icon theme name]
gtk-font-name = [font name] [font size]

If it still does not change, delete old gtk-3.0 folder in {XDG_CONFIG_HOME} and copy gtk-3.0 folder from /path-to-the-theme to {XDG_CONFIG_HOME}. example:

rm -r ~/.config/gtk-3.0/
cp -r /usr/share/themes/Zukitwo/gtk-3.0/ ~/.config/  

After this, you need to set the same theme in your DE's appearance configuration tool. There are only a few themes which provide a uniform look for GTK+ 3.x and GTK+ 2.x apps. A few examples:

  1. Adwaita for GTK+ 3 and Advaicium for GTK+ 2
  2. Newlooks for GKT+ 3 and Clearlooks for GTK+ 2
  3. Zukitwo
  4. Elegant Brit
  5. Atolm
  6. Hope

You could find what themes installed on your system have both an Gtk2 and Gtk3 version by using this command (don't work with names containing spaces) :

find $(find /home/twix/.themes /usr/share/themes/ -wholename "*/gtk-3.0" | sed -e "s/^\(.*\)\/gtk-3.0$/\1/")\
-wholename "*/gtk-2.0" | sed -e "s/.*\/\(.*\)\/gtk-2.0/\1"/

Note: There probably are other themes. Some of these themes are available in the AUR. Also, some of them are not usable as is for displaying a GTK+ 2.x panel (light text over light background), so you need to use the provided panel background.

GTK+ and QT

If you have GTK+ and QT (KDE) applications on your desktop then you know that their looks do not blend well. If you wish to make your GTK+ styles match your QT styles please read Uniform Look for QT and GTK Applications.

Configuration file

Note: See the GtkSettings properties in the GTK+ programming reference manual for the full list of GTK configuration options.

The purpose of this section is to collect GTK configuration settings which can e.g. be used within ~/.gtkrc-2.0.

Enabling Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts

You can customize your GTK applications' keyboard shortcuts (those are called accelerators in GTK terminology) by hovering your mouse over a menu item and pressing your desired key combination. However, this feature is disabled by default. To enable it, set

gtk-can-change-accels = 1

Speed up your GNOME menu

This setting controls the delay between you pointing the mouse at a menu and that menu opening in GNOME. Change this to a setting you prefer. I guess the number is in milliseconds, e.g. 250 being a quarter of a second.

gtk-menu-popup-delay = 0

Reduce widget sizes

If you have a small screen or you just do not like big icons and widgets, you can resize things easily. To have icons without text in toolbars, use

gtk-toolbar-style = GTK_TOOLBAR_ICONS

To use smaller icons, use a line like this:

gtk-icon-sizes = "panel-menu=16,16:panel=16,16:gtk-menu=16,16:gtk-large-toolbar=16,16\

Or to remove icons from buttons completely:

gtk-button-images = 0

You can also remove icons from menus:

gtk-menu-images = 0

There is some more tweaking to do in your themes gtkrc like explained here and there's another theme that does it all.


When writing a start-from-scratch GTK+ 3 program with C, it's necessary to add CFLAGS for gcc:

gcc -g -Wall `pkg-config --cflags --libs gtk+-3.0` -o base base.c

-g and -Wall parameters are not necessary since they are only for verbose debugging outputs. You may try out the official Hello World example.

Write a simple message dialog app

You can write your own GTK+ 3 message dialog easily in many programming languages through GObject-Introspection or bindings, or you can simply use bash.

The following examples display a simple "Hello world" in a message dialog.


zenity --info --title='Hello world!' --text='This is an example dialog.'


  • Dependency: gtk-sharp-gitAUR from AUR (boo)
  • Makedependency: boo
  • Build with: booc hello_world.boo
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe (or booi hello_world.boo)
import Gtk from "gtk-sharp"
Hello = MessageDialog(null, DialogFlags.Modal, MessageType.Info, ButtonsType.Close, "Hello world!")
Hello.SecondaryText = "This is an example dialog."


  • Dependency: gtk3
  • Build with: gcc -o hello_world `pkg-config --cflags --libs gtk+-3.0` hello_world.c
#include <gtk/gtk.h>
void main (int argc, char *argv[]) {
	gtk_init (&argc, &argv);
        GtkWidget *hello = gtk_message_dialog_new (NULL, GTK_DIALOG_MODAL, GTK_MESSAGE_INFO, GTK_BUTTONS_OK, "Hello world!");
	gtk_message_dialog_format_secondary_text (GTK_MESSAGE_DIALOG (hello), "This is an example dialog.");
        gtk_dialog_run(GTK_DIALOG (hello));


  • Dependency: gtkmm3
  • Build with: g++ -o hello_world `pkg-config --cflags --libs gtkmm-3.0` hello_world.cc
#include <gtkmm/main.h>
#include <gtkmm/messagedialog.h>
int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
	Gtk::Main kit(argc, argv);
	Gtk::MessageDialog Hello("Hello world!", false, Gtk::MESSAGE_INFO, Gtk::BUTTONS_OK);
	Hello.set_secondary_text("This is an example dialog.");


  • Dependency: gtk-sharp-gitAUR from AUR
  • Build with: mcs -pkg:gtk-sharp-3.0 hello_world.cs
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe
using Gtk;
public class HelloWorld {
	static void Main() {
		Application.Init ();
		MessageDialog Hello = new MessageDialog (null, DialogFlags.Modal, MessageType.Info, ButtonsType.Close, "Hello world!");
		Hello.SecondaryText="This is an example dialog.";
		Hello.Run ();


  • Dependency: gtk3
  • Makedependency: vala
  • Build with: valac --pkg gtk+-3.0 hello_world.gs
	Gtk.init (ref args)
	var Hello=new MessageDialog (null, Gtk.DialogFlags.MODAL, Gtk.MessageType.INFO, Gtk.ButtonsType.OK, "Hello world!")
	Hello.format_secondary_text ("This is an example dialog.")
	Hello.run ()


  • Dependency: java-gnomeAUR from AUR
  • Makedependency: java-environment
  • Build with: mkdir HelloWorld && javac -classpath /usr/share/java/gtk.jar -d HelloWorld HelloWorld.java
  • Run with: java -classpath /usr/share/java/gtk.jar:HelloWorld HelloWorld
import org.gnome.gtk.Gtk;
import org.gnome.gtk.Dialog;
import org.gnome.gtk.InfoMessageDialog;

public class HelloWorld
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Dialog Hello = new InfoMessageDialog(null, "Hello world!", "This is an example dialog.");


Gtk = imports.gi.Gtk
Gtk.init(null, null)
Hello = new Gtk.MessageDialog({type: Gtk.MessageType.INFO,
                               buttons: Gtk.ButtonsType.OK,
                               text: "Hello world!",
                               "secondary-text": "This is an example dialog."})


use Gtk3 -init;
my $hello = Gtk3::MessageDialog->new (undef, 'modal', 'info', 'ok', "Hello world!");
$hello->set ('secondary-text' => 'This is an example dialog.');


from gi.repository import Gtk
Hello=Gtk.MessageDialog(None, Gtk.DialogFlags.MODAL, Gtk.MessageType.INFO, Gtk.ButtonsType.CLOSE, "Hello world!")
Hello.format_secondary_text("This is an example dialog.")


  • Dependency: gtk3
  • Makedependency: vala
  • Build with: valac --pkg gtk+-3.0 hello_world.vala
using Gtk;
public class HelloWorld {
	static void main (string[] args) {
		Gtk.init (ref args);
		var Hello=new MessageDialog (null, Gtk.DialogFlags.MODAL, Gtk.MessageType.INFO, Gtk.ButtonsType.OK, "Hello world!");
		Hello.format_secondary_text ("This is an example dialog.");
		Hello.run ();

Visual Basic .NET

  • Dependency: gtk-sharp-gitAUR from AUR
  • Makedependency: mono-basic
  • Build with: vbnc -r:/usr/lib/mono/gtk-sharp-3.0/gio-sharp.dll -r:/usr/lib/mono/gtk-sharp-3.0/glib-sharp.dll -r:/usr/lib/mono/gtk-sharp-3.0/gtk-sharp.dll hello_world.vb
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe
Imports Gtk
Public Class Hello
	Inherits MessageDialog
	Public Sub New
		MyBase.New(Me, DialogFlags.Modal, MessageType.Info, ButtonsType.Close, "Hello world!")
		Me.SecondaryText = "This is an example dialog."
	End Sub
	Public Shared Sub Main
		Dim Dialog As New Hello
	End Sub
End Class