Skip to content


Repository files navigation

License GPL 3 MELPA MELPA Stable Join the chat at

Solarized for Emacs

Solarized for Emacs is an Emacs 24bit theme making use of of the Solarized palette, developed by Ethan Schoonover.

You can find several screenshots of Solarized for Emacs here.

Solarized for Emacs supports officially Emacs 24+, but should be working under Emacs 23 as well. The theme is implemented in terms of customisations and deftheme and does not require the color-theme-package.


Solarized for Emacs is available for installation via the MELPA using package.el. Assuming you've set it up you can install Solarized like this:

M-x package-install solarized-theme

This package will install two variants of the theme; solarized-light-theme and solarized-dark-theme. You can load one of the theme variants with M-x load-theme.

To load it automatically on Emacs startup add this to your init file:

(load-theme 'solarized-light t)


(load-theme 'solarized-dark t)

Alternative Palettes

The intent of this theme will always be that Solarized-dark/light will give you the best possible experience. Palettes other than Solarized will never have influence over theming decisions, they are complementary.

You should not expect the complementary themes to be fully accurate or the most suitable versions of how to apply those palettes into an emacs theme. The important aspect is that the color usage should be about the same as they are with the default Solarized palette.

Colors stand out with varying amounts depending on which palette is used. This theme aims for a very soft look, violet is one of the most pronounced accent colors in the Solarized palette and that is one reason why it's rarely used by the theme. Violet in another palette might stand out less and therefore be used more often if the theme was specifically designed with that palette in mind.

The original Zenburn palette doesn't have an violet it is created by blending blue and magenta to get it to fit into the theme so it's tilted towards translating into what this theme has decided.

TLDR; While solarized-gruvbox-light might be good complement for users of solarized-light, another theme not contained in this package (gruvbox-light or whatever) might be more finely tuned in relation to the Gruvbox palette.


Theme-specific settings

If you don't like low-contrast modeline or fringe, you can customize them either by doing M-x customize-group solarized or setting the values using elisp code:

;; make the fringe stand out from the background
(setq solarized-distinct-fringe-background t)

;; Don't change the font for some headings and titles
(setq solarized-use-variable-pitch nil)

;; make the modeline high contrast
(setq solarized-high-contrast-mode-line t)

;; Use less bolding
(setq solarized-use-less-bold t)

;; Use more italics
(setq solarized-use-more-italic t)

;; Use less colors for indicators such as git:gutter, flycheck and similar
(setq solarized-emphasize-indicators nil)

;; Don't change size of org-mode headlines (but keep other size-changes)
(setq solarized-scale-org-headlines nil)

;; Change the size of markdown-mode headlines (off by default)
(setq solarized-scale-markdown-headlines t)

;; Avoid all font-size changes
(setq solarized-height-minus-1 1.0)
(setq solarized-height-plus-1 1.0)
(setq solarized-height-plus-2 1.0)
(setq solarized-height-plus-3 1.0)
(setq solarized-height-plus-4 1.0)

Note that these need to be set before load-theme is invoked for Solarized.

Underline position setting for X

If you are using Emacs under X you might like the following setting which puts the underline below the font bottomline instead of the baseline.

Imho it enhances the general readability and also it fits well with the default solarized-high-contrast-mode-line setting which uses an slightly emphazised underline for the modeline to create one horizontal window border in the same manner as the vertical border.

(setq x-underline-at-descent-line t)

Create theme using color palette

The Solarized Face settings consist of a palette of colors with eight accents in addition to the darkest and brightest colors. Recent changes allow you to freely create theme files using different palettes instead of the Solarized color palette. It consists of two steps:

  • creating a theme file
  • loading a theme

Creating/Loading Theme Files

Select the darkest and lightest colors and the eight accents to pass to the function. This creates a theme file in .emacs.d/themes/. If you need to make minor modifications, you can override Face individually by specifying a free Sexp as the fourth argument.

Once you have a theme file, you can load it with load-theme, like solarized.

;; inspired vim's jellybeans color-theme
(solarized-create-theme-file-with-palette 'light 'solarized-jellybeans-light
  '("#202020" "#ffffff"
    "#ffb964" "#8fbfdc" "#a04040" "#b05080" "#805090" "#fad08a" "#99ad6a" "#8fbfdc"))

(load-theme 'solarized-jellybeans-light t)
;; inspired emacs's mesa color-theme
(solarized-create-theme-file-with-palette 'light 'solarized-mesa-light
  '("#000000" "#faf5ee"
    "#3388dd" "#ac3d1a" "#dd2222" "#8b008b" "#00b7f0" "#1388a2" "#104e8b" "#00688b"))

(load-theme 'solarized-mesa-light t)
;; inspired emacs's solarized color-theme
(solarized-create-theme-file-with-palette 'light 'solarized-solarized-light
  '("#002b36" "#fdf6e3"
    "#b58900" "#cb4b16" "#dc322f" "#d33682" "#6c71c4" "#268bd2" "#2aa198" "#859900"))

(load-theme 'solarized-solarized-light t)
;; wombat color-theme with misc face definition
(solarized-create-theme-file-with-palette 'dark 'solarized-wombat-dark
  '("#2a2a29" "#f6f3e8"
    "#e5c06d" "#ddaa6f" "#ffb4ac" "#e5786d" "#834c98" "#a4b5e6" "#7ec98f" "#8ac6f2")
     `(default ((,class (:foreground ,(solarized-color-blend base03 base3 0.15 2) :background ,base03))))
     `(highlight ((,class (:background ,violet))))
     `(font-lock-builtin-face ((,class (:foreground ,magenta))))
     `(font-lock-constant-face ((,class (:foreground ,blue))))
     `(font-lock-comment-face ((,class (:foreground ,base00))))
       ((,class (:foreground ,base2 :background ,(solarized-color-blend base03 base3 0.85 2)))))
       ((,class (:foreground ,base00 :background ,(solarized-color-blend base03 "black" 0.85 2)))))
     `(mode-line-buffer-id ((,class (:foreground ,base3 :weight bold))))
     `(minibuffer-prompt ((,class (:foreground ,base1))))
     `(vertical-border ((,class (:foreground ,base03)))))))

(load-theme 'solarized-wombat-dark t)

Note: If the theme file already exists, solorized-create-theme-file does not regenerate the file. If the file exists, it can be overwritten by setting the fifth argument to t.

Versioning Policy

  • This package uses semantic versioning

  • Master branch is to be considered unstable (which isn't an excuse to constantly break behaviour). Use MELPA Stable if you want fewer breaking changes.

  • Next stable version will be 2.0 because of API changes in the master branch. Regular load-theme usage is unaffected by changes.

Bugs & Improvements

Please, report any problems that you find on the projects integrated issue tracker. If you've added some improvements and you want them included upstream don't hesitate to send me a patch or even better - a GitHub pull request.


Copyright © 2011-2021 Bozhidar Batsov, Thomas Frössman, and contributors.

Distributed under the GNU General Public License, version 3