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coloursofnoise edited this page Apr 24, 2022 · 121 revisions

wal can be extended to support a wide range of programs and applications through the use of scripting or colorscheme files it generates. For example: The colors.css file allows you to use the generated colors in your css files to update your startpage's colors on the fly.

Another customization example is a custom script I've created called wal-set [1]. This script uses the exported file to apply the colors to my lemonbar, dunst and startpage. The script is executed using wal's -o flag (wal -i img.png -o wal-set).

[1] wal-set

Table of Contents



You can use wal_steam to theme Steam using the colors from wal.


You can use either pywal-discord or wal-discord to theme Discord using the colors from wal.


You can use Zathura-Pywal to theme Zathura using the colors from wal.


You can use wal-telegram to theme Telegram using the colors from wal.


Use the following theme file.

  • Save the below file as ~/.moc/themes/wal
  • Add the following line to your mocp config.
    • Theme = wal
background           = default default
frame                = black   default
window_title         = green   default
directory            = red     default
selected_directory   = blue    default
playlist             = blue    default
selected_playlist    = magenta default
file                 = green   default
selected_file        = black   red
marked_file          = green   default bold
marked_selected_file = cyan    default bold
info                 = cyan    default
selected_info        = cyan    default
marked_info          = green   default bold
marked_selected_info = cyan    default bold
status               = magenta default
title                = green   default
state                = magenta default
current_time         = magenta default
time_left            = cyan    default
total_time           = cyan    default
time_total_frames    = magenta default
sound_parameters     = cyan    default
legend               = magenta default
disabled             = black   default
enabled              = yellow  default
empty_mixer_bar      = green   default
filled_mixer_bar     = black   green
empty_time_bar       = green   default
filled_time_bar      = black   green
entry                = yellow  default
entry_title          = red     default
error                = red     default
message              = yellow  default
plist_time           = magenta default


You can use ChromiumPywal to theme Chrome/Chromium using the colors from wal


You can use pywalfox to theme Firefox and/or Thunderbird using the colors from wal.

Window Managers


To use wal with i3 you have to make some modifications to your i3 config file.

i3 can read colors from Xresources into config variables! This allows us to change i3's colors dynamically. On run wal will detect that you're running i3 and reload your config for you. If you've set it up correctly i3 will then use your new colorscheme.


# Set colors from Xresources
# Change 'color7' and 'color2' to whatever colors you want i3 to use 
# from the generated scheme.
# NOTE: The '#f0f0f0' in the lines below is the color i3 will use if
# it fails to get colors from Xresources.
set_from_resource $fg i3wm.color7 #f0f0f0
set_from_resource $bg i3wm.color2 #f0f0f0

# class                 border  backgr. text indicator child_border
client.focused          $bg     $bg     $fg  $bg       $bg
client.focused_inactive $bg     $bg     $fg  $bg       $bg
client.unfocused        $bg     $bg     $fg  $bg       $bg
client.urgent           $bg     $bg     $fg  $bg       $bg
client.placeholder      $bg     $bg     $fg  $bg       $bg

client.background       $bg

# PROTIP: You can also dynamically set dmenu's colors this way:
bindsym $mod+d exec dmenu_run -nb "$fg" -nf "$bg" -sb "$bg" -sf "$fg"


The bspwmrc file is a shell script which makes using wal's colors easy!

# source the colors.
. "${HOME}/.cache/wal/"

# Set the border colors.
bspc config normal_border_color "$color1"
bspc config active_border_color "$color2"
bspc config focused_border_color "$color15"
# Use the line below if you are on bspwm >= 0.9.4
bspc config presel_feedback_color "$color1"
# Use the line below if you are on bspwm < 0.9.4
#bspc config presel_border_color "$color1"


to add:

colors = []
def load_colors(cache):
    with open(cache, 'r') as file:
        for i in range(8):

and then use


format to customize colors after changing wallpaper with wal -i /path/to/image reload qtile with super+ctrl+r (by default) to apply colors.


sway can include arbitrary configuration files. In your .config/sway/config file, add before any color usage:

include "$HOME/.cache/wal/colors-sway"

And wal will set your wallpaper ($wallpaper) and colors ($background, $foreground and $color0 through $color15). To use them:

output <name> background $wallpaper <mode>
client.focused $color0 $background $foreground $color7 $background

See man 5 sway on how to set wallpapers and colors.


  1. Delete all defined colors in your config.h

  2. Delete the static const char *colors[] array.

  3. In its place, include wal's exported colors via:

    #include "/home/<USER>/.cache/wal/colors-wal-dwm.h"

(Replace <USER> with your username.)

NOTE: this #include must be on the same line as what was previously deleted.

This also assumes you have the "Urgent" color patch for dwm.

You can find the official patch here

If you have not or do not wish to patch dwm, you will need to delete the lines of pywal's exported config which contain "urg". This config is located at .cache/wal/colors-wal-dwm.h. Note that whenever you restart/reconfigure pywal, you will need to delete these lines yet again. To solve this problem, we can use a User Template. See the command below.

Perform the following command to stop pywal from re-generating the default template: cp .cache/wal/colors-wal-dwm.h .config/wal/templates

Q: "I do not have a *colors[] array in my config.h?"

A: 6.1 and older dwm releases do not include the *colors[] array and the colors are named differently than in the wal output. Please use the current git version of dwm, which can be found at

Q: "I get error when I try to (re)compile dwm while there is no .cache/wal/colors-wal-dwm.h (there is no wal theme set yet)"

A: Just set a theme, after that it will perfectly compile. If you want to be able to compile dwm even when there is no a wal theme set you can use the following block of code instead:

#define wal "/home/<USER>/.cache/wal/colors-wal-dwm.h"

#if __has_include(wal)
#include wal
static const char col_gray3[]       = "#bbbbbb";
static const char col_gray4[]       = "#eeeeee";
static const char col_cyan[]        = "#005577";
static const char col_urgborder[]   = "#ff0000";
static const char *colors[][3]      = {
   /*               fg         bg         border   */
   [SchemeNorm] = { col_gray3, col_gray1, col_gray2 },
   [SchemeSel]  = { col_gray4, col_cyan,  col_cyan  },
   [SchemeUrg]  = { col_gray4, col_cyan,  col_urgborder  },


Add the following lines to your yabai config file (usually in ~/.yabairc or ~/.config/yabai/yabairc), creating the file if it doesn't exist already:

source ~/.cache/wal/ # pywal scheme - update if needed

# yabai template colours
CBACK=$(echo $background | sed 's/#//')
CFORE=$(echo $foreground | sed 's/#//')
CACTV=$(echo $color3 | sed 's/#//')
CNORM=$(echo $color1 | sed 's/#//')
CINSE=$(echo $foreground | sed 's/#//')

yabai -m config status_bar                   on
yabai -m config status_bar_background_color  0xff$CBACK
yabai -m config status_bar_foreground_color  0xff$CFORE

yabai -m config window_border                on
yabai -m config window_border_width          4
yabai -m config active_window_border_color   0xff$CACTV
yabai -m config normal_window_border_color   0xff$CNORM
yabai -m config insert_window_border_color   0xff$CINSE

Restart yabai (brew services restart yabai if installed through Homebrew) and enjoy the colours.

A simple script that uses osascript to retrieve your wallpaper and run pywal could be:

function pywal {
    # generate color scheme from current wallpaper
    current_wallpaper="$(osascript -e 'tell app "finder" to get posix path of (get desktop picture as alias)')"
    wal -i $current_wallpaper -n

Placing this into your .zshrc, .bashrc, or whatever rc file corresponding to your shell, will allow you to simply run pywal in a terminal and update your colours easily.

Application Launchers


Add one of the following lines to your rofi config file outside of the configuration{...} block located in ~/.config/rofi/config.rasi. If the file doesn't exist, you can just create it.

/* Dark theme. */
@import "~/.cache/wal/colors-rofi-dark"

/* Light theme. */
@import "~/.cache/wal/colors-rofi-light"

Defining your own custom theme.



You can use dmenu's launch flags to style the colors dynamically.

As an alias in your .bashrc, .zshrc etc:

# Import the colors.
. "${HOME}/.cache/wal/"

# Create the alias.
alias dmen='dmenu_run -nb "$color0" -nf "$color15" -sb "$color1" -sf "$color15"'

As a separate script (


# Import the colors
. "${HOME}/.cache/wal/"

dmenu_run -nb "$color0" -nf "$color15" -sb "$color1" -sf "$color15"

Alternatively, you can modify dmenu's config.h file to apply the colors to all dmenu scripts:

  1. Delete the static const char *colors[] array
  2. In its place, include wal's exported colors via:
#include "/home/<USER>/.cache/wal/colors-wal-dmenu.h"


You can use AlfredPywal to generate pywal theme for Alfred 4

Text Editors


I've created a vim colorscheme for use with with the colors wal generates and you can install it using any vim package manager. The colorscheme uses your terminal colors so it'll adapt to the colorscheme changes automatically.

Neovim users, make sure to remove set termguicolors as it messes up the colorscheme.

You can find the colorscheme here:


! Using plug
Plug 'dylanaraps/wal.vim'

colorscheme wal


You have 2 options:

  • Install xresources-theme to make Emacs generate a theme using X environment's colors.
  • Install ewal, a theme agnostic colorscheme generator that uses pywal palettes as its input (and adds more shades to them, but only if you want them). It currently completely integrates with spacemacs-theme (more coming soon), so you don't loose out on any detail when changing colorschemes. You can also use its utility functions to configure your current theme to your liking with pywal colors.

Note: There's an ongoing discussion in #43 about making Emacs change colors on the fly.

JetBrains IDEs

Follow the instructions on this repository to integrate pywal with intellij idea or any other jetbrains IDE.

VS Code

Install the Wal Theme extension for Visual Studio Code. It will automatically update your theme whenever pywal generates a new color palette.

Wal Theme Repository



Polybar can read colors from Xresources to set the bar's colors. wal will also reload your config file for you automatically if it detects that polybar is running.


background = ${xrdb:color0:#222}
foreground = ${xrdb:color7:#222}
foreground-alt = ${xrdb:color7:#222}
primary = ${xrdb:color1:#222}
secondary = ${xrdb:color2:#222}
alert = ${xrdb:color3:#222}

; ...
background = ${colors.background}
foreground = ${colors.foreground}

; ...


You can use lemonbar's launch flags to style the colors dynamically. For a real world example you can take a look at my bar script.

In your lemonbar script:


# Import the colors
. "${HOME}/.cache/wal/"

lemonbar -B "$color0" -F "$color8" # Other flags here.

Terminal Emulators


wal generates a KDE colorscheme that can be imported into Konsole. The file is called colors-konsole.colorscheme and is located in the cache folder. This colorscheme can be symlinked into the Konsole theme folder using, for example,

ln -s ~/.cache/wal/colors-konsole.colorscheme ~/.local/share/konsole

Although the symlink does not need to be updated after running pywal, a restart (or theme switch) of Konsole is needed to pick up the new color scheme.

Plasma5 (outside Konsole) is not supported by wal.


Open your kitty config file, usually ~/.config/kitty/kitty.conf. Alternatively you can press Ctrl+Shift+F2 from within kitty to open the config in an editor. The colour config for kitty is exported by wal as ~/.cache/wal/colors-kitty.conf and can be used by placing the following inside your kitty config file.

include ~/.cache/wal/colors-kitty.conf

If you have any existing colour definitions in your config file, make sure to paste the line after all of them or comment them out to avoid overriding the values in colors-kitty.conf


  1. Remove all color definitions in your config.h
  2. Remove the const char *colorname[] array
  3. Include wal's export colors via:
#include "/home/<USER>/.cache/wal/colors-wal-st.h"

(replace <USER> with your user name)

NOTE: this #include must be on the same line as what was previously deleted. NOTE: there is a patch to st which loads a colorscheme from Xresources: NOTE: this #include would not work with alpha patch. If you want to make it work with alpha patch, you have to change colors-wal-st.h such that defaultbg is set to 257, defaultfg is set to 256. This creates light theme. For dark theme, the color represented by 256 and 257 must be swapped with each other.


wal also exports the colors so they can be used with PuTTY. After running wal, a file will be created ($HOME/.cache/wal/colors-putty.reg) that can be executed on a Windows machine to create a new PuTTY session with the generated colors. Once the file is executed, you can select Wal from the Saved Sessions list.

You can import wal's colors into by copy-pasting the contents of the colors.Xresources file located in the cache directory.

Alacritty on MacOS

On MacOS the colors do not get set in the alacritty config correctly. Luckily, a generous member of the community created a script to run to get this working. Just follow the instructions in the README. You may have to restart alacritty for the colors to correctly change.

Web Files

CSS variables

wal also exports the colors as CSS variables for use with Stylish or userChrome.css.

Example CSS:

/* Import the CSS file.
   Change 'dylan' to your username. */
@import url('file:///home/dylan/.cache/wal/colors.css');

/* Use the variables */
#nav-bar {
  background-image: var(--wallpaper);
  color: var(--color7) !important;

h1 {
  background-color: var(--color3);

SCSS variables

wal also exports the colorscheme as SCSS variables for use in webpages. I'm using this feature to update my startpage with the new colors dynamically.


// Example .scss file

// Import Colors
@import '/home/dylan/.cache/wal/colors.scss';

body {
  background: $background;
  color: $foreground;

main {
  background-image: url($wallpaper);

a {
  color: $color4;

Firefox reader mode

Reader View is a Firefox feature that strips away clutter like buttons, ads and background images, and changes the page's text size, contrast and layout for better readability (more information).

You can customize this mode with wal css file:

  1. type about:support in the address bar and copy the Profile folder path (should be something like /home/username/.mozilla/firefox/885a2m8x.default);
  2. go to this directory and create chrome folder if not created yet;
  3. in this folder, create/edit the file userContent.css by adding custom css attributes according to your preferences (see below);
  4. restart Firefox.

Theses classes are added by Firefox on the body element:

  • loaded when reader mode is enabled;
  • dark when dark background is selected;
  • light when light background is selected;
  • sepia when sepia background is selected;
  • serif when serif font is selected;
  • sans-serif when sans-serif font is selected.

Use the selectors you want (.body.loaded.dark, .body.loaded.sans-serif, ...) or combine them (.body.loaded.dark.sans-serif, ...) and don't forget to add !important after each line.

userContent.css example:

@import url('file:///home/your_user_name/.cache/wal/colors.css');

body.loaded.dark {
  color: var(--foreground) !important;
  background-color: var(--background) !important;

body.loaded.dark h1 {
  color: var(--color1) !important;

body.loaded.dark h2, body.loaded.dark h3, body.loaded.dark h4, body.loaded.dark h5, body.loaded.dark h6 {
  color: var(--color4) !important;

body.loaded.dark strong {
  color: var(--color5) !important;

Scripting Files

Shell Variables

wal also exports the colorscheme as a list of shell variables that you can source for use in scripts and the shell.


# Add this line to your .bashrc or a shell script.
. "~/.cache/wal/"

In the shell:

# Once the file is sourced you can use the colors like this:

dylan ~ >echo "$background"

dylan ~ >echo "$color0 $color5"
#282A23 #BCC3CE

dylan ~ >echo "$wallpaper"

# lemonbar example
lemonbar -B "$color7" -F "$color0"

In a script:


. "~/.cache/wal/"

printf "%s\n" "$color0"


wal also exports the colors in json. This is helpful when you want use the colors in another script.

The file is called colors.json and is located in the cache directory. (~/.cache/wal). The file contains the wallpaper, hex colors for background, foreground and cursor as well as the colors 0-15.

Example colors.json file:

    "wallpaper": "/path/to/img.jpg",

    "special": {
        "background": "#4A3636",
        "foreground": "#F8F8F8",
        "cursor": "#F8F8F8"
    "colors": {
        "color0": "#4A3636",
        "color1": "#EDD0B0",
        "color2": "#EDB7C8",
        "color3": "#E0D4DC",
        "color4": "#F4D3D0",
        "color5": "#F5E8D6",
        "color6": "#F5EDEA",
        "color7": "#F8F8F8",
        "color8": "#999999",
        "color9": "#EDD0B0",
        "color10": "#EDB7C8",
        "color11": "#E0D4DC",
        "color12": "#F4D3D0",
        "color13": "#F5E8D6",
        "color14": "#F5EDEA",
        "color15": "#F8F8F8"


wal also exports the colors in yml. This is helpful when you want use the colors in another script.

The file is called colors.yml and is located in the cache directory. (~/.cache/wal). The file contains the wallpaper, hex colors for background, foreground and cursor as well as the colors 0-15.

Example colors.yml file:

wallpaper: "/home/dylan/Pictures/Wallpapers/010.jpg"

    background: "#2b454c"
    foreground: "#D2E2D0"
    cursor: "#D2E2D0"

    color0: "#2b454c"
    color": "#9AA2A7"
    color2: "#D4B2AF"
    color3: "#C2BFBF"
    color4: "#B5CBC9"
    color5: "#CFD1CA"
    color6: "#F1C9CB"
    color7: "#D2E2D0"
    color8: "#757575"
    color9: "#9AA2A7"
    color10: "#D4B2AF"
    color11: "#C2BFBF"
    color12: "#B5CBC9"
    color13: "#CFD1CA"
    color14: "#F1C9CB"
    color15: "#D2E2D0"


Logitech keyboards

You can use g810-led utility, to change RGB of Logitech G213, G410, G413, G512, G513, G610, G810, G910 and GPRO Keyboards

Basic script for pywal here


For Razer peripherals you can use razer-cli utility

Other Tools


  1. Remove all defined colors in your config.h
  2. In their place, include wal's exported colors via:
#include "/home/<USER>/.cache/wal/colors-wal-tabbed.h"

(Replace <USER> with your username.)

NOTE: this #include must be on the same line as what was previously deleted.


You can use slickgreeter-pywal to change lightdm-slick-greeter's theme using the colors from wal.


You can use Gnuplot-Pywal to theme Gnuplot using the colors from wal.