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Solarized 8: True Colors

Solarized 8 Flat Dark Solarized 8 Flat Light

This is yet another Solarized theme for Vim. It places itself half way between the original Solarized and the Flattened variant. It removes only some of the bullshit. The color palette is exactly the same as in Solarized, although some highlight groups are defined slightly differently (for instance, I have tried to avoid red on blue).

The main reason for the existence of this project is that the original Solarized theme does not define guifg and guibg in terminal Vim, making it unsuitable for versions of Vim supporting true-color (i.e., 24-bit color) terminals. Instead, this color scheme works out of the box everywhere. For the best experience, you need:

  • Vim ≥7.4.1799, or NeoVim, with termguicolors set, and
  • a terminal supporting millions of colors (but see below for workarounds).

Solarized 8 also works in any GUI version of Vim: no configuration is necessary.* See below for installation instructions.

* VimR users must set termguicolors before loading the color scheme.

But, my terminal has only 256 colors!

For terminals not supporting true colors, Solarized 8 will fall back to use an approximate palette based on xterm's 256 colors, which looks more or less like this:

Dark 256 color palette Light 256 color palette

(Yeah, it looks like a different color scheme: Solarized palette is far away from xterm colors!)

If you do not like this approximation, to get exact colors with such terminals you have two possibilities:

  1. Modify some of your terminal colors in the range 16–255 to match Solarized palette. For this purpose, you may run (not source!) scripts/solarized8.sh; no setting is needed in Vim. For instance, if you are using Bash, put this in .bashrc:

    sh /path/to/scripts/solarized.sh

    Note: this method is supported only by some, but not all, terminals. For instance, in Apple's Terminal.app, running solarized.sh has no effect.

  2. Set your terminal's 16 ANSI colors (the colors in the range 0–15) to the Solarized palette (how to do that depends on the terminal) and set t_Co=16 in Vim (or let g:solarized_use16=1) to instruct Vim to use your terminal's colors. Be aware that, if you force the use of your terminal colors in Vim with any of these settings, but your terminal is not configured to use the Solarized palette, your colors will be completely off!

Note: whatever method you choose, keep in mind that if your terminal does not support millions of colors, you must not set termguicolors (i.e., make sure that set termguicolors? outputs notermguicolors).

What if I happen to work on vt100 or similar?

In the past, Solarized 8 used to complain when your terminal did not support enough colors. But the current version will gracefully degrade to a (beautiful!) black&white color scheme:

Solarized 8 B&W variant Solarized 8 B&W variant

Installation

If your Vim supports packages (echo has('packages') prints 1), I strongly recommend that you use them. Just clone this repo inside pack/*/opt, e.g.:

git clone https://github.com/lifepillar/vim-solarized8.git \
    ~/.vim/pack/themes/opt/solarized8

Otherwise, use you favourite installation method.

There are actually four optimized* color schemes you may load:

  • solarized8_high: high-contrast variant (screenshow below, first column);
  • solarized8: the default Solarized theme (screenshot below, second column);
  • solarized8_low: low-contrast variant (screenshow below, third column);
  • solarized8_flat: “flat” variant (screenshow below, fourth column).

The “flat” variant does not exist in the original Solarized. It differs from solarized8 mainly in how the status line, split bars and tab bar look like:

To use a Solarized 8 color scheme, set the background (dark or light) then load the variant you want, e.g.:

set background=dark
colorscheme solarized8

If you opt to use some Vim plugin manager instead, the following should be added to your vimrc, rather than the above, for the color scheme to be loaded correctly:

set background=dark
autocmd vimenter * ++nested colorscheme solarized8

To switch the background from dark to light or vice versa, just set background accordingly.

If you use Vim packages, there is no need to packadd solarized8. Keep your runtimepath clean!

* Below is the result of a benchmark I have made using Vim 8.1.1450 and iTerm 2 v3.2.6 on a MacBook Pro Early 2015 with macOS 10.14.5. To make the comparison meaningful, g:solarized_extra_hi_groups was set to 1: Solarized 8 should load a bit faster if you do not enable additional syntax items. Note that Solarized 8 is optimized for what are believed to be the most common use cases, i.e., GUI, true-color terminals and 256-color terminals.

Options

The following options are inherited from Solarized:

  • g:solarized_visibility: one of "normal" (default), "low", "high";
  • g:solarized_diffmode: one of "normal" (default), "low", "high";
  • g:solarized_termtrans: make terminal background transparent if set to 1 (default: 0).

The following options were not available in the original Solarized:

  • g:solarized_statusline: one of "normal" (default), "low" or "flat";
  • g:solarized_italics: set to 0 to suppress italics (default is 1).
  • g:solarized_old_cursor_style: set to 1 if you want to use the original Solarized's cursor style (default: 0). By default, the cursor is orange/red in light themes, and blue in dark themes (but please note that your terminal may override the cursor's color).
  • g:solarized_use16: set to 1 to force using your 16 ANSI terminal colors.
  • g:solarized_extra_hi_groups: set to 1 to enable Solarized filetype-specific syntax highlighting groups (default is 0). Please be aware that if your Vim is not recent enough you may encounter an issue with syntax items defined in color schemes.

All these options may be used with any Solarized 8 variant.

Troubleshooting

Hey, I do not get the right colors when running Vim inside tmux or in my favourite true-color enabled terminal!

Try putting this in your .vimrc:

let &t_8f = "\<Esc>[38;2;%lu;%lu;%lum"
let &t_8b = "\<Esc>[48;2;%lu;%lu;%lum"

See :h xterm-true-color for the details.

Hacking

Do you want to hack the theme? Install Colortemplate, edit the templates/*.colortemplate files, then rebuild the color schemes.

If you extend or improve Solarized 8, please consider submitting a pull request!

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Optimized Solarized colorschemes. Best served with true-color terminals!

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