Optimized Solarized colorschemes. Best served with true-color terminals!
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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, of course, 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 colorscheme works out of the box everywhere. For the best experience, you need:

Solarized 8 also works in MacVim, gVim, etc…: no configuration is needed.

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. This is a very crude approximation, which looks more or less like this:

Dark 256 color palette Light 256 color palette

(Yeah, it looks like a different colorscheme.)

If you don't 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 scripts/solarized8.sh; no setting is needed in Vim. Note, however, that this is not supported by all terminals (e.g., in macOS's Terminal.app this approach does not work: the script has no effect).

  2. Set your terminal's 16 ANSI colors (the colors in the range 0–15) to the Solarized palette. Most terminals allow you to do that: see the manual of your terminal to learn how. Then, put this line in your vimrc before loading the colorscheme:

    let g:solarized_use16 = 1

    Be aware that, if you set the variable above, but your terminal does not use the Solarized palette, your colors will be completely off.

Finally, if your terminal does not support true colors, you must not set termguicolors.


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 your favourite installation method.

There are actually four optimized* colorschemes:

  • solarized8: the default Solarized theme;
  • solarized8_low: low-contrast variant;
  • solarized8_high: high-contrast variant;
  • solarized8_flat: “flat” variant (not present in the original Solarized, see screenshots above).

To use any of them, set the background (dark or light) then load the colorscheme, e.g.:

set background=dark
colorscheme solarized8

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

Note: the old names (solarized8_dark* and solarized8_light*) have been removed in v1.1.1. Please use one of the names above.

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

* On my machine, the original Solarized loads in ~3.5ms, while the command above takes ~1.6ms. Even with extra highlight groups on (see options below), Solarized 8 loads in about ~2.0ms. The loading time depends on the background and on the terminal palette, but it should never be more than 3ms on average (light background, 16 colors).


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) or "low";
  • g:solarized_term_italics: set to 1 to enable italics in the terminal (default is 0).
  • 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_extra_hi_groups: set to 1 to enable Solarized filetype-specific syntax highlighting groups (default is 0). Please be aware that there is a long standing issue with extra highlight groups.
  • g:solarized_use16: see above.

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


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.


Do you want to hack the theme? Install Colortemplate, edit the *.colortemplate files, then rebuild the colorschemes by sourcing scripts/make_colorschemes.vim.

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