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A subtle gradient button, derived from NSView.
Objective-C Ruby Shell
Branch: master


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A subtle gradient button derived from NSView.

Here are some examples using custom fonts and gradients:

Button preview


MRSubtleButton can be integrated into an existing project using CocoaPods. Simply add the necessary dependency to your Podfile as follows:

platform :osx, '10.7'
pod 'MRSubtleButton'

Run pod install to install.

Next, drag a custom view from the object library in Xcode into your UI, and change its class to MRSubtleButton.

Create an outlet for the button and give the button a title: [button setTitle:@"Hello World!"].

Responding to events

Implement the MRSubtleButtonDelegate protocol in your controller with the following method (don't forget to #import <MRSubtleButton.h> in your controller):

- (void)subtleButtonEvent:(NSEvent *)event with:(id)sender;

Set the button's delegate to your controller object: [button setDelegate:self].

Determine the type of event that occured by inspecting the event object's type in your delegate method and respond accordingly:

- (void)subtleButtonEvent:(NSEvent *)event with:(id)sender
  if ([event type] == NSLeftMouseDown) {
    // the left mouse button was pressed
  else if ([event type] == NSLeftMouseUp) {
    // the left mouse button was released

If you have more than one button with the same delegate you can determine which button generated the event by pointer comparison:

if (sender == [self button])
  // your button event implementation

Custom colours and fonts

The button's gradient and font attributes (both colour and size) can be adjusted. Setting the button's gradient is as easy as specifying a start and end colour (the gradient starts at the bottom edge of the button):

NSColor *start = [NSColor colorWithCalibratedRed:205.0f/255.0f green:183.0f/255.0f blue:158.0f/255.0f alpha:1.0f];
NSColor *end = [NSColor colorWithCalibratedRed:255.0f/255.0f green:239.0f/255.0f blue:213.0f/255.0f alpha:1.0f];

[[self button] setGradientWithStartColor:start endColor:end];

A subtle gradient works best, with an end colour that is just a few shades lighter than the start colour.

The button's highlight gradient—shown momentarily when the button is clicked— can be adjusted using the following method:

(void)setHighlightGradientWithStartColor:(NSColor *)startColor endColor:(NSColor *)endColor;

Adjusting a button's font attributes is just as easy:

NSFont *buttonFont = [NSFont fontWithName:@"Helvetica" size:18.0f];
NSColor *buttonFontColor = [NSColor colorWithCalibratedRed:139.0f/255.0f green:136.0f/255.0f blue:120.0f/255.0f alpha:1.0f]; 

[[self button] setFontAttributesWithFont:buttonFont color:buttonFontColor];

[[self button] setTitle:@"Customised button"];

Title alignment

Control the title text alignment using setTitleAlignment: and one of the three constants MRLeftTitleAlignment, MRRightTitleAlignment and MRCenterTitleAlignment:

[[self button] setTitleAlignment:MRCenterTitleAlignment];


The source code for MRSubtleButton uses Automatic Reference Counting and has been tested against 10.7 through 10.10 deployment targets.


MRSubtleButton is provided under the terms of the MIT License.


Email me at or tweet @marcransome.

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