How to change the colours in KDE 4

This page explains step-by-step how to change the overall colour scheme in KDE 4 for Linux. You can also customise the specific colours for text and backgrounds.

Video how to guide

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Changing colours in KDE 4

Change your colours

Step 1: Open the 'Colour settings' window

Click on the 'K' icon on the menu bar, or press Alt + F1, to open 'Kickoff' as shown in Fig 1.

Fig 1'Kickoff' menu

Click on 'Computer' and then 'System Settings', or use the arrow keys to select these and then press Enter, to open the 'System Settings' window shown in Fig 2.

(Some setups may vary. In this example, 'System Settings' is also available from the 'Favourites' tab, as shown in Fig 1.)

Fig 2'System Settings' window

Click on the 'Appearance' icon, or press Tab to enter the main window, and then use the arrow keys to navigate to 'Appearance' and then press Enter.

In the window that opens, shown in Fig 3, click on the 'Colours' icon, or press Tab until the pane on the left is highlighted, then use the down arrow key to move to 'Colours'.

Fig 3'Color settings' window showing the 'Scheme' tab

Step 2: Change your colour scheme

Under the 'Colour scheme' header, click on the colour scheme you want from the list, or press Tab until one of the colour schemes is highlighted, then use the up and down arrow keys to scroll to the scheme you want.

(In some versions of KDE, you can see more schemes. To do this, click on the 'Get New Schemes' button, or press Alt + N. Note that this option is not keyboard-friendly and the 'Install' option can only be accessed via a mouse.)

If you want to customise specific text or background colours, go to Step 3. Otherwise, if you are happy with the scheme you have selected, click on the 'Apply' button or press Alt + P (it may be Alt + A in some versions of KDE) to save your changes.

Click on the 'Overview' button or press Esc to return to the previous screen. Click the 'Close' cross or press Alt + F4 to return to the KDE desktop.

Step 3: Customise your colour scheme

If you want to change any of the text or background colours in your chosen scheme, click on the 'Colours' tab, as shown in Fig 4, or press Alt + C (in older versions, you will need to press Alt + L instead).

Fig 4'Color settings' window showing the 'Colours' tab

Click on the colour box to the right of any of the text or background options listed below 'Common Colours' to open the 'Select Colour' window (shown in Fig 5). Alternatively, press Tab until one of the options below 'Common Colours' is highlighted, then use the up and down arrows keys to select the one you want, followed by the right arrow key to highlight the colour box beside it, and finally press Enter to open the 'Select Colour' window (shown in Fig 5).

Fig 5'Select Colour' window

Choose the colour you want and click the 'OK' button, or press Alt + O. Repeat these steps for any other text or background colours you want to customise.

When you are happy with the colour scheme you have created, click on the 'Apply' button or press Alt + P (it may be Alt + A in some versions of KDE) to make your changes take effect.

You can also save your custom colours as a new scheme. To do this, click on the 'Scheme' tab (as shown in Fig 3) or press Alt + S. Then click on the 'Save Scheme' button, or press Alt + V (it may be Alt + S in some versions of KDE). A dialogue box will open asking you to name your colour scheme. When you have done this, click the 'OK' button or press Alt + O.

Click on the 'Overview' button or press Esc to return to the previous screen. Click the 'Close' cross or press Alt + F4 to return to the KDE desktop.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

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