Themes customize Textadept’s look and feel. The editor’s built-in themes are “light”, “dark”, and “term”. The GUI version uses “light” as its default and the terminal version uses “term”.

Light Theme    Dark Theme    Term Theme

Each theme is a single Lua file. It contains color and style definitions for displaying syntactic elements like comments, strings, and keywords in programming language source files. These definitions apply universally to all programming language elements, resulting in a single, unified theme. Themes also set view-related editor properties like caret and selection colors.

Note: The only colors that the terminal version of Textadept recognizes are the standard black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white, and bold variants of those colors. Your terminal emulator’s settings determine how to display these standard colors.

Setting Themes

Override the default theme in your ~/.textadept/init.lua using the ui.set_theme() function. For example:

ui.set_theme(not CURSES and 'dark' or 'custom_term')

Either restart Textadept for changes to take effect or type reset() in the command entry.

Customizing Themes

Like with modules, try to refrain from editing Textadept’s default themes. Instead, put custom or downloaded themes in your ~/.textadept/themes/ directory. Doing this not only prevents you from overwriting your themes when you update Textadept, but causes the editor to load your themes instead of the default ones in themes/. For example, having your own light.lua theme results in Textadept loading that theme in place of its own.

There are two ways to go about customizing themes. You can create a new one from scratch or tweak an existing one. Creating a new one is straightforward – all you need to do is define a set of colors and a set of styles. Just follow the example of existing themes. If instead you want to use an existing theme like “light” but only change the font face and font size, you have two options: call ui.set_theme() from your ~/.textadept/init.lua with additional parameters, or create an abbreviated ~/.textadept/themes/light.lua using Lua’s dofile() function. For example:

-- File *~/.textadept/init.lua*
ui.set_theme('light', {font = 'Monospace', fontsize = 12})

-- File *~/.textadept/themes/light.lua*
dofile(_HOME..'/themes/light.lua')['font'] = 'Monospace'['fontsize'] = 12

Either one loads Textadept’s “light” theme, but applies your font preferences. The same techniques work for tweaking individual theme colors and/or styles, but managing more changes is probably easier with the latter.


Textadept also allows you to customize themes per-language through the events.LEXER_LOADED event. For example, changing the color of functions in Java from orange to black in the “light” theme looks like this:

events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function(lang)
  if lang == 'java' then['style.function'] = 'fore:%(color.light_black)'

GUI Theme

There is no way to theme GUI controls like text fields and buttons from within Textadept. Instead, use GTK+ Resource files. The “GtkWindow” name is “textadept”. For example, style all text fields with a “textadept-entry-style” like this:

widget "textadept*GtkEntry*" style "textadept-entry-style"

Getting Themes

For now, the wiki hosts third-party, user-created themes. The classic “dark”, “light”, and “scite” themes prior to version 4.3 are there too.