rofi-theme - Man Page

Rofi theme format files


The need for a new theme format was motivated by the fact that the way rofi handled widgets has changed. From a very static drawing of lines and text to a nice structured form of packing widgets. This change made it possible to provide a more flexible theme framework. The old theme format and config file are not flexible enough to expose these options in a user-friendly way. Therefore, a new file format has been created, replacing the old one.

Format Specification


The encoding of the file is utf-8. Both unix (\n) and windows (\r\n) newlines format are supported. But unix is preferred.


C and C++ file comments are supported.

Comments can be nested and the C comments can be inline.

The following is valid:

// Magic comment.
property: /* comment */ value;

However, this is not:

prop/*comment*/erty: value;

White space

White space and newlines, like comments, are ignored by the parser.


property: name;

Is identical to:

     property             :


File extension

The preferred file extension for the new theme format is rasi. This is an abbreviation for rofi advanced style information.

Basic Structure

Each element has a section with defined properties. Global properties can be defined in section * { }. Sub-section names begin with a hash symbol #.

It is advised to define the global properties section on top of the file to make inheritance of properties clearer.

/* Global properties section */
* {
    // list of properties

/* Element theme section. */
{element path} {
    // list of properties
{elements... } {
    // list of properties

If there are multiple sections with the same name, they are merged. Duplicate properties are overwritten and the last parsed entry kept.

Global properties section

A theme can have one or more global properties sections. If there is more than one, they will be merged.

The global properties section denotes the defaults for each element. Each property of this section can be referenced with @{identifier} (See Properties section)

A global properties section is indicated with a * as element path.

Element theme section

A theme can have multiple element theme sections.

The element path can consist of multiple names separated by whitespace or dots. Each element may contain any number of letters, numbers and -'s. The first element in the element path should always start with a #. Multiple elements can be specified by a ,.

This is a valid element name:

element normal.normal {
    background-color: blue;
button {
    background-color: blue;

And is identical to:

element normal normal, button {
    background-color: blue;

Each section inherits the global properties. Properties can be explicitly inherited from their parent with the inherit keyword. In the following example:

window {
 a: 1;
 b: 2;
 children: [ mainbox ];
mainbox {
    a: inherit;
    b: 4;
    c: 8;

The element mainbox will have the following set of properties (if mainbox is a child of window):

a: 1;
b: 4;
c: 8;

If multiple sections are defined with the same name, they are merged by the parser. If multiple properties with the same name are defined in one section, the last encountered property is used.

Properties Format

The properties in a section consist of:

{identifier}: {value};

Both fields are mandatory for a property.

The identifier names the specified property. Identifiers can consist of any combination of numbers, letters and '-'. It must not contain any whitespace. The structure of the value defines the type of the property. The current parser does not define or enforce a certain type of a particular identifier. When used, values with the wrong type that cannot be converted are ignored.

The current theme format supports different types:

Some of these types are a combination of other types.

String.IP · 2

Format:  "[:print:]+"

A string is always surrounded by double quotes ("). Between the quotes there can be any printable character.

For example:

font: "Awasome 12";

The string must be valid UTF-8.

Integer.IP · 2

Format: [-+]?[:digit:]+

An integer may contain any number.

For examples:

lines: 12;

Real.IP · 2

Format: [-+]?[:digit:]+(\.[:digit:]+)?

A real is an integer with an optional fraction.

For example:

real: 3.4;

The following is not valid: .3, 3. or scientific notation: 3.4e-3.

Boolean.IP · 2

Format: (true|false)

Boolean value is either true or false. This is case-sensitive.

For example:

dynamic: false;


rofi supports the color formats as specified in the CSS standard (1,2,3 and some of CSS 4)

The white-space format proposed in CSS4 is also supported.

The different values are:


{named-color} is one of the following colors:

AliceBlue, AntiqueWhite, Aqua, Aquamarine, Azure, Beige, Bisque, Black, BlanchedAlmond, Blue, BlueViolet, Brown, BurlyWood, CadetBlue, Chartreuse, Chocolate, Coral, CornflowerBlue, Cornsilk, Crimson, Cyan, DarkBlue, DarkCyan, DarkGoldenRod, DarkGray, DarkGrey, DarkGreen, DarkKhaki, DarkMagenta, DarkOliveGreen, DarkOrange, DarkOrchid, DarkRed, DarkSalmon, DarkSeaGreen, DarkSlateBlue, DarkSlateGray, DarkSlateGrey, DarkTurquoise, DarkViolet, DeepPink, DeepSkyBlue, DimGray, DimGrey, DodgerBlue, FireBrick, FloralWhite, ForestGreen, Fuchsia, Gainsboro, GhostWhite, Gold, GoldenRod, Gray, Grey, Green, GreenYellow, HoneyDew, HotPink, IndianRed, Indigo, Ivory, Khaki, Lavender, LavenderBlush, LawnGreen, LemonChiffon, LightBlue, LightCoral, LightCyan, LightGoldenRodYellow, LightGray, LightGrey, LightGreen, LightPink, LightSalmon, LightSeaGreen, LightSkyBlue, LightSlateGray, LightSlateGrey, LightSteelBlue, LightYellow, Lime, LimeGreen, Linen, Magenta, Maroon, MediumAquaMarine, MediumBlue, MediumOrchid, MediumPurple, MediumSeaGreen, MediumSlateBlue, MediumSpringGreen, MediumTurquoise, MediumVioletRed, MidnightBlue, MintCream, MistyRose, Moccasin, NavajoWhite, Navy, OldLace, Olive, OliveDrab, Orange, OrangeRed, Orchid, PaleGoldenRod, PaleGreen, PaleTurquoise, PaleVioletRed, PapayaWhip, PeachPuff, Peru, Pink, Plum, PowderBlue, Purple, RebeccaPurple, Red, RosyBrown, RoyalBlue, SaddleBrown, Salmon, SandyBrown, SeaGreen, SeaShell, Sienna, Silver, SkyBlue, SlateBlue, SlateGray, SlateGrey, Snow, SpringGreen, SteelBlue, Tan, Teal, Thistle, Tomato, Turquoise, Violet, Wheat, White, WhiteSmoke, Yellow, YellowGreen,transparent

For example:

background-color: #FF0000;
border-color: rgba(0,0,1, 0.5);
text-color: SeaGreen;


background-color: transparent;
text-color: Black;

Text style.IP · 2

Format: (bold|italic|underline|strikethrough|none)

Text style indicates how the highlighted text is emphasized. None indicates that no emphasis should be applied.

Line style.IP · 2

Format: (dash|solid)

Indicates how a line should be drawn. It currently supports:
* dash:  a dashed line, where the gap is the same width as the dash
* solid: a solid line

Distance.IP · 2

Format: {Integer}px

A distance can be specified in 3 different units:

Distances used in the horizontal direction use the monitor width. Distances in the vertical direction use the monitor height. For example:

   padding: 10%;

On a full-HD (1920x1080) monitor, it defines a padding of 192 pixels on the left and right side and 108 pixels on the top and bottom.

Calculating sizes

Rofi supports some maths in calculating sizes. For this it uses the CSS syntax:

width: calc( 100% - 37px );

It supports the following operations:

  • +   : Add
  • -   : Subtract
  • /   : Divide
  • *   : Multiply
  • %   : Multiply
  • min : Minimum of l or rvalue;
  • max : Maximum of l or rvalue;

It uses the C precedence ordering.

Padding.IP · 2

Format: {Integer}

If no unit is specified, pixels are assumed.

The different number of fields in the formats are parsed like:

Border.IP · 2

Format: {Integer}

Borders are identical to padding, except that each distance field has a line style property.

When no unit is specified, pixels are assumed.


Indicate a place on the window/monitor.


It is possible to hide widgets:

inputbar {
   enabled: false; }

Reference.IP · 2


A reference can point to another reference. Currently, the maximum number of redirects is 20. A property always refers to another property. It cannot be used for a subpart of the property. For example, this is not valid:

highlight: bold @pink;

But this is:

* {
    myhigh: bold #FAA;

window {
    highlight: @myhigh;

Orientation.IP · 2

Format: (horizontal|vertical)

Specify the orientation of the widget.

List of keywords.IP · 2

Format: [ keyword, keyword ]

A list starts with a '[' and ends with a ']'. The entries in the list are comma-separated. The keyword in the list refers to an widget name.

Environment variable.IP · 2

Format: ${:alnum:}

This will parse the environment variable as the property value. (that then can be any of the above types). The environment variable should be an alphanumeric string without white-space.

* {
    background-color: ${BG};

Inherit.IP · 2

Format: inherit

Inherits the property from its parent widget.

mainbox {
    border-color: inherit;

Elements Paths

Element paths exists of two parts, the first part refers to the actual widget by name. Some widgets have an extra state.

For example:

element selected {

Here element selected is the name of the widget, selected is the state of the widget.

The difference between dots and spaces is purely cosmetic. These are all the same:

element .selected {

element.selected {
element selected {

Supported Element Path


The current widgets available in rofi:

Note that these path names match the default theme. Themes that provide a custom layout will have different elements, and structure.


State: State of widget

Optional flag(s) indicating state of the widget, used for theming.

These are appended after the name or class of the widget.


button selected.normal { }

element selected.urgent { }

Currently only the entrybox and scrollbar have states:


{visible modifier}.{state}

Where visible modifier can be:
* normal: no modification
* selected: the entry is selected/highlighted by user
* alternate: the entry is at an alternating row (uneven row)

Where state is:
* normal: no modification
* urgent: this entry is marked urgent
* active: this entry is marked active

These can be mixed.


nametotextbox {
    background-color: #003642;
    text-color: #008ed4;

Sets all selected textboxes marked active to the given text and background color. Note that a state modifies the original element, it therefore contains all the properties of that element.


The scrollbar uses the handle state when drawing the small scrollbar handle. This allows the colors used for drawing the handle to be set independently.

Supported Properties

The following properties are currently supported:

all widgets:.IP · 2

enabled:         enable/disable the widget

  • padding:         padding Padding on the inside of the widget
  • margin:          padding Margin on the outside of the widget
  • border:          border Border around the widget (between padding and margin)/
  • border-radius:    padding Sets a radius on the corners of the borders.
  • background-color:      color Background color
  • border-color:      color Color of the border

window:.IP · 2

font:            string The font used in the window


transparency:    string Indicating if transparency should be used and what type: real - True transparency. Only works with a compositor. background - Take a screenshot of the background image and use that. screenshot - Take a screenshot of the screen and use that. Path to png file - Use an image.


location:       position The place of the anchor on the monitor


anchor:         anchor The anchor position on the window


fullscreen:     boolean Window is fullscreen.


width:          distance The width of the window


x-offset:  distance


y-offset:  distance The offset of the window to the anchor point, allowing you to push the window left/right/up/down

scrollbar:.IP · 2

background-color:    color

  • handle-width:        distance
  • handle-color:        color
  • border-color:        color

box:.IP · 2

orientation:      orientation
   Set the direction the elements are packed.

  • spacing:         distance
       Distance between the packed elements.

textbox:.IP · 2

background-color:  color

  • border-color:      the color used for the border around the widget.
  • font:              the font used by this textbox (string).
  • str:               the string to display by this textbox (string).
  • vertical-align:    vertical alignment of the text (0 top, 1 bottom).
  • horizontal-align:  horizontal alignment of the text (0 left, 1 right).
  • text-color:        the text color to use.
  • highlight:         text style {color}. color is optional, multiple highlight styles can be added like: bold underline italic #000000;
  • width:             override the desired width for the textbox.
  • content:           Set the displayed text (String).
  • placeholder:       Set the displayed text (String) when nothing is entered.
  • placeholder-color: Color of the placeholder text.
  • blink:             Enable/Disable blinking on an input textbox (Boolean).

listview:.IP · 2

columns:         integer Number of columns to show (at least 1)

  • fixed-height:    boolean Always show lines rows, even if fewer elements are available.
  • dynamic:         boolean True if the size should change when filtering the list, False if it should keep the original height.
  • scrollbar:       boolean If the scrollbar should be enabled/disabled.
  • scrollbar-width: distance Width of the scrollbar
  • cycle:           boolean When navigating, it should wrap around
  • spacing:         distance Spacing between the elements (both vertical and horizontal)
  • lines:           integer Number of rows to show in the list view.
  • layout:           orientation Indicate how elements are stacked. Horizontal implements the dmenu style.
  • reverse:         boolean Reverse the ordering (top down to bottom up).
  • fixed-columns:    boolean Do not reduce the number of columns shown when number of visible elements is not enough to fill them all.

Each element is a box called element. Each element can contain an element-icon and element-text.

listview text highlight

The element-text widget in the listview is the one used to show the text. On this widget set the highlight property (only place this property is used) to change the style of highlighting. The highlight property consist of the text-style property and a color.

To disable highlighting:

  element-text {
    highlight: None;

To set to red underlined:

  element-text {
    highlight: underline red;


The new format allows the layout of the rofi window to be tweaked extensively. For each widget, the themer can specify padding, margin, border, font, and more. It even allows, as an advanced feature, to pack widgets in a custom structure.

Basic structure

The whole view is made out of boxes that pack other boxes or widgets. The box can be vertical or horizontal. This is loosely inspired by GTK ⟨⟩.

The current layout of rofi is structured as follows:

| window {BOX:vertical}                                                              |
| |-------------------------------------------------------------------------------|  |
| | mainbox  {BOX:vertical}                                                       |  |
| | |---------------------------------------------------------------------------| |  |
| | | inputbar {BOX:horizontal}                                                 | |  |
| | | |---------| |-----------------------------------------------------| |---| | |  |
| | | | prompt  | | entry                                               | |ci | | |  |
| | | |---------| |-----------------------------------------------------| |---| | |  |
| | |---------------------------------------------------------------------------| |  |
| |                                                                               |  |
| | |---------------------------------------------------------------------------| |  |
| | | message                                                                   | |  |
| | | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------| | |  |
| | | | textbox                                                               | | |  |
| | | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------| | |  |
| | |---------------------------------------------------------------------------| |  |
| |                                                                               |  |
| | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------------|  |
| | | listview                                                                    |  |
| | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------------|  |
| |                                                                               |  |
| | |---------------------------------------------------------------------------| |  |
| | |  mode-switcher {BOX:horizontal}                                           | |  |
| | | |---------------|   |---------------|  |--------------| |---------------| | |  |
| | | | Button        |   | Button        |  | Button       | | Button        | | |  |
| | | |---------------|   |---------------|  |--------------| |---------------| | |  |
| | |---------------------------------------------------------------------------| |  |
| |-------------------------------------------------------------------------------|  |

ci is the case-indicator

Error message structure

| window {BOX:vertical}                                                             |
| |------------------------------------------------------------------------------|  |
| | error-message {BOX:vertical}                                                 |  |
| | |-------------------------------------------------------------------------|  |  |
| | | textbox                                                                 |  |  |
| | |-------------------------------------------------------------------------|  |  |
| |------------------------------------------------------------------------------|  |

Advanced layout

The layout of rofi can be tweaked by packing the 'fixed' widgets in a custom structure.

The following widgets are fixed, as they provide core rofi functionality:

  • prompt
  • entry
  • overlay
  • case-indicator
  • message
  • listview
  • mode-switcher
  • num-rows
  • num-filtered-rows

The following keywords are defined and can be used to automatically pack a subset of the widgets. These are used in the default theme as depicted in the figure above.

  • mainbox Packs: inputbar, message, listview, mode-switcher
  • inputbar Packs: prompt,entry,case-indicator

Any widget name starting with textbox is a textbox widget, others are box widgets and can pack other widgets.

There are several special widgets that can be used by prefixing the name of the widget:

  • textbox: This is a textbox widget. The displayed string can be set with str.
  • icon: This is an icon widget. The displayed icon can be set with filename and size with size.
  • button: This is a textbox widget that can have a 'clickable' action. The action can be set to: ok accept entry. custom accept custom input. ok|alternate: accept entry and launch alternate action (for run launch in terminal). custom|alternate: accept custom input and launch alternate action.

To specify children, set the children property (this always happens on the box child, see example below):

children: [prompt,entry,overlay,case-indicator];

The theme needs to be updated to match the hierarchy specified.

Below is an example of a theme emulating dmenu:

* {
    background-color:      Black;
    text-color:            White;
    border-color:          White;
    font:            "Times New Roman 12";

window {
    anchor:     north;
    location:   north;
    width:      100%;
    padding:    4px;
    children:   [ horibox ];

horibox {
    orientation: horizontal;
    children:   [ prompt, entry, listview ];

listview {
    layout:     horizontal;
    spacing:    5px;
    lines:      10;

entry {
    expand:     false;
    width:      10em;

element {
    padding: 0px 2px;
element selected {
    background-color: SteelBlue;

Padding and margin

Just like CSS, rofi uses the box model for each widget.

| margin                                                            |
|  |-------------------------------------------------------------|  |
|  | border                                                      |  |
|  | |---------------------------------------------------------| |  |
|  | | padding                                                 | |  |
|  | | |-----------------------------------------------------| | |  |
|  | | | content                                             | | |  |
|  | | |-----------------------------------------------------| | |  |
|  | |---------------------------------------------------------| |  |
|  |-------------------------------------------------------------|  |

Explanation of the different parts:

  • Content - The content of the widget.
  • Padding - Clears an area around the widget. The padding shows the background color of the widget.
  • Border - A border that goes around the padding and content. The border use the border-color of the widget.
  • Margin - Clears an area outside the border. The margin is transparent.

The box model allows us to add a border around elements, and to define space between elements.

The size of each margin, border, and padding can be set. For the border, a linestyle and radius can be set.


Widgets that can pack more then one child widget (currently box and listview) have the spacing property. This property sets the distance between the packed widgets (both horizontally and vertically).

|  |--------| s |--------| s |-------|  |
|  | child  | p | child  | p | child |  |
|  |        | a |        | a |       |  |
|  |        | c |        | c |       |  |
|  |        | i |        | i |       |  |
|  |        | n |        | n |       |  |
|  |--------| g |--------| g |-------|  |

Advanced box packing

More dynamic spacing can be achieved by adding dummy widgets, for example to make one widget centered:

|  |-----------|  |--------|  |-----------|  |
|  | dummy     |  | child  |  | dummy     |  |
|  | expand: y |  |        |  | expand: y |  |
|  |           |  |        |  |           |  |
|  |           |  |        |  |           |  |
|  |           |  |        |  |           |  |
|  |-----------|  |--------|  |-----------|  |

If both dummy widgets are set to expand, child will be centered. Depending on the expand flag of child the remaining space will be equally divided between both dummy and child widget (expand enabled), or both dummy widgets (expand disabled).


To get debug information from the parser, run rofi like:

G_MESSAGES_DEBUG=Parser rofi -show run

Syntax errors are shown in a popup and printed out to command line with the above command.

To see the elements queried during running, run:

G_MESSAGES_DEBUG=Theme rofi -show run

To test minor changes, part of the theme can be passed on the command line, for example to set it to full-screen:

rofi -theme-str '#window { fullscreen:true;}' -show run

To print the current theme, run:

rofi -dump-theme

Media support

Parts of the theme can be conditionally loaded, like the CSS @media option.

@media ( min-width: 120 ) {


It supports the following keys as constraint:

@media takes an integer number or a fraction, for integer number px can be added.

@media ( min-width: 120 px ) {


Multiple file handling

The rasi file format offers two methods of including other files. This can be used to modify existing themes, or have multiple variations on a theme.


@import "myfile"
@theme "mytheme"

The specified file can either by name, filename,full path.

If a filename is provided, it will try to resolve it in the following order:

A name is resolved as a filename by appending the .rasi extension.


Several examples are installed together with rofi. These can be found in {datadir}/rofi/themes/, where {datadir} is the install path of rofi data. When installed using a package manager, this is usually: /usr/share/.

See Also

rofi(1), rofi-script(5), rofi-theme-selector(1)

Referenced By

rofi(1), rofi-script(5).