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Theming in Qtractor

/ Edited: 17/01/2024 /
Topic for everything related to Qtractor theming.
Themes availables:
(Attach two starting approaches for two visual themes and a proposal for functionalities.)

Image icon master_theme.png252.26 KB
Image icon punk_theme_2.png237 KB
Image icon conf.png44.92 KB

Track colors are for visually organizing the sequencer. It is something very personal and each project may require different modes of organization.

Someone may prefer to identify groups of instruments with exactly the same color, another person with different shades of the same color, another prefers not to organize it by groups of instruments but by functionality (percussions, accompanists, soloists), another by nuances to differentiate a midi instrument from one of recorded audio (which is no longer necessary thanks to the incorporation of the audio/midi color bar). Even the same person can decide to take different strategies for different projects.

It is not something that depends on the VisualTheme.

If it is true, I find the current color selection interface of Me Track to be cumbersome. You select the main track color, and then it's hard to find the equivalent track clip.
I think it's something I could try to improve myself and make a proposal. But the truth is that I still don't know how to solve it conceptually.

Regarding the issue of "secondary" icons, you have made me think and I think you are partly right. I will take it into account for the next version of the VisualTheme.
It is something that will take time because first I want to study several things well:
- What exact parts of Qtractor does each color of the colorTheme affect?
- What parts of Qtractor are configurable by QSS (style)?
- Those that don't, see if they can be made configurable by adding identifiers to the Qtractor source code and sending the proposals to Rui.
- Standardize for my projects degrees of luminosity and tone that guarantee satisfactory viewing on screens with little dynamic range.

And before this I want to dedicate some time to using Qtractor again to make music (it seems incredible but this Themes thing has taken up a lot of my time). :-)

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I completely understand and appreciate this response.

I'm finding myself becoming somewhat addicted to this thread and have messed around a bit trying to build off your cool Tecnico theme. Here's what I have so far....

Highlight, Link, and LinkVisited are all set to #555555

Now on a track, I set Foreground to #878c6a and Backgroundto #222222 and here's what we get (my window layout may seem a bit odd if you're unfamiliar with tiling window managers)

There are some problems however as it seems we now see some colors are hard-coded. Specifically, when we add and select data...

There's also the side-effect that newly created tracks will be created with entirely new colors and need to be manually changed after the fact. Of course, this is a feature of Qtractor itself and I totally get that. That said, it would be nice to disable that feature at a global level in order to set things up once if that's your preference.

I just realized how good those icons would look if the blue were changed to #878c6a in order to match the background we see in other areas of the theme. Sorry to keep going on this thread but your work is fantastic and has me addicted.


Yes, the results can be unpredictable, that's why I tell you that I have to do an in-depth study of how the color scheme is applied to each Qtractor part.

Later, these types of incidents would be solved with the QSS style (if possible). But to see if it is possible or not I also have to study it.

I plan to publish all the documentation I create and do a "How to make VisualThemes for Qtractor".

All this will take time.

I'm glad you like it :-).

Of course, I was just sharing info..... not trying to push. I've written enough code to recognize your perfectly sane approach and couldn't agree more that this will take time.

rncbc's picture

while the background colors are hard-coded, the text colors of the status-bar items (eg. REC, LOOP, MUTE, SOLO, and XRUN) are indeed taken from the current color scheme and an overlooked leftover from ancient times (as old as of Qt3 era, I confess)...

not anymore: check qtractor >= for the rescue.

hth. cheers

So cool!

There are those who like to take advantage of the change of year to change their appearance.

I bring you version 1.5 of Tecnico.
A Qtractor Visual Theme with analog flavor.

[ Download ]

G3N, This is impressive, and I've installed your theme, as the clip editor is much easier to read and work in, imho.

I have a question.

In the Tecnico theme you've set clip colours (background) as various shades of white to grey. Where in the Colours.conf, or Theme files can I change the default?

If you are referring to the midi editor, the background is defined by the "Base" color.
This affects other parts like the background in menus...

In each topic I learn new things about the structure of Qtractor, and QSS.

It really should be possible to create a theme in which all parts are controlled and it is more predictable how changing a color affects the rest of the interface.

Even add a guide to the README of the themes that identifies each color and the parts it affects.

But all this for a possible future, if there are really users who demand it and Qtractor by default supports .qss management. (I don't know if that feature is going to be added to the official branch).

For now, I think I have achieved my goal with Tecnico: leaving Qtractor to my liking and opening a door to theming for the community.
By establishing a defined format (vtq), functionalities and workflows can be expanded in this regard.

For example, a hypothetical functionality in which Qtractor reads the readme and imports and configures all the parts of the theme on its own: Colors, style and icons.

I was referring to the clip colours in the main window (Open a track and there are two settings, Foreground and Background. I'm referring to the Background colours).

The midi editor with the Tecnico theme is more than fine as it is, imho. I've just tried the other two themes in version 2, and they're good too, but Tecnico is really easy on the eye, and not replete with saturated colours.

A big thank you for sharing your work.

As you indicate, those colors do not depend on the theme, but on the user. Recently Rui added a feature so that the background color was automatically selected in a light version of the foreground.

You simply select the foreground and press "auto" in the background.

Qtractor has a functionality that allows you to control the saturation of the colors in the list. I consider that it should be accessible from that same form, however, since it is a general configuration, we find it in:

view > options > display > track color saturation

For technical purposes it is a general configuration, but for practical purposes it is a track configuration. Where it is goes unnoticed.

Ok, now I see some light regarding the Foreground and Background.

Thanks for the tip about saturation.

Thank you very much and Happy new year! While we're here, would there be a way to support the inclusion of a known file should it exist? As an example, you gave me that super excellent code to eliminate scrollbars and zoom buttons which I've appended onto the .qss file. It would be cool if the file were to contain some kind of "include" statement, something along the lines of this psuedo-code:

include { file: Tecnico-local.qss }

That would be local configs could be persisted independently and not be clobbered by upgrades. Not being a QT guy myself, I skimmed but didn't see anything obvious.

All the best

Very nice job. Looks really good! Any chance you'd consider setting the background colors of the Thumb View to match those from the track area? Right now, it seems to be a fairly dark gray. Given there are 2 colors making up the backdrop of the track area (a lighter and darker representing bar offsets), that would probably fit in very nicely with the Thumb View since the "in scope" area is lighter and the "not in scope" area is darker.

I have implemented your suggestion partially. As you suggested, it looked too rusty for my taste.

Track controllers depend on colors:
Window: For normal.
Midlight: For selected.

You can put it to your liking :-)

As for "include", @import exists in css, but qss does not support it.
My idea is to create a ThemeVisual format that includes color, style and icons, and that Qtractor could manage ThemesVisual collections like it does with plugin collections.
I'm still developing the concepts.
Qtractor would have a space in options for custom.sth (custom styles).

If Qtractor does not do it in the future, we can always do it by hand, although it is somewhat more cumbersome :-).

I have edited the previous entry. You can download version 1.2 from there.

rncbc's picture

hi, there's this branch xstylesheet that actually makes it a formal option (View > Options... > Display > Custom > Style sheet)

note that it then overrides the cumbersome -stylesheet command line option; please test & tell, whether it's good enough or else for ya ;)


Hello Rui,
The option does not appear in the .ui file.

PD: Drupal banned me by mistake. If you can solve it I would appreciate it.

rncbc's picture

oops. I must have overlooked the push on the late year... it's now there alright ;) thanks

ps. you probably failed to logon too many times before--the ban is temporary and should be clear now or isn't?

It works fantastic :-).
(A great gift from the Three Wise Men)

Taking into account that for now there is only one person creating style themes, and that there is only one theme created... if someone wants a fine adjustment such as eliminating the scrolls, making the mixer tracks wider.... etc etc etc, just pasting those fine adjustments at the end of the .qss is functional.

If the Visual Themes Qtractor project matures, and more people are encouraged to build Themes, new functionalities could be proposed.

I hope this functionality is merged into master.

PS: Drupal likes me again XD

Hi Rui,

I just took a look for the option and don't see it in

rncbc's picture

as said, the option is only available on the xstylesheet branch.


Ah! overlooked that. Thanks.

rncbc's picture

to all branches: qtractor >=


ps. xs2tylesheet branch is now posed to be deleted/removed shortly...

Thank you for this. It's great!

Hi G3N-es,

Thanks for the update. I think however, you misunderstood my suggestion. I was not suggesting the colored offsets of the track background area be changed. I was suggesting that the background colors of the Thumb View would look better if they matched the colors previously described. Right now, the Thumb View uses a very dark hard-coded gray color.

The Thumb View background color is definitely not reachable via Window as that setting updates the plugin area of a track, the surrounding area of dialog boxes, and the background color of the mixer.

All the best

Now I understand.

Well, honestly, your proposal seems right to me.

If the thumbnail represents the sequencer, it is more visually recognizable if it takes the background color of the sequencer.

Currently Qtractor takes this color from "Dark" color theme, and should take it from "Mid" on sequencer and fron "Base" on midi editor.

If Rui sees sense in it, I vote for the change. I see it coherent.

rncbc's picture


changed both from "dark" to "base" palette colors; in


Thank you


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