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Aurorae is a theme engine for KWin window decorations. It uses SVG to render the decoration and buttons and there is a simple config file for configuring the theme details.

This theme engine uses Plasma technology to render the window decoration. Every detail can be themed by the usage of SVG. The theme engine uses Plasma's FrameSvg, so you can provide SVG files containing borders. This is described in more detail in Plasma's Theme description.

The theme consists of one folder containing svgz files for decoration and buttons, one KConfig file for the theme details and one metadata.desktop file which you can use to name your theme, author information, etc.

Although the engine uses Plasma technology, it isn't Plasma. So it does not know anything about Plasmoids and you will never be able to put Plasmoids into the decoration. That is out of scope of this engine.

Aurorae uses the features provided by KWin 4.3. So the themes can provide their own decoration shadows and it is recommended that your themes provide those. The engine supports ARGB decoration which is enabled by default. If you provide a theme using translucency, please make sure, that it works without compositing as well.

Window Decoration

The window decoration has to be provided in file "decoration.svgz". This svg has to contain all the elements required for a Plasma theme background. The decoration has to use the element prefix "decoration".

If you want to provide a different style for inactive windows you can add it to the same svg. The inactive elements must have the element prefix "decoration-inactive". The theme engine tests for this prefix and if not provided inactive windows will be rendered with the same style as active windows.

You have to provide a special decoration for opaque mode, that is when compositing is not active. This opaque decoration is used for generating the window mask. The element prefix is "decoration-opaque" for active and "decoration-opaque-inactive" for inactive windows. The mask is generated from the active window.

Maximized Windows

In order to better support maximized windows there exists a special frame svg called "decoration-maximized". In the same way as for the general decoration you can specify a version for inactive, opaque and inactive-opaque. This results in the following names:

  • decoration-maximized
  • decoration-maximized-inactive
  • decoration-maximized-opaque
  • decoration-maximized-opaque-inactive

In all cases only the center element will be used. There is no need to specify borders. Please note that in case of a window with translucent widgets the center element will be stretched to the size of the complete window.

The following fallback strategy is used: if inactive is not present it falls back to the active. If opaque is not present it falls back to the translucent. If none of the maximized elements are present the center element of the decoration is used!

In order to support Fitts' Law all TitleEdge Settings are set to 0. So the buttons will be directly next to the screen edges. You have the possibility to overwrite these settings (see below).


You have to provide a svgz file for each button your theme should contain. If you do not provide a file for a button type the engine will not include that button, so your decoration will miss it. There is no fallback to a default theme. The buttons are rendered using Plasma's FrameSvg as well. So you have to provide the "center" element. Borders are not supported

You can provide the following buttons:

  • close
  • minimize
  • maximize
  • restore
  • alldesktops
  • keepabove
  • keepbelow
  • shade
  • help

Each button can have different states. So a button could be hovered, pressed, deactivated and you might want to provide different styles for active and inactive windows. You can use the following element prefix to provide styles for the buttons:

  • active: normal button for active window
  • inactive: normal button for inactive window
  • hover: hover state for active window
  • hover-inactive: hover state for inactive window
  • pressed: button is pressed
  • pressed-inactive: pressed inactive button
  • deactivated: button cannot be clicked, e.g. window cannot be closed
  • deactivated-inactive: same for inactive windows

You have at least to provide the active element. All other elements are optional and the active element is always used as a fallback. If you provide the inactive element, this is used as a fallback for the inactive window. That is, if you provide a hover element, but none for inactive, the inactive window will not have a hover effect. Same is true for pressed and deactivated. Reasonable that means if you provide a deactivated and an inactive element you want to provide a deactivated-inactive element as well.

Configuration file

The configuration file is a normal KConfig file. You have to give it the name of your decoration with suffix "rc". So if your theme has the name "deco", your config file will be named "decorc". The following section shows the possible options with their default values.


  • [General]
    • TitleAlignment: horizontal alignment of window title (Default: Left)
    • TitleVerticalAlignment: vertical alignment of window title (Default: Center)
    • Animation: animation duration in msec when hovering a button and on active/inactive change (Default: 0)
    • ActiveTextColor: title text color of active window (Default: 0,0,0,255)
    • InactiveTextColor: title text color of inactive window (Default: 0,0,0,255)
    • UseTextShadow: Draw Shadow behind title text (Default: false)
    • ActiveTextShadowColor: Shadow text color of active window (Default: 255,255,255,255)
    • InactiveTextShadowColor: Shadow text color of active window (Default: 255,255,255,255)
    • TextShadowOffsetX: Offset of shadow in x direction (Default: 0)
    • TextShadowOffsetY: Offset of shadow in y direction (Default: 0)
    • HaloActive: Draw halo behing title of active window (Default: false; since 4.5)
    • HaloInactive: Draw halo behing title of inactive window (Default: false, since 4.5)
    • LeftButtons: buttons in left button group (Default: see KWin defaults)
    • RightButtons: buttons in right button group
    • Shadow: decoration provides shadows: padding values have to be added (Default: true)


The layout is based on the layout metric used by KCommonDecoration. The following diagrams illustrate which configuration value influences which part of the decoration. The available configuration options and their default values are listed below.


|              TitleEdgeTop                                     |
| TitleEdgeLeft |   [title]                    | TitleEdgeRight |
|              TitleEdgeBottom                                  |
| |                                                           | |
| |                                                           | |
| |                                                           | |
|BorderLeft                                          BorderRight|
|              BorderBottom                                     |


| ButtonMarginTop             |             |              ButtonMarginTop |
|_____________________________|             |______________________________|
| [Buttons] | TitleBorderLeft | TitleHeight | TitleBorderRight | [Buttons] |


| button | spacing | button | spacing | explicit spacer | spacing | ...    | spacing | button |


  • [Layout]
    • BorderLeft: (Default: 5)
    • BorderRight: (Default: 5)
    • BorderBottom: (Default: 5)
    • TitleEdgeTop: (Default: 5)
    • TitleEdgeBottom: (Default: 5)
    • TitleEdgeLeft: (Default: 5)
    • TitleEdgeRight: (Default: 5)
    • TitleEdgeTopMaximized: As above for maximized windows (Default: 0)
    • TitleEdgeBottomMaximized: As above for maximized windows (Default: 0)
    • TitleEdgeLeftMaximized: As above for maximized windows (Default: 0)
    • TitleEdgeRightMaximized: As above for maximized windows (Default: 0)
    • TitleBorderLeft: (Default: 5)
    • TitleBorderRight: (Default: 5)
    • TitleHeight: (Default: 20)
    • ButtonWidth: (Default: 20)
    • ButtonWidthMinimize: optional - default depends on ButtonWidth
    • ButtonWidthMaximizeRestore: optional - default depends on ButtonWidth
    • ButtonWidthClose: optional - default depends on ButtonWidth
    • ButtonWidthAlldesktops: optional - default depends on ButtonWidth
    • ButtonWidthKeepabove: optional - default depends on ButtonWidth
    • ButtonWidthKeepbelow: optional - default depends on ButtonWidth
    • ButtonWidthShade: optional - default depends on ButtonWidth
    • ButtonWidthHelp: optional - default depends on ButtonWidth
    • ButtonWidthMenu: optional - default depends on ButtonWidth
    • ButtonHeight: (Default: 20)
    • ButtonSpacing: (Default: 5)
    • ButtonMarginTop: (Default: 0)
    • ExplicitButtonSpacer: (Default: 10)
    • PaddingTop: Padding added to provide shadows (Default: 0)
    • PaddingBottom: Padding added to provide shadows (Default: 0)
    • PaddingRight: Padding added to provide shadows (Default: 0)
    • PaddingLeft: Padding added to provide shadows (Default: 0)


All theme files (decoration, buttons, metadata.desktop and configuration file) have to be stored in one directory with the name of the theme (this has to be identical to the one used for the config file). You have to create a tar.gz archive from that directory. This archive is the theme, which can be installed in the kcm for window decorations.

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