This page describes how themes work in poezio and how to create or modify one.

A theme contains color attributes and character definitions. Poezio can display up to 256 colors if your terminal supports it. Most of the time, if it doesn’t work, that’s because the $TERM environnment variable is wrong. For example with tmux or screen, set it to screen-256color, in xterm, set it to xterm-256color, etc.

If your terminal doesn’t have 256 colors, only 8 colors will be available, and poezio will replace the colors by one of the 8 values available. Thus, some theme files may not work properly if you only have 8 colors, for example light gray on dark gray may be converted to black on black, making the text impossible to read).


The default theme should work properly in any case. If not, that’s a bug.

A theme file is a python file (with the .py extension) containing a class, inheriting the theming.Theme class defined into the theming poezio module.

To check how many colors your current terminal/$TERM supports, do:

tput colors

Create a theme

To create a theme named foo, create a file named into the theme directory (by default it’s ~/.local/share/poezio/themes/) and add:

import theming

class FooTheme(theming.Theme):
      # Define here colors for that theme
theme = FooTheme()

To define a color pair and assign it to the COLOR_NAME option, just do

class FooTheme(theming.Theme):
      COLOR_NAME = (fg_color, bg_color, opt_attr)

You do not have to define all the Available options, you can decide that your theme will only change some options, the other one will just have the default value (from the default theme).

Colors and attributes

A color pair defines how the text will be displayed on the screen. It has a foreground color (fg_color), a background color (bg_color) and an optional attribute (opt_attr).


A color is a number between -1 and 255. If it is -1, this is the default color defined by your terminal (for example if your terminal displays white text on black by default, a fg_color of -1 is white, and a bg_color of -1 is black). If it’s between 0 and 256 it represents one of the colors on this image:

The list of all 256 colors

The list of all 256 colors


An attribute is a python string (so, it has to be surrounded by simple or double quotes). It can be one of the following:

  • 'b': bold text
  • 'u': underlined text

Use a theme

To use a theme, just define the theme option into the configuration file to the name of the theme you want to use. If that theme is not found, the default theme will be used instead.

Note that the default theme is defined directly into poezio’s source code, and not in a theme file.

Change the theme directory

To change the default theme directory (~/.local/share/poezio/themes/ by default), you have to change the themes_dir option in the configuration file to the directory that contains your theme files.

Available options


This section is not complete.

All available options can be found into the default theme, which is into the file from the poezio’s source code.

class poezio.theming.Theme[source]

The theme class, from which all themes should inherit. All of the following values can be replaced in subclasses, in order to create a new theme.

Do not edit this file if you want to change the theme to suit your needs. Create a new theme and share it if you think it can be useful for others.