Override Xresources

Learn how to stage user copies of Regolith configuration files

Regolith relies on the Xresources system to provide a consolidated interface configuration. By changing Xresources values, Regolith can be customized in ways such as updating the user interface, specifying custom behaviors, or defining a specific format for some of the blocklets on the bar.

In Regolith, Xresources values can be changed via two methods: supplying your own Xresources files, and overriding the existing Xresources values. The latter approach is strongly recommended, as it makes upgrading to newer versions of Regolith less likely to break your customizations. If you copy the Xresources tree completely you’ll need to integrate any breaking changes in future versions manually.


When a Regolith session is started, Xresources are loaded in the following order:

~/.XresourcesYIntended for non-Regolith settings
~/.Xresources-regolithYA global override to replace all Regolith settings
/etc/regolith/styles/rootNThe default Regolith Xresources file if ~/.Xresources-regolith does not exist
~/.config/regolith/XresourcesYApplies specific overrides to Xresources defaults

It is recommended to use ~/.config/regolith/Xresources for customization as it doesn’t require the specification of redundant settings and is easier to maintain over time.

Determining which values can be changed

The xrdb tool can be used to list the existing Xresources values. There is a number of existing overrides in the R1.4.1 release:

$ xrdb -query
gnome.icon.theme:   Moka
gnome.terminal.font:    JetBrains Mono 12
gnome.terminal.scrollbar:   never
gnome.wallpaper:    /usr/share/backgrounds/ESP_016895_1525_desktop.jpg
gnome.wm.theme: Ayu-Mirage-Dark


Note that the commands presented below append text to a file, so running the command more than once will result in duplicate entires.

Example - Update the UI for High DPI Screens

By using the ~/.config/regolith/Xresources override file, we will only need to specify the values we wish to change. The xrdb tool can be used to determine what current values are set to.

  1. Create or add the following value to your ~/.config/regolith/Xresources file:
Xft.dpi: 192
  1. Reload the Xresources configuration:
$ regolith-look refresh
  1. Open a new terminal to see the change take effect.

192 is just an example value, please adjust as needed.

Example - Change i3 bar position

$ xrdb -query | grep position
i3-wm.bar.position: bottom
$ echo "i3-wm.bar.position: top" >> ~/.config/regolith/Xresources
$ regolith-look refresh

Example - Change GTK Theme

$ xrdb -query | grep gtk
gnome.gtk.theme:    Ayu-Mirage-Dark
$ echo "gnome.gtk.theme:    Adwaita" >> ~/.config/regolith/Xresources
$ regolith-look refresh

Example - Disable the System Tray

$ echo "i3-wm.bar.trayoutput:   none" >> ~/.config/regolith/Xresources
$ regolith-look refresh

Example - Use Alt instead of Win as Super

$ echo "i3-wm.mod: Mod1" >> ~/.config/regolith/Xresources
$ echo "i3-wm.alt: Mod4" >> ~/.config/regolith/Xresources

Then Reload i3 for the change to take effect (on Regolith 1.5+ there is an active regression here with a temporary fix in the issue)

Example - Launch nm-applet when i3 starts

Some users prefer to use the nm-applet program to configure and manage their wireless network (from Regolith 1.5 onwards nm-applet is run by default in the background). i3 config file can be updated to launch any arbitrary program at start time. But, rather than copying the whole file, we can supply up to 3 programs via Xresources without having to change the i3 config file. For this to work, also make sure that the system tray is enabled (see above).

$ echo "i3-wm.program.1: /usr/bin/nm-applet" >> ~/.config/regolith/Xresources

This change requires you to log back in before the change takes effect.

Further Reading

See the reference page for configurations for more details about config files in Regolith.