I just helped a colleague to configure package.el, smex, and ido and set up a nice theme (spolsky from the sublime-themes package) for Aquamacs.

When I evaluate (load-theme 'spolsky t) everything looks just fine, but when Aquamacs is started, the main text that is supposed to be white is black. This is fixed when I manually evaluate (load-theme 'spolsky t) with C-x C-e.

The configuration file is minimal and nowhere do I change any colours explicitly. The only theme-related line is (load-theme 'spolsky t).

Since this is Aquamacs and not GNU Emacs (which I'm using) I don't really know how to debug this. (I don't even know how to run a GUI Aquamacs from the command line because I'm completely Mac-illiterate.)

How can I debug this? There is no error message displayed and the equivalent of custom.el does not mention any colours.

  • I've never used Aquamacs, but you should be able to run it from the command line using something like /Applications/Aquamacs.app/Contents/MacOS/Aquamacs.
    – legoscia
    Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 11:17

1 Answer 1


The themes installed are stored in ~/.emacs.d/elpa/your-installed-theme/. You could edit the theme file and investigate what line is causing the text to be black, then restart emacs and see if you caught the evil guy.

But a possibility that comes to my mind is that emacs is using more than one theme, and that generally causes visual glitches. To prevent that, run M-x customize-themes and uncheck Select more than one theme at time.

  • Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the cause. "Select more than one theme at a time" is unchecked.
    – user2005
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 8:25
  • I should also note that the theme works fine for me using GNU Emacs 24.5.1 on Fedora.
    – user2005
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 8:26

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