Is it possible in emacs-24 to set up a solid-colored mode-line with my color choice? ... for example, the entire mode-line would have a red background, and all mode-line text fields would be in foreground white?

I used to be able to do this in emacs-23 via color-theme.el, but now, all the "modeline*" settings that color-theme uses only seem to affect the buffer-name portion of the mode-line, and not that entire line.

Am I out of luck in emacs-24, or is there some way to color the entire mode line?

Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    This blog was very useful to me when I started learning how to configure the mode-line-format: amitp.blogspot.com/2011/08/emacs-custom-mode-line.html It's a little more complicated than just selecting a theme or pressing a button. Various components can have different foreground/background faces, and there are also the active/inactive faces.
    – lawlist
    Dec 17, 2015 at 19:08
  • Thank you. I have checked out that blog and now, I have re-read it. This describes how to set the attributes for the individual components (buffer name, etc.); however, it doesn't describe how to set the background of the entire mode line. Are there any docs for how to do this in emacs-24?
    – HippoMan
    Dec 18, 2015 at 14:09
  • There are only two faces that control overall background and foreground color: M-x customize-face RET mode-line RET and M-x customize-face RET mode-line-inactive RET Setting those two faces will not override individual components that have a specific color, but they will affect general text that does not have a face specifically assigned.
    – lawlist
    Dec 18, 2015 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


Thanks to lawlist, I now know that the answer to my question is this: set the attributes for the faces "mode-line" and "mode-line-inactive".

  • Could you please edit your post to make it self-contained? For example, it would help others if you could post the actual code you used to address the problem.
    – Dan
    Dec 18, 2015 at 19:36

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