I'd like to adjust the background colour of the part of the diffs displayed by Magit. In particular, the background colour of the text 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the image. I'd like to increase the contrast between the background of the unchanged section and the changed section.

What is the correct setting to customize?

Image of my emacs session

Also, when I recently restarted emacs, it started showing the mode-line and section headers in a very small font (as shown). How do I change these font sizes to be the same as the regular text?

Emacs version: GNU Emacs 24.3.1 (x86_64-redhat-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 3.22.10) of 2017-09-12 on x86-017.build.eng.bos.redhat.com

Magit version: Some version from five years ago.

1 Answer 1


In Emacs the appearance of certain text is controlled using something called "faces". You should learn about faces and how to change them by reading the documentation.

To quickly change how something looks you can often put point (aka the cursor) on that thing that you want to change and then type M-x customize-face. That will often offer you the appropriate face as default completion candidate. Type RET to select it and then modify the face in the customization interface that shows up.

You cannot place the cursor in the mode-line to figure out the appropriate face as described above, but assuming that it is named mode-line would be a safe guess.

Also, you really should update Magit.

  • Running customize-face while point was at the face to be changed was the bit that I didn't know. I've been able to modify the correct face for increased contrast. The small font size on the mode-line went away when I restarted emacs after it hung when I tried to set the face height to 100 (tenths of a point). Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 22:43

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