I wanted to change the colours of Anzu's counter, taking the foreground from the Isearch match background and the background from the fringes, like this

enter image description here

So I evaluated

(face-spec-set 'anzu-mode-line `((t :foreground ,(face-attribute 'isearch :background)
                                    :background ,(face-attribute 'fringe :background)))

and it worked. I added it to my init.el, restarted the emacs server... and then it looked like this:

enter image description here

How do I fix that?

PS If I launch Emacs from the command line instead of opening a client frame, then the faces get the right colours. It also works if I put strings in place of the face-attribute forms:

(face-spec-set 'anzu-mode-line '((t :foreground "magenta3"
                                    :background "grey95"))

2 Answers 2


Use custom-set-faces instead (not tested).

  '(anzu-mode-line ((t (:foreground ,(face-attribute 'isearch :background)
                        :background ,(face-attribute 'fringe :background))))))
  • Niet, it looks the same as in the second picture in the question. I've noticed that the customize menu reports ((t (:background "gray" :foreground unspecified))) as the value of the face and I have no idea why. Oct 8, 2020 at 20:31
  • Maybe because isearch and fringe need to be set first?
    – choroba
    Oct 8, 2020 at 21:26
  • I thought that too, so I tried with with-eval-after-load 'isearch and the after-make-frame-functions hook but it didn't change anything. Oct 8, 2020 at 21:32

Update: Emacs 27 provides server-after-make-frame-hook, which makes it easier to copy face properties for client sessions.

(defun my-anzu-faces ()
  (face-spec-set 'anzu-mode-line `((t
                                    :foreground ,(face-attribute 'isearch :background)
                                    :background ,(face-attribute 'mode-line-inactive :background)))
(if (daemonp)
    (add-hook 'server-after-make-frame-hook #'my-anzu-faces)

This works for client sessions as well as stand-alone ones.

Well, it seemed that the problem was that the face properties which I wanted anzu-mode-line to take were still unspecified at the time of setting it, so I kept on messing around with hooks and with-eval-after-load until I came up with this

(add-hook 'after-make-frame-functions
          (lambda (frame)
            (with-selected-frame frame
              (face-spec-set 'anzu-mode-line `((t
                                                :foreground ,(face-attribute 'isearch :background)
                                                :background ,(face-attribute 'fringe :background)))

As you can probably guess, I'm not sure it is the optimal solution, but it is a solution.

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