Let's say I want my file notes.org to have a specific background color. How to do that? But I want other files to adhere to the standard theme color for background.

So, I want yellow background for notes.org but the theme background color for everything else.

It should be something simple, but I can't find the way how to do it.

I would prefer a way I can set it via elisp code in my init (.spacemacs) file. Preferably without the need to create a custom theme just for one file etc. The least favorite option is to put it in # Local Variables eval but if the only way it's possible is this way, I will be thankful for even that solution.

  • 1
    Does this answer your question? How to modify-face for a specific buffer? Perhaps try using something like the following code snippet and combine it with the same approach as in the accepted answer of the related linked thread: (add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda () (when (string-match "notes\\.org$" buffer-file-name) (face-remap-add-relative ...)))) The face at issue is named default and the spec is :background.
    – lawlist
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 16:29
  • @lawlist I have tried this: (add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda () (when (string-match "notes\\.org$" buffer-file-name) (face-remap-add-relative 'stripe-highlight '(:foreground "black" :background "yellow"))))) but it is not working. The background is still white in notes.org. ;(
    – fegax
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 8:59
  • Why are you suggesting to close this question, when it is not working ;( ?
    – fegax
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 14:35
  • I can't find anywhere solution for this. Please, if somebody know what to do change in the code, let me know. Thank you.
    – fegax
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 14:35
  • 1
    (add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda () (when (and (not (null buffer-file-name)) (string-match-p "notes\\.org$" buffer-file-name)) (face-remap-add-relative 'default '(:foreground "black" :background "yellow")))))
    – lawlist
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


To get this

Change color of just a single buffer

do this

  1. C-x C-f somefile.org
  2. Add the following three lines to very end of file
# Local Variables:
# eval: (face-remap-add-relative 'default :foreground "black" :background "yellow")
# End:

  1. C-x C-s. Do M-x revert-buffer RET.
  2. Profit.

If the file of interest is in some other mode, and not org-mode the above suggestion will not work. In that case, use

M-x add-file-local-variable RET eval RET (face-remap-add-relative 'default :foreground "black" :background "yellow") RET

Save the file. Kill the buffer. Re-open the file.

  • Instead of killing the buffer and reopening it, just call normal-mode.
    – db48x
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 5:22
  • Yes. Thanks. Today I learnt about normal-mode.
    – user31220
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 5:49

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