I manually installed the Solarized colour scheme from the Vim-only repository and adjusted my ~/.vimrc as indicated in the documentation, including using set background=dark.

GVim 7.4 (GTK3) under Kubuntu 16.04 correctly displays the dark solarized theme. However, changing the configuration to set background=light as detailed in the documentation results in the same dark color scheme after calling colourscheme solarized again or after restarting Vim with the new configuation. How do I use the light theme in GVim?

PS: I installed G/Vim (GTK3) 8.0 from the git source. It, too, does not display the light theme.


1 Answer 1


This is what works for me (GVim 7.4, Ubuntu 16.04.2):


set background=dark
set t_Co=16              " fix for bg being too bright
colorscheme solarized

" gvim specific settings here                       
if has('gui_running')
    set background=light
    set guioptions-=T    " no toolbar
    set linespace=5      " to show underscores not as space
  • Have you tested that? I would have thought (another) colorscheme would be required after setting the light background? Either way, this is unrelated to my question, as I have followed the instructions for the light theme, but it does not appear.
    – SabreWolfy
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 18:18
  • 2
    I copied these settings directly from my vimrc. So yes it's tested and works (at least on my system).
    – jhscheer
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 18:27
  • @SabreWolfy: You don't generally need to call :colorscheme after setting the background. As :help 'background' states: "When a color scheme is loaded (the "g:colors_name" variable is set) setting 'background' will cause the color scheme to be reloaded. If the color scheme adjusts to the value of 'background' this will work."
    – Rich
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 8:47

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