Creating a Theme

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LMMS is very flexible when it comes to theming its interface. All the image files used by the program can be accessed directly through a directory and edited by an image editor. Unfortunately, despite the ease, there hasn't been much interest in theme development; only a few themes have made it to the LMMS Sharing Platform, where they can be downloaded, rated, and commented on by users. This guide aims to help, guide, and motivate artists interested in creating themes, and interest those who aren't.

About Theming

A theme is a collection of files (mostly images) that set the "look and feel" of LMMS. It consists of a .css stylesheet, an .xml file, and many .png images. It can be usually downloaded as a .tar.gz archive which has to be extracted in the themes directory.

On a regular install on Linux, the default themes directory is:

/usr/share/lmms/themes/

On Windows it's in the themes folder inside the LMMS installation directory.

Prerequisites

To create a new theme, or to modify an existent one, some fairly basic knowledge is required:

  • CSS (find an easy free course and learn on the web!)
  • image manipulation skills (gimp, inkscape, paint, ..)
  • browsing through directories
  • compressing files into archives
  • LMMS Sharing Platform account

Remember

  • The default theme is named default, and can be found in the themes folder.
  • Each theme has its own folder with its images inside.
  • If your theme is missing some files, LMMS will use the default ones.
  • Capitalization matters on Linux.

Getting Started

The best thing is to make a copy of the default folder, rename that copy (i.e. "MyTheme"), and then open the image files with an image editor and modify them as you wish. You can also replace them completely, but be careful with the image dimensions: sometimes they can be a bit different; sometimes they cannot!

Testing Your Theme

To test your theme, all you need to do is open LMMS, go to Edit->Settings->Paths (folder icon), and enter the path to your new theme folder.

Sharing Your Theme

Compressing
Once your theme is complete, it's a great idea to compress it to .tar.gz and share it with the community :) On Linux you run "tar cfz theme.tar.gz" to compress. On Windows you can use 7zip for this purpose. Be aware of this: 7zip does not let you compress directly to a tar.gz file. First you compress the folder to a .tar file, then you will have to compress the new file again with the gzip (.gz) or bzip2 (.bz2) format.

The LMMS Sharing Platform is the best place for sharing themes. Remember that you'll need to register to upload content (it's free).

  • Just be cautious about licences and patent infringements if you used others' images!