jbeard4 jbeard4 -3 years ago 237
C Question

How to make Gtk+ window background transparent?

I'd like to make the background of a Gtk+ window transparent so that only the widgets in the window are visible. I found a few tutorials:



But they both appear to listen to the "expose" event, and then delegate to Cairo to do the rendering. This means that other widgets added to the window are not rendered (for example, I've tried adding a button to the window as well).

I see that there's a method modify-bg on GtkWidget: http://library.gnome.org/devel/gtk/stable/GtkWidget.html#gtk-widget-modify-bg

However, GdkColor does not appear to accept a parameter for transparency: http://library.gnome.org/devel/gdk/stable/gdk-Colormaps-and-Colors.html

I've tried the GtkWindow.set_opacity method as well, but this sets the opacity for the window contents as well, which is not what I want.

I'd appreciate any guidance anyone can provide in this.

Answer Source

I changed the alphademo example to draw a button instead of the red circle.

This application draws the button on a 400x400 transparent window.

When you click on the window the application shows/hides the title bar.

#include <gtk/gtk.h>
#include <gdk/gdkscreen.h>
#include <cairo.h>

static void screen_changed(GtkWidget *widget, GdkScreen *old_screen, gpointer user_data);
static gboolean expose(GtkWidget *widget, GdkEventExpose *event, gpointer user_data);
static void clicked(GtkWindow *win, GdkEventButton *event, gpointer user_data);

int main(int argc, char **argv)
    gtk_init(&argc, &argv);

    GtkWidget *window = gtk_window_new(GTK_WINDOW_TOPLEVEL);
    gtk_window_set_position(GTK_WINDOW(window), GTK_WIN_POS_CENTER);
    gtk_window_set_default_size(GTK_WINDOW(window), 400, 400);
    gtk_window_set_title(GTK_WINDOW(window), "Alpha Demo");
    g_signal_connect(G_OBJECT(window), "delete-event", gtk_main_quit, NULL);

    gtk_widget_set_app_paintable(window, TRUE);

    g_signal_connect(G_OBJECT(window), "expose-event", G_CALLBACK(expose), NULL);
    g_signal_connect(G_OBJECT(window), "screen-changed", G_CALLBACK(screen_changed), NULL);

    gtk_window_set_decorated(GTK_WINDOW(window), FALSE);
    gtk_widget_add_events(window, GDK_BUTTON_PRESS_MASK);
    g_signal_connect(G_OBJECT(window), "button-press-event", G_CALLBACK(clicked), NULL);

    GtkWidget* fixed_container = gtk_fixed_new();
    gtk_container_add(GTK_CONTAINER(window), fixed_container);
    GtkWidget* button = gtk_button_new_with_label("button1");
    gtk_widget_set_size_request(button, 100, 100);
    gtk_container_add(GTK_CONTAINER(fixed_container), button);

    screen_changed(window, NULL, NULL);


    return 0;

gboolean supports_alpha = FALSE;
static void screen_changed(GtkWidget *widget, GdkScreen *old_screen, gpointer userdata)
    /* To check if the display supports alpha channels, get the colormap */
    GdkScreen *screen = gtk_widget_get_screen(widget);
    GdkColormap *colormap = gdk_screen_get_rgba_colormap(screen);

    if (!colormap)
        printf("Your screen does not support alpha channels!\n");
        colormap = gdk_screen_get_rgb_colormap(screen);
        supports_alpha = FALSE;
        printf("Your screen supports alpha channels!\n");
        supports_alpha = TRUE;

    gtk_widget_set_colormap(widget, colormap);

static gboolean expose(GtkWidget *widget, GdkEventExpose *event, gpointer userdata)
   cairo_t *cr = gdk_cairo_create(widget->window);

    if (supports_alpha)
        cairo_set_source_rgba (cr, 1.0, 1.0, 1.0, 0.0); /* transparent */
        cairo_set_source_rgb (cr, 1.0, 1.0, 1.0); /* opaque white */

    /* draw the background */
    cairo_set_operator (cr, CAIRO_OPERATOR_SOURCE);
    cairo_paint (cr);


    return FALSE;

static void clicked(GtkWindow *win, GdkEventButton *event, gpointer user_data)
    /* toggle window manager frames */
    gtk_window_set_decorated(win, !gtk_window_get_decorated(win));

Compiled on Ubuntu 10.04:

gcc alpha.c -o alpha -I/usr/include/gtk-2.0 -I/usr/lib/gtk-2.0/include -I/usr/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/lib/glib-2.0/include -I/usr/include/cairo -I/usr/include/pango-1.0 -I/usr/include/atk-1.0 -lgtk-x11-2.0
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