The GTK Window Decorator is the default window decorator provided with the Compiz package. It provides basic window borders and shadow support. It consists of two themes, Cairo decorations and Metacity decorations. GTK Window Decorator requires GNOME as it uses GConf to store it's settings.

To launch GTK Window Decorator, use:

gtk-window-decorator --replace

Cairo Window Decorations

GTK Window Decorator with Cairo themes

The Cairo based window decorator can be enabled by navigating in GConf to /apps/gwd/use_metacity_theme and changing it to FALSE.

The Cairo based window decorator provides a basic theme with common features such as

  • A window menu
  • A title
  • Minimize
  • Maximize
  • Close
  • Shade, by double clicking on the titlebar.

There is no way to change the cairo theme. It reads the colors from your GNOME GTK widget theme if it is provided, and if not, it will revert to the default color, grey.

Metacity Window Decorations

GTK Window Decorator with Metacity themes

The Metacity based window decorator can be enabled by navigating in GConf to apps/gwd/use_metacity_theme and changing it to TRUE.

GTK Window Decorator can also use your current Metacity (GNOME Window Manager) window border as it's own border. This will import all settings from this decoration, such as the title, the location of the buttons and how big the window border is.

Your window decorations will change as you change your GNOME window theme. To configure the Metacity theme, just use the tools provided with GNOME to configure your window theme as normal.

It is also important to note that GTK Window Decorator will add an alpha channel to your window decorations, and inactive decorations will be semi-transparent. This can be changed with the GConf keys

  • /apps/gwd/metacity_theme_opacity For inactive windows

  • /apps/gwd/metacity_theme_active_opacity For active windows


GTK Window Decorator also provides basic shadow support. To configure the shadows, you will need to launch Compiz with the GConf plugin, or use the GConf backend in LibCompizConfig. The keys are stored in /apps/compiz/plugins/decoration/allscreens/options



Shadow Color

What color the shadows are

Shadow Offset X

How much the shadow is offset on the X-Axis

Shadow Offset Y

How much the shadow is offset on the Y-Axis

Shadow Opacity

How transparent the shadow is

Shadow Radius

How big the shadow is


Finally, the GTK Window Decorator supports Compiz blur. To change the filter to use, navigate to /apps/gwd/blur_type and enter in one of these values:

  • all - to blur the whole decoration

  • titlebar - to blur the title bar only

  • none - to not blur the decoration at all