the Kaleidoscope logo you love

download Lloyd's Kaleidoscope schemes

Theme technology lives on!
Windows 10: How to enable Dark Theme mode, upgrade Home to Pro edition, Vinod Yalburgi, International Business Times, 7 August 2015.
How to enable Dark Mode on OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Jason Cipriani, CNet, 16 October 2014.
Mac OS X Gets The Dark Theme We've All Been Waiting For In Yosemite Preview 3, Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch, 7 July 2014.

Apple Theme technology
Custom Mac OS X themes with Duality and ThemePark!
Mac Theme editor is threatened by Apple
Prototype Scheme-to-Theme converter
Download Doghouse theme examiner
Themes mailing list. Theme guide (end of page)

Apple-designed interfaces with Kaleidoscope
High Tech Kaleidoscope scheme
Aqua III Kaleidoscope scheme
Download Aqua schemes from info-mac!
Catalogue of removed Aqua schemes
critique of Aqua by Tog.

Apple interfaces on Windows with WindowBlinds

Lucas Everett, being hopeful

Author of the scheme-to-theme converter speaks! Jeffrey Shulman says he'd like to see the converter released for third-party scheme creators to use as a first step in creating Themes. Of course, they'd have to release Themes first...

Apple demonstrates scheme-to-theme converter

at the WWDC Live Demo 1998 - Appearance Manager in 8.5

Here, Apple demonstrate a converter that generates MacOS 8.5 ('Allegro') Appearance themes from Kaleidoscope 1.8 schemes. Since designing Kaleidoscope schemes is far easier than designing Apple Themes, and the Appearance Manager will always be faster and more compatible than Kaleidoscope, this converter is significant in providing a starting point for scheme designers to learn how to design Themes.

As a result of this demonstration, Arlo Rose has suggested closing down the Kaleidoscope Scheme Archive (KSA) and its collection of over one thousand Kaleidoscope schemes, which would prevent Mac users from getting the full benefit from the Appearance Manager with the scheme-to-theme converter:

The way I see it, if Apple gives this little utility away, it not only obviates Kaleidoscope sales for 8.5 customers, it also makes the whole archive one big free place to scheme leach for 8.5 users. Unless Apple is willing to help pay for the site, Greg and I (and Eric too) might as well close off the 1.X scheme archive.
Fortunately, some scheme authors have their own webpages, as this handy alphabetical index to scheme webpages demonstrates.

Greg Landweber later added:

The KSA is supported by revenues from Kaleidoscope. One possible outcome of this scheme-to-theme converter is that people might stop registering Kaleidoscope and instead use Kaleidoscope schemes under Appearance via the scheme-to-theme converter. Under those circumstances, it doesn't make sense for us to continue using Kaleidoscope money to support the KSA. Please note that this is just a hypothetical situation, and it is not necessarily what is going to happen or what we are planning to do.

We are not going to do anything out of spite, nor is it our intention to deprive Mac users of the schemes on the KSA to diminish the Appearance Manager. However, we aren't going to spend our own money on the KSA if all it does is support the Appearance Manager and not our own product.

In any case, we'll have to see how this plays out before we do anything. Judging by a recent post on Usenet by the guy who wrote the converter, it is not even clear whether Apple will actually release this tool.

A Quicktime movie of this speech was available. For those of you who don't want to download a large (10.4Mb) movie (that appears to be no longer available), here's a transcript.
I can go into the Appearance control panel and I'm sure you're all familiar with Platinum since MacOS 8 came out.

And let me show you some of the other things we've got. I'm sure a lot of you have seen Gizmo before in our previous demos.

(Shows Gizmo)

Kinda wacky. Another theme was have is Hi-Tech. It is a slick, metallic, hi-tech look.

(Shows Hi-Tech)

But a theme I know you haven't seen yet is called Drawing Board... and as it switches on here... it was done - um - by our designers in Apple Japan.

(Shows Drawing Board)

It's visually striking but at the same time very subtle and you can see the currently selected menu it is designated with an underline. There's no hardlines in the interface... let me open another window to give you and idea what things look like.

(opens a Finder window)

We think it's pretty slick.


So some of you may be wondering with switchable themes how do Kaleidoscope schemes fit into the grand picture. Well, uh, let me show you a little technology demo we're going to do.

(Opens a pop-up window)

I've got a scheme file here. And I'm going to drop it on our internal theme tool. Our theme tool is going to start...

(Dialog box appears after drag/drop operation. No process indicator, but it appears to list each resource as it is processed.)

...taking the scheme data and start building a theme out of it. In fact it's going to take several minutes and I've got a prebuilt one. So save the boredom.

(Cancels the conversion, closing the tool and opens a different pop-up window)

So this file was generated by our tool and it's ready to drop in the System folder.

(Drag/drops file to the System Folder)

I can go back to the Appearance Control Panel and switch into Onyx.

(Selects second tab from left, then topmost pop-up menu, and chooses Onyx. Screen changes to Onyx. Applause.)

Scheme data is actually a subset of Theme data. A scheme designer could, in theory, take a scheme file, put it on some sort of conversion tool, have it generate a theme work file, and take that theme work file, put it on some sort of theme tool and add finishing touches - add some of the missing pieces, make sure the colours are all right, and generally complete it until it looks good.

Brought to you by the Kaleidoscope World

Lloyd Wood (
last updated 12 September 2003