I saw many complaints in the Bento forum about the built-in themes. Our friend Patrick created the first custom themes called Neutral. BentoUsers featured them prominently (see Themes category). Then I offered my own Theme Creation service. No one was really interested – I know that was because people hate to take advantage of me…

So here is a tutorial for the do-it-yourselfer so no one has to ask anyone for help anymore. This works starting with Bento 2 !

Warning: this is not for the faint-hearted because it’s a (legal) hack. For that reason please only proceed at your own risk.

After the whole tutorial has been published I might make it available as a PDF.

First, download this Sample ThemePack zip file. It should become the template file for any new theme(s) you create. This sample file contains one theme, but one ThemePack file can contain any number of themes.

After it’s downloaded, navigate to you Downloads folder and double-click the zip file. Your unzipped file should look like this:

Downloads folder view

I always recommend to keep the zip file so you can start over when something goes wrong.
Select the ThemePack file and then ctrl-click it:

Show Package Contents

Choose Show Package Contents. A new finder window opens.

Open the Contents and then the Resources folder:

Sample Theme

Starfield Casual is the sample customized theme. Select it and repeat the previous steps (ctrl-click – Show Package C., …) and you should see this window:

Attributes File

This is the window we’ll always come back to.

To whet your appetite for Part Two next week, open the Attributes.plist file with TextEdit and look around…

Please use the Comments to ask any questions that come up in the meantime.



3 Responses to “Customizing Themes – Part One”

  1. GrMagi on February 25th, 2009 7:50 pm

    Thanks! Looking forward to next week!

  2. Brendan on March 7th, 2011 1:16 pm

    Hello! Thanks for the get info. I downloaded the trial of Bento last week and have been messing around with it – but your site has so much more information than the other extremely weak tutorials online. Much appreciated!

  3. Totally Remove Field Labels! : BentoUsers on October 25th, 2012 11:39 am

    [...] Note: to learn the details of editing themes (how to get to the plist file mainly), you will have to revisit my original tutorial at: Customizing Themes in Bento [...]