Theme Manager

The theme manager is a simple external application, which is included with the installer on Windows and buildable on Unix, that helps install themes.

The themes are distributed as .hct files. These are just simply ZIP archives that you can extract manually and install into your config folder. Some themes can be found here.


.NET 4 is required to run the theme manager; You can download it here



Colors are defined in Settings ‣ Preferences ‣ Colors. Text Colors set the palette for events to use. The rest like background color directly affect parts of the UI.

mIRC colors (0-15) are what you refer to when sending colored text over IRC for others to see and vice versa, because of this they should somewhat follow a set of standards so clients can agree 4 is red.

Local colors (16-31) are to be used by HexChat only and can be anything you wish, these are typically what you use in your events.

Text Events

Text events control the look of every event you see. They can be customized in Settings ‣ Text Events using these codes to format it:

  • %C<fg>,<bg> Color code
  • %U Underlined text
  • %B Bold text
  • %H Hide text
  • %O Normal text
  • $t Text separator
  • $<num> Event information


Always hit enter after editing a field.


HexChat comes with built in icons for the tray, user list, and channel tree (which can be disabled in Preferences). You can use custom icons by placing icons (16x16 recommended) in an icons subdir, which may need to be created, within your config folder. The icons must be named as follows:

  • User List
    • ulist_netop.png
    • ulist_founder.png
    • ulist_owner.png
    • ulist_op.png
    • ulist_halfop.png
    • ulist_voice.png
  • Channel Tree
    • tree_channel.png
    • tree_dialog.png
    • tree_server.png
    • tree_util.png
  • Tray Icon
    • tray_fileoffer.png
    • tray_highlight.png
    • tray_message.png
    • hexchat.png

Gtk Theme

To customize more than just text color you can place a gtkrc file in <installdir>\etc\gtk-2.0

Buttons, Menus, and Popups

Userlist Popup

Popups are shown when you right click on a nickname, either in the userlist or in the main chat itself. These can be edited in Settings ‣ Userlist Popup

The Name column can take either just the name of the entry (_ characters represent keyboard shortcuts), SUB/ENDSUB for submenus, SEP for separators, and TOGGLE for toggleable options.

The Command column can take any command with text formatted using the same codes as text events and on top of that they also have their own codes:

  • %a all selected nicks
  • %c current channel
  • %h selected nick’s hostname
  • %m machine info
  • %n your nickname
  • %s selected nickname
  • %t time/date
  • %u selected nick’s account (2.9.6+)

As a sidenote the gui_ulist_doubleclick setting can run a command using these codes when double-clicking a nick in the userlist.

Userlist Buttons

Buttons are shown below the userlist, can be edited in Settings ‣ Userlist Buttons, and take the same syntax as Userlist Popup for commands.


In order to add custom entries to your menu you need to first enable the usermenu with the command /set gui_usermenu on which may require a restart. Once this is enabled you can go to Usermenu ‣ Edit this Menu to add any command you would like. For menu entries it supports the same as Userlist Popups.