1 (edited by Lucasbs 2012-09-27 07:00:54 am)

Topic: Help on creating a theme

I'm new here.

I made using photoshop the desktop I've always dreamth with. See the pics:
(In fullscreen, preferable - download the original by context menu)


But I know nothing about programming, neither about LiteStep
And it seems to be the only desktop editor on the market.


1st - Are the features I'm looking after possible to be implemented using LiteStep ?
(free toolbars, autofit, auto-resize, transparencies, buttons... everything)

Just need someon to say "get real, too much for a silly program" IF that's the case...

2nd - Is there any of you interested in helping me ? Or doing it for me...

(Take the credits for you. Don't care about it. Just want the thing)

The pictures are self explained.
Any questions just ask.

I've tried reading a tutorial here: http://lsdocs.shellfront.org/litestep.php
but doesn't give you a step by step for theme creating.
Also, the features I want seem not to be possible with the few commands I see there.


Re: Help on creating a theme

First of all, welcome to LiteStep.

Learn programming is just a detail, but I confess that'll give you much advantage if you know more than the basics.
If you know how to work with Photoshop, you will not have many difficulties in creating a theme.
After all, LiteStep by itself does absolutely nothing without modules that uses the theme.
This is a very important point. Each module provides a property to your theme, you already took the first step is to idealize your theme.
Now you need to choose which modules you will need to make your idea a reality.


first: Not everything is possible, you will be able to use xPopup combined with xlabel for toolbars, auto fit is also possible,
the auto-resize as transparencies and the buttons as well.

Second: I might do that, but it takes time to create, then it will take a while to get ready because I do not have much time.

If you want to learn something about LiteStep create themes, see here:

And always read the manuals that come with the modules so you know how to use them.


Re: Help on creating a theme

To answer the first question:
I'm not sure that a 100% reproduction is possible, but the main bulk of it can be done with labels and popups. The "connecting lines" would be an area of difficulty. Transparency can also cause some issues.

The dual-purpose commandline/search box would also be difficult. I'm not sure if everything can be done solely with litestep. Our command-type module is pretty smart when it comes to LS related stuff, but pales in some areas. "Launchy" is a search/launch command-line which is themeable, and is stronger in that area than our LSxCommand. You might be able to theme launchy to mirror that look.

For the other, an alternative CLI program might also be more helpful. I know there /are/ some opensource bash-like programs out there meant to replace cmd.exe, that have some features like transparency and themability, which might better fit your needs (although I'm not 100% certain what they are currently).

To answer the 2nd:
Everyone is really generous with knowledge and helping you with advise. To be blunt, I really doubt anyone will do the whole thing for you. You have to be willing to do it yourself.

The guidelines at lsdocs is actually really old. 0.24.6 is something like 10 years old, or more. A lot of the basic information is good, but anything module specific is kinda antiquated. I had a theme I was working on that was basically a step-by-step example of how to theme, but I lost it in the ether when one of my previous computer incarnations bit the dust, and I haven't bothered to put the time in to reproduce it.


Re: Help on creating a theme

Thanx Golem,
Valeu Diamond.

It'll take me some time to read everything Diamond passed me through that link (sourceforge).
It seems good on a first look.

...And not 10 years old (lol)

I do know a little about C language.
(I get it, it comes important because of the organization you learn, right ?)

Good to know that the core is possible.
That connecting line and that dual purpose box are kinda uninportant, as a second thougth. They pollute the air... they consume space...

Will search for an alternative once I get the rest.
(Downloading Launchy right now, by the way.)

Just gave the idea of people making it for me cause some do it as a hobby.

A full step-by-step may be not necessary.
At first.

I will be here when I have a question.

(Not so soon, by the way. Me busy too.
Got Assembly, VHD, G-machineCode, and etc languages still to learn from school.)

Thanks for the warm welcome.

For any tips, I'm here.

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5 (edited by Lucasbs 2012-10-10 18:29:14 pm)

Re: Help on creating a theme

Maybe I said things too early.

OTS website only talks about the standard structure. Doesn't tell a thing about creating, nor has a single link to that matter.

Shellfront Has many many stuff, but 90% of their links are broken. Specially the tutorials and the modules descriptions.

Knowing the function I want to implement is easy. Now, to discover which module does that is impossible.

Really, How did you guys learn how to make these stuff ?

A few specific answers that would help me:
(and including the module function problem, three lines above, to be answered)

- How/where do I start programming ?

I already have the folder structure
- Litestep - Themes - MyTheme - images (empty for now)
                                            - config (with empty_content.rc)
                                            - theme.rc (with theme's name/author, $images/configdir$, and still to be filled with the modules and the .rcs_to_be_included)

- When do I use bangs ? When do I use $%&;@#^!& ? What is jDeskWorkArea ?
(and many other commands I have to know about)

xLabels and Popup for example. How do I assemble them ? How do relate them with the pictures and the icons and the links and everything ?

- When I press Start+E it will not start the explorer.exe (which brings the windows taskbar along), right ? It'll only open a window, right ?

Litestep uses the Windows's windows, right ? The only thing LiteStep mod is the desktop, right ?

- How do I make floating toolbar with tabs, and put icons on that toolbar for each tab ?
(yeah, that's what I first designed in the initial pictures)
A very important point to note is that I don't want to start things with a context menu navigation (like most of the themes). I like Icons all the time on the desktop (not loose on the desktop, in this case, but inside the toolbar).
The tray icons, like the battery and sound. They can stay normal, appearing all the time. But I want to be able to move them around, and maybe attatch on the bottom of the top toolbar.

- Would MagicPink (magenta) make the transparencies I want ?
Is this transparency adjustable or absolute ?

- And the automatic wallpaper changer that I have now with windows 7. Will no longer be able to use it ?

Somethings I would like to make clear:

If I learn which commands I have to use, and what I must look for when operating with them, OK. I can go out and read instructions over the internet.
But I don't even know where to begin.

I'm also studying some themes I've downloaded (many are not OTS (in some, there's no config folder. All is in theme.rc !), on others, bad things happen during install, and their behavior seem strange. That's why it's a little difficult to try'n mimic their content, IT IS HARD TO KNOW WICH COMMANDS IN THERE DO WHAT)

By the way, me using Launchy right now. I've skinned it and me really happy with it (even though it has limited implementation).
(Launchy deals with a language different from the LiteStep's, and still I could learn it - OK, that language is not deep, and kinda explains itself. But that shows I'm not that dumb tongue)

I don't even know how to make an empty theme !

The attachment only show the thing now with Launchy and the tray elsewhere.
Not too relevant.

Post's attachments

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Re: Help on creating a theme

Lucasbs wrote:

OTS website only talks about...

did you read this?

Lucasbs wrote:

Knowing the function I want to...

this is true, so we are here to help you choose the modules that best meet the needs that your theme.

Lucasbs wrote:

...Really, How did you guys learn how to make these stuff ?

we do download module (preferably the latest) we extract its contents, and read the manual that comes with it.

Lucasbs wrote:

How/where do I start programming ?

How -> http://o-t-s.sourceforge.net/theme_creation.html
Where -> theme.rc

Lucasbs wrote:

When do I use bangs ?
When do I use $%&;@#^!& ?
What is jDeskWorkArea ?

1 you will only know after you choose which modules you will work, download them and read their manuals.

2 http://litestep.info/overview/litestep-manual.html

3 jdesk -> module name, workarea -> self explanatory. jDeskWorkArea = reserved area to display windows on the desktop (jdesk is a desktop module)
I insist to learn more, you'll have to download the modules, read the manuals, and learn about them.

Lucasbs wrote:

When I press Start+E...

you're right. but if explorer.exe is loaded as shell instead of just a window, we will help to solve.

Lucasbs wrote:

How do I make floating toolbar with...
The tray icons, like the battery and sound...

1 As has been said before, you will create with xlabel and xpopup. but will not be exactly like in the pictures.

2 do not worry, this is totally possible.

Lucasbs wrote:

Would MagicPink (magenta) make...

not. only if you use modules very old, or a feature called "Hooking". newer modules, allow you to use totally or partially transparent png, or become opaque pictures in semi-transparent.

Lucasbs wrote:

And the automatic wallpaper changer that I have now with windows 7. Will no longer be able to use it ?

if you use windows 7 for this task: yes
if you use a third party program: not

There is also the possibility of using modules for this, despite being very old and consume a lot of memory to end up doing LiteStep break. but you can create a friendly wallpaper changer using other modules combined.

7 (edited by Lucasbs 2012-10-12 07:32:30 am)

Re: Help on creating a theme

*Don't need to hurry on the answers.*

I've read http://o-t-s.sourceforge.net/theme_creation.html

And I don't retreat.
It explains well about folder structures and how to load modules and external files (NetloadModule and Includes) onto the theme.rc. Was very usefull. But that's it.

On OTS a scrap/sample with pieces of commands for step.rc or theme.rc are presented to us, but no descriptions.

(again, some are obvious. but some I have no idea.


SCBAR1, *Shortcut "" 215c -19 sc_1.bmp .none .none #1 "$SCBAR1$"
*Popup "theme-X" !New !PopupTheme
*jDeskMButton2 [.none;!none;!Popup;!none]       ;right-click popup menu

('M' means middle. Ok, I got that, but the bangs ?)

What are the wildcards for (*) ?
What is a Sharp (#) ?

I could fancy the Quotes function: brings a text to be displayed, right ?

I ask because these symbols seem universal (is that the term?), not module specific.

Is it a case sensitive language ?

On xTray 0.73
I'd put .horizontal, 0c, to reflect the last change I presented (in the attatchment). But how do I make the center of the tray bar to be on the center of the screen. (not the left of the traybar to be on the center, as it is now) ?

I did xTray moveable.
But can I make it bind somewhere, like a magnet?
Or a function to make it go to a certain place with a click, or right-click menu?

I found the following when entered xPopup Readme.htm

Ok, and now the needed (my opinion) settings for a very basic Horizontal Quicklaunch Menu:
quicklaunchAddToGroup ""
quicklaunchQuicklaunchMode .horizontal
quicklaunchQuicklaunchItemSize 32
quicklaunchEntryIconSize 32

That's all I ever wanted: a code that allows me to do the basics, so I can learn.
But hard to find...

For example: jDeskWorkArea.
I've read the documentation, but it's extremely poor on descriptions...

About the four groups of number beside it:
0, 0, 0, 0.

How do I make it relative to the desktop resolution ?

And I don't want any windows over the taskbar, so I must set the coordinates to ignore that area (yet you to tell me how). But if I move the taskbar to... 'the center of the screen', will it reflect the new region to ignore, or I'll have to change it manually ?

You relieved me a big weight giving me the news that the desktop wallpaper changer remains unchanged.
But how do I access it ?
Will it remain by right click ?

My nVidia Desktop Manager, which I access through right click on desktop; Will it be there ?

Start+E I'll ask later.
(Another weight off my back to know that this is manageable too.)

Also, Good to know about the PNGs alpha ability. That's a million times better.
Which module ? Or it depends of something else ?

I use Fences.
If it is only to wrap icons I'll continue to use Fences as a toolbar.

But I want tabs.

If tabs are not implementable, Then I uninstall LiteStep right immediately.

Should I uninstall LiteStep ?

And it does not need to look exactly like the drawing...

What else do you recomend ?

I've read here too : http://litestep.info/overview/litestep-manual.html
And absorbed something.

Hope I'm not being annoying, by the way.


Re: Help on creating a theme

Lucasbs, I believe it is too early you can by itself create countermeasures to realize the concept of desktop within LiteStep. It will take some time until you master the basics.
Therefore, I pledge to create your theme. Then post here the link for downloading the theme.

9 (edited by Lucasbs 2012-10-12 19:12:34 pm)

Re: Help on creating a theme


Make this theme only if you have the time.

And above all, only if you find Fun and pleasure on doing it.

I can propose You help me with only the skeleton, and I do the rest.
Que tal ?

If I can't do it having the skeleton, then I leave to you.

I don't want to give you a weight.

Don't need to implement that box for RUN and CMD. Launchy does both that that function, and I'm sufficiently happy.

Another function I don't remember mentioning:
I must have the ability to create new tabs on the toolbar, and to drag shortcuts to there.


Re: Help on creating a theme

uma coisa que você também não mencionou:
what's the theme's name?

11 (edited by Lucasbs 2012-10-13 20:20:55 pm)

Re: Help on creating a theme

Now we have a problem.

You're doing the theme and I gave the idea.

For the prototipe (folder name) I was using LucasBS.
Dind't worry about the last detail..

LucasBS+DiamondXpn  ?

(the first one sounds cool in english)

Black+glass ?
BlackGlassLight ?
(with light standing for low weight - seems smooth to me)

Gostei do LBS-DX

Your turn.

Let's discuss it.

Even if you do only the skeleton you get the credits.

lembrando que o que for chato fazer deixa de fora.

Another thing:
Probably is already implicit but,
Would be great if the icons on the desktop were resizeable (And the box that contains it following the new size).
- With Ctrl+Mousewheel - as currently is on explorer,
- Through that Options Button I designed - With a Type-In box.

Maybe the first is less problematic. But other people wouldn't know this function exists

Want the PSDs ?


Re: Help on creating a theme

The name willbe : LucasBS
I'm putting modules one by one:
xdesk ok
Xtray ok
xLabel ok
Xtaskbar ok
Xtextedit ok
And working


Re: Help on creating a theme


If you are less than 50% of the development, consider slowing down.

Did you ever hear about Fences ?

It's a program that creates toolbars on the desktop.

I had it before, but now it came with new features, which includes not yet Tabs - that was my Only objective here - but I believe that soon it will be implemented...

If you're over 80% there's no need to stop then. I still wanna see it, since LiteStep consumes less memmory.

Also, the windows' watch, and it's calendar, and it's functions. I love it. Can it be left intact ?
Of course, if you can enhance it's appearance to something more glassy would make it better than it is...

Peace and fun.


Re: Help on creating a theme

Eu acho que digamos... fiz bem mais do que o esqueleto.

I'm seeing details of how to change the language, font, colors, behaviors for the taskbar and clock. but as our friends here have said, will not be 100% same the photos you posted.

I will list what is ready:

1 - The top bar
2 - The taskbar
3 - The button to turn off and its variants (restart, logoff, suspend, hibernate, switch user)
4 - The system tray (tray icons), with the time and date. (can be positioned anywhere on the screen, but I need to solve the problem of disrupting what I'm doing, since it is always at the top)

This means that now, I'm just working on details. But I can release it soon if you prefer, but I'll need to launch it again, since it would be unfair to our friends LiteStepers launch a theme without at least the option to change the default language (since you and I are Brazilians, the default language is PT-BR).

Well, soon I'll post a picture of how is the look, and you will say if you want it now or not. Remembering that everything was tested there best to try to reproduce your idea, if something was not equal, is due to the fact that it really was not possible. At this point, I invoke the help of other forum members.


Re: Help on creating a theme

https://sites.google.com/site/jammison/ … review.jpg
https://sites.google.com/site/jammison/ … eview2.jpg
https://sites.google.com/site/jammison/ … eview3.jpg
https://sites.google.com/site/jammison/ … eview4.jpg


Re: Help on creating a theme

Wow !

You know a kid when gets it's first bycicle ?
So happy and disoriented it is, that instead of ride it, it keeps looking at it.

Your work IS shinning !

Better than the requested.

You gave me an Idea:
In one of your previews there is No taskbar on the bottom.

Then I realized... Well.. We don't need a taskbar !

You can leave it off, if you think it's better.
Or make these icons floating, or something...

Make it english if it helps you, since it's a universal language...

The gray rectangle you have is supposed to be the toolbar, right ? The one that goes the icons.

I loved that plus sign you put there. It stands for creating new tabs, right ?

The icons will be always on vertical ?

That bar with the tabs... You can leave it on top, as it is now. In my opinion it looks better.

And the gray rectange doesnt need to be attatched to the above mentioned bar.

17 (edited by DiamondXplosion 2012-11-15 20:49:39 pm)

Re: Help on creating a theme

I will explain with details the top bar later (i call it xFolderBar), before first release. I will release first in EN-US as  default language, and after with the option to choose to other language. After the first release, we can talk about changes. I've made this theme because i liked the folders on desk idea. And i will bring this feature to my theme, not exactly like this LucasBS Theme, but the same core. Manage folders on desktop. For while, just wait my next post.

18 (edited by DiamondXplosion 2012-11-16 10:07:52 am)

Re: Help on creating a theme

From readme.txt:

 - xFolderBar

This is the special feature of this theme, no other theme have something like this.
The name is self explanatory, a bar where we can put a folder to 
quick access files, shortcut, or links to favorite sites.
You can open your files (videos, images, music, etc.), or put a folder
to launch your programs (tip: QuickLaunch).
xFolderBar have three control buttons: previous, add, and next.
Start using the button "+" and add folders to bar how many you want,
there is no limits for amount of buttons,
the only limitation is you can not add folders with same names.
If the buttons is out of visible area, make use of "<<" or ">>".

 - xFolderBar Events

Left click on a button: opens a popup with folder content.
Double right click on a button: removes a folder button.
Drag-n-drop a file to a folder button: add shortcuts to the dropped folder buttons' path. (works only with file manager)
Long left click (click and hold by 3 seconds): opens a folder on file manager.

The theme was submited to Desktop-art.info -> http://desktop-art.info/gallery/categor … ?cat_id=20

19 (edited by Lucasbs 2012-11-28 15:39:49 pm)

Re: Help on creating a theme


xDesk 1.3.1 Fails to download
and 1.3 doesn't work
: (

Can you send me ?


Hotkey failed to register... WinKey + E... bla bla bla...
How to fix this ?

Is the theme 100% ?

Will there be a "show desktop" button, as is windows' ?
And a Calendar, as windows' too ?

The gray horizontal bar will stay there ?
Will the icons be always vertical ?

Feels good to see and touch it so far.


Re: Help on creating a theme

1: xdesk-1.3.1 -> https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9tXLB … 2FFSkVRYjg

2: Hotkeys -> Which modules do you use? run "!about" and send a screenshot.

3: No, the theme is not 100%, but something about 90%.

4: Show desktop may be possible, but you want to minimize it, or see through the windows?

5: I will implement a calendar.

6: The gray bar goes to show what's selected, why should I remove it?

7: xPopup (2.1) has a bug, I can put icons in grid rather than list, but folders with many entries can cause an unwanted reaction and say, grotesque (I warned you that not everything would go as the images). Unfortunately, the creator of xModules is no longer around to create a fix.

8: Sorry for the late reply

21 (edited by Lucasbs 2012-12-07 04:34:30 am)

Re: Help on creating a theme

I thank you thousands of times for even reading the posts. You're doing a big favor already.
Take the time that you need.

And it's summer on brazil. Go to the beach !

See through is useless. Don't need it for me.

A "MinimizeEveryGoddamWindows"(exactly like that windows' corner button) would be great.


What is it ? :

Error in Expression:
1OnDrop shortcut (Also 2OnDrop Shortcut, 3OnDrop Shortcut... and goes one till 4)

Syntax Error: Expected END, but found ID

LiteStep:: !PopupMyFolders :: Error

Exception during bang command execution.
Please contact the module author

Bang parametesr: 0 30

I'm using only the plugins that Litestep asked when installing your theme - And the one you just uploaded.
(It only asked to download two modules, if I remeber alright)
(Litestep won't load modules it doesn't need, right ?)

Where do I write '!about'  ?
No Run box visible anywhere.

And yes, yes. The gray bar stays there.

But it is way way bigger that the icon. It takes all the screen from left to right.

And would be cute if it were transparent.
Me like transparency.

Yeee !
Calendar !

One last thing:

Notebook battery, sound, wifi, and ActionCenter won't show on the floating tray

Damn... I thing I should vanish LiteStep and reinstall it later...
Did you see so many bugs on yours ?


Re: Help on creating a theme

In my netbook, I do not notice any errors, but I will look into what may have happened in your case.
You added 4 buttons on the bar, right? Post here the names of each folder.

run this command (use Win + R):
c:\litestep\litestep.exe !about
and post the screenshot here in the "Loaded Modules"

I also want to send me the result of this command:
c:\litestep\litestep.exe !Alert "$xPaintClassVersion$"

If your LiteStep is in another folder, just change the command replacing "c:\LiteStep\" with the directory resides on litestep.exe.

I'll give you a hint LiteStep before uninstalling and reinstalling, try to open the folder where LiteStep is installed, finalize litestep.exe (using task manager), and delete all files in "$LiteStepDir$Modules\" "$ LiteStepDir$Modules\Docs\" and "$LiteStepDir$Modules\Archive\" (except XDESK-1.3.1). Then start LiteStep.

23 (edited by Lucasbs 2012-12-07 19:47:15 pm)

Re: Help on creating a theme

I've deleted the modules' folder content and redownloaded them - clean.
But problems persist...

Now the sound and wifi buttons appear on the tray, batery and notification still missing

I've deleted the content (double righ-click) of the top bar before reading your request.

Befor that, three of the buttons on the bar had nothing written on it. One was for the Computer folder. The others I don't remember.
On of the four buttons were visible, and that was just a normal folder.
Later on, the text for this visible button disappeared...

Learnt behaviour:

If I click '+' to add a button and select a destination, litestep crashes, and that first message of the above post shows up.
The same happens if I delete a button.

If I click on a button I added, (division, actualy, because there is no text), litestep crashes, and that second message shows up

Conclusion: I cannot add buttons without crashing, I cannot delete buttons without crashing, I cannot click on a button without crashing, and there is no text on the buttons.

- How to change the background ? There is no right click on the desktop. (Not implemented yet ?)
- Windows + E goes to 'Library' folder instead of 'Computer' folder.

Using the given command:


xDesk-1.3.1.dll  <--- notice the upperdcase D

!Alert version 1.0.7

I'm gonna unistall the thing now. For real.
I think now the problems will go.
I bet Windows is interfering somewhere, and bugging things up. Maybe I might reformat and install windows 8. What about ?

And bro,

Wanna give UP ?

If that thing is stressing your head, I understand.

Proceed only if learning how to deal with problems is part of your interest.

24 (edited by DiamondXplosion 2012-12-10 05:10:43 am)

Re: Help on creating a theme

to change the wallpaper, you will need to install a third-party program. (vista/win7/win8, xp use control panel).
Win + E is an internal command of LiteStep ($LiteStepDir$personal\hotkey.rc). May I suggest you use another file manager like Explorer++.
All modules are ok, except for jkey-0.3.7, my version is jkey-0.39.
To update your module: Open the file personal.rc ($LiteStepDir$personal\personal.rc)
Look for this line:

*NetLoadModule    jkey-0.37

and change to

*NetLoadModule    jkey-0.39

test and let me know the result.


Re: Help on creating a theme

I did clean up the C:\Litestep dir, then reinstalled LOSI 0.4.5

jkey was 0.39 without needing to update.

But now I get APPCRASH immediactly after setting your theme.

Tried a "litestep_installer-" pack that I have here.

Also tried to patch with the files "ls-0.24.8" I got on the internet.

None works

Which LiteStep pack do you use ?

And I'll find the third's after resolving this first. IF I don't give up...

Brother, you're being a mother to me...