A theme in aptitude is simply a collection of settings that go together. Themes work by overriding the default values of options: if an option is not set in the system configuration file or in your personal configuration file, aptitude will use the setting from the current theme, if one is available, before using the standard default value.

A theme is simply a named group under Aptitude::Themes; each configuration option contained in the group will override the corresponding option in the global configuration. For instance, if the Dselect theme is selected, the option Aptitude::Themes::Dselect::Aptitude::UI::Package-Display-Format will override the default value of the option Aptitude::UI::Package-Display-Format.

To select a theme, set the configuration option Aptitude::Theme to the name of the theme; for instance,

Aptitude::Theme Vertical-Split;

The following themes are shipped with aptitude in /usr/share/aptitude/aptitude-defaults:


This theme makes aptitude look and behave more like the legacy dselect package manager:

[dselect theme]

This theme rearranges the display: instead of the current package's description appearing underneath the package list, it is displayed to the right of the package list. This theme is useful with very wide terminals, and perhaps also when editing the built-in hierarchy of packages.

[vertical split theme]