Background transparency


To my understanding, when attempting to draw antialiased text on top of a transparent background, the subpixel antialiasing is turned off because the colors of the subpixels depend partially on the pixels behind them. When you have an opaque layer, the renderer can simply calculate everything by looking at that one layer. When you have a transparent layer … it has to look at every layer all the way back to the desktop potentially … so it gives up and turns off the subpixel stuff.

So if you have the window set to transparent, but the editor background set to opaque … things might be fine … but essentially then the window isn’t really transparent anymore, right? Or am I misunderstanding?

I probably completely mucked up the explanation, but that’s what I remember from my discussion with @nathansobo at CodeConf. @as_cii could also explain better too probably.


Nope, you explained it perfectly.

And yeah, if the window was transparent but default styling was a background of 100% opacity you wouldn’t have to worry about subpixels, adjusting would be at your own peril/perhaps require forcing Atom to ditch antialiasing when it doesn’t have a solid background.

I’m sure that with such an excited community we can come up with some solution :wink:


I would assume sub-pixel stuff will be history when everyone has hidpi. It will be seen as a kludge for low-dpi screens.


Since they’re not using the native system components this isn’t going to work. They could flag the whole area as transparent, but by doing that the text would become transparent as well, which is not what “we” the people want. We want the background to be transparent while the text remains non-transparent, the same way it’s done with Textmate.

In order to pull this off they (the developers) would need to swap out the text editing area for a native system component; which I’m sure would be nothing short of hell.

A shame if you ask me. It remains the only reason why I still use Textmate and haven’t switched over to Sublime or Atom. Deal breaker for me :frowning:


I was able to do this in Emacs and would really love to see it here.


Just found this:

Right now it is kinda glitchy because of Chromium, but it works.


+1 - I have always found it useful to have my terminal window around 75% opacity.


+1 for this feature!


Just a heads-up, there is a new kid in town.

arkenthera has brought this issue a huge step forward (thanks!). :slight_smile:


Hey guys, for windows users, there is a software called Glass2K which let you choose the level of transparency on ANY windows (and save the value for the next time you open it), so you can make transparent Atom, Sublimetext, your terminal or any other window :slight_smile:


Bump for 2017

This would be a fantastic checkbox feature to have!


I need this feature, too


I created an account just to ask for this feature! Please, please, please add this. People have been asking for it for nearly FOUR YEARS.

I guess I’ll try the Atom Transparency link posted previously in the meantime but I’m totally bummed about it.


But has anyone who cares about it put in time to make it happen?


Looks like the code is already written here:

It just needs integrated. I’m a programming noob otherwise I’d volunteer. Maybe in a few months I’ll know enough to add it.


Bump. Transparency please. See above ^ …

Thank you :bowing_man: