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Re: strange behaviour of background color in Panel[]

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  • Subject: [mg89913] Re: [mg89862] strange behaviour of background color in Panel[]
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at>
  • Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2008 03:29:55 -0400 (EDT)
  • Reply-to: jfultz at

On Mon, 23 Jun 2008 02:46:50 -0400 (EDT), Nazdrovje wrote:
> On two machines I'm running Mathematica on the panel resulting from
> the Panel[] function will have different backgrounds. One will have a
> grey background, on the other it is white. Both are running XP,  but I
> haven't upgraded the grey one to 6.0.3. yet. The one with a grey
> background is a desktop PC with my main license, the white one a
> laptop with my home license.
> I can set the panel's background to a given color by using Panel[a,
> Background -> Green]. Strange thing: the option Background is colored
> red, as an indication it is not a legal option for panel. It
> nevertheless works.
> Any clues?

Probably one of the machines uses the XP theme (which has, for example, bright 
blue title bars for the menus with bright red close boxes), while the other uses 
the legacy Windows appearance (which conforms with the old "metallic" themes
where everything tends to be gray).  Mathematica goes to considerable effort to 
make the default appearance of controls conform to whatever is appropriate for 
your operating system and the way it's been configured.  Under Windows XP, you 
can change this in the display control panel.

The Background option of the Panel option is not documented, which is why it
turns red.  The fact that it works is a bit of internal experimentation which 
made its way into the shipping product, and its behavior is not supported by
Wolfram.  In our internal development version, we've now decided to document the 
Background option to Panel, though, so it seems likely that it will be supported 
(and thus not a red option) in future releases.

John Fultz
jfultz at
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.

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