Tinkertool took care of most of the too-small fonts (are any Apple designers over 40?), but the white text on my preferred light desktop is bad. Linux GTX has a rather tricky file to hand-edit to fix a similar bad default. Does Yosemite have any well-hidden way of changing the desktop icon font color?

  • I haven't explored this fully yet, but there is a folder called Colors in /System/Library/Colors. Inside there are three files which you can right click and select Show Package Contents. There you will find folders for different languages as well as a file called System.clr. This is a binary file, and if you figure out the proper way to edit it, I think you'll be well on your way to changing at least some of the colors on your computer.
    – Vladimir
    Dec 9, 2014 at 21:56
  • System.clr seems to be a list of predefined colors for the colorpicker, for example the crayons etc.
    – chicken
    Dec 10, 2014 at 10:17
  • @LeoKoppelkamm Oh really? Thanks for the info, never mind then.
    – Vladimir
    Dec 11, 2014 at 18:45
  • The colors folder isn't where the color of the system text is set.
    – aeroxy
    Dec 16, 2014 at 2:26

4 Answers 4


As far as I know, it is not possible to change the color of the system font. The system graphic interface files are under the license protection of Apple's user agreement and they are well guarded with encryptions. This also results in the lack of capacity of turning off full screen animation, and other unfortunate unique OSX graphic interface design features and behaviors.


This doesn't do exactly what you want, but it might make the colors more bearable.

Try this:

Go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display and play around with Invert Colors and Enhance Contrast options.

If you want to achieve the effect of making your desktop font black, you can try turning on the Invert Colors and Use Gray Scale options.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I would recommend a better workaround, however. I believe the reason your white font looks bad is because you have your background set to something light. I had a similar issue too until I set my background to something more neutral. Try setting it to a solid color like a shade of brown, or a dull medium blue. Of course, dark grey or black would also work, but I personally don't like the colorless, depressing look of a plain black or grey background.

  • Vlamidir, thanks for your answer. Unfortunately Enhance Contrast doesn't seem to actually change the desktop color and has other unwanted site effects. And Invert Colors is a pretty drastic change.
    – chicken
    Dec 10, 2014 at 10:01
  • @LeoKoppelkamm Yes, I agree, they're not the best. That's why I added that other recommendation about desktop color. It can make things a little more usable and won't have the negative consequences the other things I suggested.
    – Vladimir
    Dec 10, 2014 at 16:11

I've run into that too and ended up using an app called NerdTool to create semi-permanent bars behind my logos (also helped with the icons that I had changed that were partially transparent and completely disappeared against dark backgrounds.

enter image description here

In this case, I took a frame (ie I googled 3D frame and downloaded an image that looked like it might look ok). I used NerdTool to put the image on the wallpaper and set the size to what I wanted (took some finagling). That's how I got the white bar on top. Then I took a screen shot of a part of my screen that was black, imported that into NerdTool, and stretched and positioned it to be under the letters to make those pop out.

NerdTool can be a little daunting if you don't know the command line, but for this circumstance you don't actually touch terminal.

Of course this will only work for files that you plan on keeping put on your desktop and isn't a great solution if your shuffling stuff around a lot, but for me, the files in the screen shot I included are ones that I use frequently and are going to stay there.

I know this isn't a fix all, but it's something. Hope this helps someone.


You can create your own user .css file to modify the default fonts when using Safari on Yosemite

  • That's helpful information, but I'm looking at the desktop. Oct 20, 2014 at 1:35
  • How you do create user .css file?
    – user96510
    Oct 20, 2014 at 5:05

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