I really hate the blue-purple color of the Lion (and Snow Leopard before it) menu bar selection. Isn't there some way to change this? I've tried tweaking everything, but Apple seems to have decided that we should all use this absurdly bright color unless we want to go totally monochrome and use Graphite (which I don't). I assume the same fix should apply to Snow Leopard.


1 Answer 1


System preferences > General > Appearance > [Blue|Graphite]

enter image description here

Graphite will turn menu selection co lor to dark grey. Of course it's system wide so it also will change the color for other UI elements.


You will need :

Download SArtFileTool into ~/Downloads/SArtFile then copy and decompress the system art resource file :

cd ~/Downloads/SArtFile
cp /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreUI.framework/Resources/SArtFile.bin ./
./sartfiletool -d SArtFile.bin artfiles

Go into the artfiles directory and find 52.png 68.png 71.png files and modify them.

  • 52.png = "Blue" top menu text selection color
  • 68.png = "Blue" menu item text selection color
  • 71.png = "Blue" help menu item "Search" background color

Then recreate SArtFile.bin and put into place :

./sartfiletool -e artfiles SArtFile.bin SArtFile.new.bin
sudo cp SArtFile.new.bin /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreUI.framework/Resources/SArtFile.bin

Logout & log in again, menu should look something like this (I cheated and used the turquoise-ish files from "Lion Pulse" mod.)

modified menu

Additional remarks: The SArtFile is poorly documented for Lion, here's the explanation of the contents for Snow Leopard but Lion's is different. The selection in Finder is still the harsher blue, haven't looked into that yet.

  • Thanks, I guess I should've mentioned that I don't want to switch to Graphite. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I kinda like the candy-colored window controls.
    – swrobel
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 18:49
  • I knew I had seen this mod and it was possible, so I looked it up for you (see edits above.)
    – Tyr
    Commented Sep 24, 2011 at 7:21
  • Thanks for the link, I liked LionPulse so much I just used that. I can't believe this is so complicated, but it's good to know it can be done.
    – swrobel
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 22:11
  • The file names of the graphic files changed on Mountain Lion. The binary linked on the first page of the thread doesn't currently work on 10.8, but you can compile a newer version yourself.
    – Lri
    Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 18:04

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