From WinCustomize Wiki
WindowBlinds is a computer program that allows users to modify, or "skin" the Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI) using skins, or visual styles, created by other artists and users. Developed by Stardock since 1999, it is one of the most popular skinning applications out there, with millions of users world-wide. It is the flagship product of the Object Desktop suite of customization software. WindowBlinds is available either as part of ObjectDesktop, as a stand-alone product, or as an ActiveX/COM component called DirectSkin, which allows developers to build UI skinning directly into their application.
WindowBlinds currently has more than 4,100 skins available for users to download on WinCustomize.com
What WindowBlinds Does
WindowBlinds allows users to load "skins" created by other artists that change the appearance of all major components of the Microsoft Windows user interface.
How to Use WindowBlinds
The BasicsImpulse, Stardock's digital distribution platform. Once installed, users need only go to WinCustomize.com and download a skin from the WindowBlinds Gallery.
WindowBlinds skins have the file extension .wba, and if WindowBlinds is already installed on your system, the file will be automatically associated with the program. To run the skin, first double-click the skin file to install it, then load WindowBlinds either via your Start Menu shortcut or from the icon in your system tray (near the clock, it looks like a painters pallet). When you open WindowBlinds, you'll see a scrolling list of all skins you have available on your system, and a preview of what a selected skin will look like.
Select the skin you want from the list, and then click on the "Apply" link in the preview portion of the application window. It will take several seconds as WindowBlinds applies the skin to your system.
Viola! You have successfully installed WindowBlinds and loaded your first skin.
Advanced Features & Settings
- Transparency & Blur for XP
- Animated Start Menu & Title bars
- Application Exemption List
- Mixing & matching elements from multiple skins
- Color Override
- Wallpaper Changer
- Override Settings
- Skin Textures
- "Skinning" Aero
How to Create a WindowBlinds Skin
There are two methods to make a skin for WindowBlinds:
- SkinStudio - An application designed to visually step artists through the process of creating a skin.
- Manual Scripting using UIS1 or UIS2 - You can manually assemble a WindowBlinds skin entirely in a text editor if you want. Even if you're not that hardcore in your skin building, knowing the two can be very helpful in building a skin.
No matter what route you choose, you will also need a suite of graphics applications you are both familiar and comfortable with to draw all the individual elements that you will include in your skin.
For a more comprehensive discussion on creating skins for WindowBlinds, please see the Skinning for WindowBlinds article. It will discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of the tools and languages available.
- v1.0 - September, 1999
- v2.0 - October, 2000
- v3.0 - November, 2001
- v4.0 - April, 2003
- v4.5 - January 2005
- v5.0 - November, 2005
- Adds support for per-pixel window frames, menus, and taskbar.
- v5.5 - March, 2007
- First Vista-ready version. Skins created for Windows XP can be applied to Windows Vista.
- v6.0 - October 2007
- Intoduces Start Menu & Title bar animations.
- Adds Blur & Transparency to Windows XP
- v6.1 - May 2008
- Adds Explorer Background feature.
- v6.2 - July 2008
- Improved compression on start menu animations.
- Animated wait screens during Apply.
- Enhanced layer support (accompanied by skin author support in SkinStudio 6.2).
- Bug Fixes.
- v7.0 - November 2009
- Windows 7 Support
- New user interface
- Ability to "skin" Aero
- Skin textures
- v7.1 - June 2010
- Added three new UIS0 skins for Vista/Windows 7
- New create textures UI
- New random wallpaper changer UI
- v7.2 - December 2010
- Added advanced glass support including new sections for SkinStudio
- Improved compatibility with pre-release Firefox 4 and IE9 builds
- Added new IE9 sections
- Added support for per-skin custom colors
- Optimized skin changing speed on 64-bit Windows
Documentation & Help
- Windowblinds: Basics
- WindowBlinds 7 Visual Walkthrough
- Applying Skins/Themes with WindowBlinds 7
- Adjusting Transparency with WindowBlinds 7
- Creating and Using Textures in WindowBlinds 7
- Apply Textures to Themes
- WindowBlinds 7 Theme Coloring
- WindowBlinds 7 Live Previews
Notes & References