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How to Display a Quote On Your Desktop Using Rainmeter

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I’ve never really been a desktop gadgets and widgets type of person, but I often put an inspirational quote on my desktop wallpaper. Today we’ll show you how to do this using Rainmeter, no matter what wallpaper you switch to.

The great thing about using Rainmeter is that you can switch your wallpaper, or rotate it, and the quote stays in the same place. What we’ll do is show how to create a very simple skin and customize it to fit our needs.

Creating a Simple Static Quote Rainmeter Skin

Rainmeter might seem to be confusing for many of you, but it’s actually a lot simpler to use than you think. You’ll want to start by heading into your Documents folder, where you’ll find the Rainmeter –> Skins folder.

Once you’re there, create a new folder to house all of your own custom skins.

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Then create a new folder for the new quote config—I called mine StaticQuote—and then add a .INI file with the same name to the folder. In this case, that meant creating a new text file and renaming it to StaticQuote.ini, which you can actually do directly from Notepad in the next step.

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Open up Notepad and paste in the following text, which is all you need for this very basic configuration. You can feel free to edit the quote I’ve included, which is something I found in this @codinghorror post.

[Rainmeter]
Author=howtogeek

[QuoteStyle]
FontColor=FFFFFFFF
FontSize=16
AntiAlias=1

[Quote]
Meter=STRING
MeterStyle=QuoteStyle
Text=”Go that way, Really fast. If something gets in your way… turn.”

Now head to File –> Save As, change the “Save as type” to All Files instead of the default, and then give it the filename ending in .ini as shown here:

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It’s really important to make sure the file has the .ini extension.

Activating the New Config

The easiest way to deal with loading new configurations and reloading them quickly is to open up the RainBrowser application included in Rainmeter—then click the Browse tab on the left-hand pane. You should see your skins folder, with your configuration underneath it.

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Down near the bottom of the window, you’ll see your skin, and you can simply click the Load Skin link and it will show up on the screen.

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You should leave the RainBrowser window open, since we’ll be making more changes to the skin—you can just use the Refresh Skin link to quickly reload the skin every time you change the configuration file.

Changing the Font and Color

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The new theme should look something like this with the default settings that we gave you, but you can easily customize and change the configuration to your liking. Let’s take a closer look at the style section of our configuration to understand how the different options work.

Changing the Color

The FontColor=FFFFFFFF line is what sets the color for the text, as you’d expect—but you’ll notice that instead of the standard HTML-style color code, it’s got 2 extra characters. This is because it’s actually RGB(A) with the (A) being the alpha channel—so the last two characters go from 00, or fully transparent, to FF, or zero transparency. You’d ideally pick somewhere in the middle.

For instance, to change the color to black, you’d change the line to the following—though you’ll note that the default color is black, so that would be pointless.

FontColor=000000FF

Changing the Font Face

If you don’t like the default font, you can use the FontFace variable, with the name of an installed font in Windows. For instance, to change the font to Calibri, you could use this:

FontFace=Calibri

Change the Font Style

If you want to use bold, italic, or even bold italics, you can use the StringStyle variable, which takes one of the following values: NORMAL, BOLD, ITALIC and BOLDITALIC. To change the font to bold, you’d do:

StringStyle=BOLD

And of course, you’ll be able to change the font size by adjusting the FontSize variable, as you’d imagine.  

Adding a Drop Shadow to the Text

The only problem with the white text against the lighter colored background is that it isn’t quite as noticeable as you’d like—and if you used dark text instead, you couldn’t switch to a darker wallpaper without causing visibility problems.

The solution is to use the StringEffect variable to set a shadow or a border on the text, making it much more visible against any background. For instance, to set a drop shadow on the text, you’d use the following—to set a border instead, you’d replace SHADOW with BORDER.

StringEffect=SHADOW

Here’s an example of what it looks like normally, then with a drop shadow, and then with a border instead:

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If you wanted to use a darker text, you can use a light border or drop shadow by using the FontEffectColor variable. For instance, for a black text with a white border, you’d use:

FontEffectColor=FFFFFFFF
FontColor=000000FF
StringEffect=BORDER

There’s a lot more configuration settings that you can choose from, all of which can be found in the Rainmeter manual.

Congrats, you’ve created your first Rainmeter skin! Stay tuned, we’ll be covering how to do even more powerful skins in the future.


This is the fourth part in our series explaining how to use Rainmeter. If you haven’t already, make sure to read the previous three parts in the series:

Got any specific Rainmeter questions you’d like answered? Leave your question in the comments and we’ll see if we can help.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/22/10

Comments (16)

  1. Guru

    I’ll like this much more if you told us how to make a dynamic quotes thing, which will change the displayed quote to a random one, from a predefined stack of quotes. :)

  2. nt0xik8ed

    i’m doing one now…

  3. Hatryst

    Great !!
    One question: Could it be set to automatically change (after a predefined time) to another quote?

  4. Manu

    This one does a dynamic one.

    http://customize.org/rainmeter/skins/61432

  5. Elizabeth

    Thank you for sharing this ! I am a desktop gadget/widget addicted nut here lolllll and I use Stardock/Wincustomize to pick from. I had downloaded Rainmeter once but was confused
    as to how to work it so I stuck with Stardock as it is much easier.

    I never knew the process of creating a skin and I am grateful that you took the time to walk
    me thru it. I have printed your tutorial and will be trying mine today ! (smiling)
    I also see some other tutorials on Rainmeter and I am so glad because this program seems to
    be an awesome one !

    Thank you for all you continue to do which I am reaping the rewards from (smile)

    Have a great day !

    Elizabeth

  6. Radeon

    Easiest way to activate the new config is to right click the rainmeter icon on the taskbar and select “refresh all” :)

    Anyways, thanks!

  7. The Geek

    There’s loads of skins that do dynamic quotes – the whole point of this article series is to build up to how to create more complicated skins, by showing a little piece at a time.

    So now you understand how to deal with putting text on the desktop, with different effects…

    Next article will show off how to load dynamic quotes from a file, which is really quite easy.

  8. Hatryst

    Keep it up Geek :)

  9. CK

    “Lane Meyer…..a man who know how to ski”

    Love the quote from ‘Better Of Dead’.

  10. Conn

    I just use Samurize atm, as recommended in the Lifehacker article.

    It’s actually pretty easy to use once you get used to it, atm i have it displaying the quote “Wise men talk because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. –Plato”

  11. nt0xik8ed

    thanks for going slow, sir geek.

  12. bob h

    hey this is version i hacked together with some help… it works like a charm.

    http://rainmeter.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5592&p=36568&hilit=random+quote#p36568

    you put together a list of your favorite quote into a txt file
    use this skin and voila!

  13. JimBedford

    I must have missed that artical,how do I get rainmeter for my desktop?

  14. HuitZiloP

    What’s the wallpaper?

  15. yumi

    hi! i’m just wondering how to add a line break since the quote i have is too long.

  16. DvD

    Thank u very much for the info! :)

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