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How to install themes in Ubuntu?

There’s no doubt the default Ubuntu theme is striking. However, with the unlimited customisation potential that Linux offers, you can take it to the next level in just a few steps, thanks to themes.

While the basic idea of a theme is pretty much the same between Windows and Ubuntu — they both change the way your desktop and OS looks, Ubuntu themes are a bit more complicated.

Ubuntu themes are divided into three major elements.

  • Icons: Icon themes can change the look of, well, your icons.
  • GTK Theme: GTK is the framework used for building the GUI that you see in Linux. Hence, GTK themes are responsible for how the application interface in your Ubuntu installation looks. At present, Ubuntu uses GTK3, so those are the themes you should be looking for. 
  • GNOME Shell Theme: These themes control the look of your Shell elements such as the terminal, the top panel, desktop notifications and so on.

Different theme packages come with different elements. You may be able to find a theme package that comes in with all the three aforementioned elements. If you want, you can get the three items separately and mix and match themes to create your own custom look.

Also read: How to install XAMPP on Ubuntu?


How to Install Ubuntu themes?

There are three main ways of installing themes in Ubuntu.

  • Using PPA
  • Using .deb packages
  • Using archive files

All these methods will download and install the themes on your PC. You’ll then have to use the GNOME Tweaks tool to apply any installed themes.


Install Ubuntu themes using PPA to install themes

This is by far the easiest way to download and install themes on your Ubuntu machine. All you need to do is add the PPA repository from which you want to download the theme and then use apt-get to download the selected theme. 

For this example, we’re going to use the theme package developed by System76 for their in house PopOS Linux Distro. You can install this theme by using these commands.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:system76/pop
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pop-theme

And that’s all. The theme is now downloaded and installed along with the icons, GTK3 and GNOME Shell theme components. 


Install Ubuntu themes using .deb package files

Another popular way of distributing Ubuntu themes is using a .deb package file. This way, all you need to do is download the .deb package file and double click it to install the theme. 

Also read: How to fix Gitignore not working issue?


Install Ubuntu themes using archive files

Another rather popular way of distributing themes on the internet is archiving them in either .tar or .xyz packages. Installing these themes isn’t complex either. 

All you need to do is make sure you have .themes and .icons directories in your home directory. If you don’t, you can make these by typing the following commands in the terminal.

mkdir ~/.themes
mkdir ~/.icons

For GTK3/GNOME themes, copy all the archive files into the .themes directory and for icon themes, do the same with .icons folder. 

Also read: How to run Linux on top of Windows using VirtualBox?


How to apply themes in Ubuntu?

Aforementioned, we’re going to use the GNOME Tweak utility to apply our downloaded themes. If you haven’t got the utility installed, you can download it using this command. 

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

Some GNOME setting functionalities are locked by default. To unlock them, you’re going to have to install GNOME Shell extensions using the following command.

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions

When installed, launch the program by searching for it in the Ubuntu app drawer.

How to install themes in Ubuntu? | Candid.Technology

Under the Themes tab, you can select and control all individual themes for different Ubuntu GUI elements.

How to install themes in Ubuntu? | Candid.Technology

Also read: Top 10 Ubuntu extensions for a better user experience

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