Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Install GTK Themes on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 4

Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution, is known for its ease of use and robust performance. One of the many advantages of using Ubuntu is its high degree of customization. Among these customization options, changing the GTK theme is a popular choice for users looking to personalize their desktop environment. This article will guide you through the process of installing GTK themes on Ubuntu.

Quick Answer

To install GTK themes on Ubuntu, you need to download the theme from a reliable source, extract the downloaded files, move the theme folder to the .themes directory in your home folder, and then use either the GNOME Tweak Tool or Unity Tweak Tool to apply the theme.

What is a GTK Theme?

GTK, or GIMP Toolkit, is a multi-platform toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces. A GTK theme is essentially a set of files that define the look and feel of your desktop environment. This includes elements like windows, buttons, scrollbars, and other visual elements.

Step 1: Download the GTK Theme

Before we start with the installation process, you need to download the GTK theme you want to install. There are numerous sources from where you can download GTK themes. A reliable source is Make sure to download a theme that is compatible with your version of Ubuntu.

Step 2: Extract the Downloaded Theme

Once you have downloaded the theme, you need to extract the theme archive. This can be done by right-clicking on the downloaded file and selecting ‘Extract Here’. This will create a new folder containing the theme files.

Step 3: Move the Theme to the Correct Directory

Next, you need to move the extracted theme folder to the .themes directory in your home folder. You can do this by opening the file manager (Nautilus) and navigating to your home directory (~). Press Ctrl + H to show hidden files and folders. If you do not see a .themes folder, create one by right-clicking in the file manager and selecting ‘Create New Folder’. Name this new folder .themes. Now, move the extracted theme folder into the .themes folder.

Step 4: Install and Use GNOME Tweak Tool

The GNOME Tweak Tool is a utility that allows you to customize your desktop environment. To install it, open the terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

Here, sudo allows you to run commands with administrative privileges, apt-get is the package handling utility in Ubuntu, and install is the command to install a new package. gnome-tweak-tool is the package we want to install.

After installing the GNOME Tweak Tool, open it by searching for ‘Tweaks’ in the application menu. In the GNOME Tweak Tool, navigate to the ‘Appearance’ or ‘Themes’ section. Under the ‘Applications’ or ‘GTK+’ section, you should see the newly installed theme. Select it to apply the theme.

Alternative Method for Ubuntu Unity

If you are using Ubuntu Unity, you can use the Unity Tweak Tool instead of the GNOME Tweak Tool. To install it, open the terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

After installing the Unity Tweak Tool, you can follow the same steps as above to install and apply the GTK theme.


Installing a GTK theme on Ubuntu is a straightforward process that can greatly enhance the visual appeal of your desktop environment. With a wide range of themes available, you can easily personalize your Ubuntu experience to match your aesthetic preferences. Always remember to check the compatibility of the theme with your Ubuntu version before installation. Happy theming!

How can I check my version of Ubuntu?

To check your version of Ubuntu, open the terminal and type lsb_release -a. This command will display detailed information about your Ubuntu version.

Can I install GTK themes on other Linux distributions?

Yes, GTK themes can be installed on other Linux distributions that use the GNOME desktop environment, such as Fedora and Debian. The installation process may vary slightly, but the general steps should be similar.

How do I revert back to the default GTK theme?

To revert back to the default GTK theme, open the GNOME Tweak Tool or Unity Tweak Tool, depending on your desktop environment. In the ‘Appearance’ or ‘Themes’ section, select the default theme or the theme you prefer to switch back to.

Can I use multiple GTK themes at the same time?

No, you can only use one GTK theme at a time. However, you can mix and match different elements from different themes using the customization options provided by the GNOME Tweak Tool or Unity Tweak Tool.

Are there any risks or drawbacks to installing GTK themes?

Installing GTK themes is generally safe and does not pose any significant risks. However, it’s important to download themes from trusted sources to avoid potential security risks. Additionally, some themes may not be fully compatible with your version of Ubuntu, which could result in visual inconsistencies or glitches.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *