The default GNOME desktop in Ubuntu can be customized in many ways. There are many available GTK and icon themes which you can easily apply and transform your daily driver desktop to a different look without losing performance and productivity.
In this guide, I will apply one colourful icon theme to the earlier customization we did for GNOME. Something like the below.
Table of Contents
Customize GNOME Desktop in Ubuntu
To Customize GNOME Desktop in Ubuntu in this guide, you need to enable GNOME Extensions and install GNOME Tweaks. You can do both with these quick steps.
Enable GNOME Extensions in Ubuntu
Make sure you have Flatpak enabled in your system. If not, follow this guide. Or, run the following commands in sequence from the terminal.
sudo apt install flatpak
sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
All the following extensions used in this GNOME customization guide need the Extensions Manager application to search and install them. You can follow this guide on installing GNOME extensions and search for the name of the following. This applies to all the GNOME-based Linux distros. You can also use the following command to install it:
flatpak install com.mattjakeman.ExtensionManager
Install GNOME Tweaks
Install the GNOME Tweak Tool. You can use Ubuntu Software to install Or run below from the terminal.
sudo apt install gnome-tweaks
Open the Extensions Manager app which you have just installed from the application menu (see below):
Then, install all the below extensions by searching them in the Extension Manager app (one example is above):
Not all these GNOME Extensions require configurations. We will only configure the Dash to Panel, Open Weather and Arc Menu.
Configure Dash to Panel
After installation, the Dash, by default, moves to the bottom of the screen. Right, click on the panel at the bottom and open ‘Dash to Panel Settings’ to change the below settings.
On the Position Tab
- Disable the Show Applications Button
- Move the Date menu after the System menu
- Change the Desktop button width to 15px.
On the style tab
- Change the running indicator style to dots.
- Turn on the override panel theme background opacity. Give value to 50%.
Configure Open Weather
Change the display, City, and temperature unit if you like.
Configure Arc Menu
Open Arc Menu Settings and change the followings:
- Choose the position in panel = Left
- Enable Arc Menu hotkey
- Choose Menu > Menu Layout > Modern Menu Layout > Redmond.
Menu button tab
- Change the icon to anything you want. I have selected the Ubuntu icon.
- Change the Icon size to 35px.
Open the GNOME Tweak tool and go to the Appearance tab. Choose Shell theme and Legacy Applications to Yaru Dark.
Open Settings and change the Appearance to Dark.
In this guide, I have used the “BeautyLine” icon theme, which you can download from the below link. This icon theme has a distinct and bright look and available icon sets for almost all generic applications. Once you apply, the overall desktop looks more focused on the dark theme backdrop.
Once downloaded, extract the file. Then copy the top-level folder ‘beautyline” to the
$HOME/.icons folder. And then follow the below steps to apply the new icon set.
- Open the GNOME Tweak tool.
- Go to the Appearance tab.
- Change the Icon to BeautyLine.
- Change the cursor to White glass.
For this guide, I have used one of the Kinetic Kudu wallpaper from official contest. You can use any dark-themed wallpaper of your choice.
If all goes well, your desktop should look like this.
If you do not want to customize more, apply the Icons and set Ubuntu’s default Dark mode, and your desktop still looks nice (see below).
This is just a guide outlining the settings. You can play around with many settings of Arc Menu and GNOME tweaks settings to make it more personalized for you. You can even apply many GTK3 icon themes or shell themes as well.