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There are discussions on minimize button icon recently: since the launcher is on the left where minimized window goes, should Ubuntu minimize button be vertical? There are many different suggestions, such as a dot, an arrow, etc., but I think a single left-pointing arrow is the best.

Whether this is right or not, how to change minimize button to a left-pointing arrow?

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Considering Ubuntu Touch right edge feature, which is similar to minimize an application, a left-pointing arrow for minimize button is meaningful. – AliNa Mar 3 '13 at 21:11
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Well, window button icons are defined through PNGs in unity and metacity-1 folders in every theme, so replacing those PNGs easily results in changing the icons. If you are interested, I'll share my experience here.

You can find the default ones for Ambiance theme here:


Since there are different modes for a window button, such as prelight, pressed, focused, you should have different shades for a single button; for example there are 7 PNGs in unity folder for different modes of minimize button. So I used GIMP to edit the default icons and make a new ones with a – Single Left-Pointing Angle Quotation Mark – and here's the result: Single Left-pointing Arrow Minimize Button.

Now, if you want to change the minimize button to a single left-pointing arrow like this, download the PNGs created for Ambiance and Radiance themes here. Then extract the file and follow the procedure in Read Me file. I'm going to repeat it here: Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run these two commands (let assume that the extracted file is in Downloads directory):

cd Downloads/minimize-button

sudo cp -r Ambiance Radiance /usr/share/themes

Screenshot for left-pointing minimize button

(edit) If you don't want to change system files, or you are a user in a shared desktop and thus can't/don't want affect other users, you can download this file instead. After you will extract the file, put two folders Ambiance and Radiance (or each you want) under the path:


– if it doesn't exist, simply create it ("~" stands for your home folder as you may know).

This alternative doesn't need a root access.

SVG’s for Unity 7 (14.04)

Supporting displays with higher resolutions, Unity 7 have SVG’s for window buttons. This file includes SVG’s of arrow minimize buttons for both Ambiance and Radiance. It includes buttons for Dash window too.

Minimize SVG with single left-pointing arrow

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Download link no longer works – Ed Villegas Jan 7 '13 at 1:26
@EdVillegas, thanks for you mentioned. I've just corrected the link, and add an alternative as well. – AliNa Jan 14 '13 at 15:49

If anyone is still looking for these, as I was, I made a set for the Radiance (white) theme. I uploaded them here.

To use them, open a teminal and type: gksu nautilus "/usr/share/themes/Radiance"

then paste the 7 buttons into the folders unity and metacity-1 then reboot and change the theme and back to radiance. That worked for me.

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Well, there are also buttons for Radiance in my collection – if you look at the codes at the end of my answer, you can see both Ambiance and Radiance; it means it will replace buttons in both themes. – AliNa Oct 21 '12 at 14:21

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