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This is my desktop, the icon is too big. enter image description here

I tried to use

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop font "Ubuntu 9"

but the it changes only font size of the desktop icons.

I tried to use Compiz, Advance Settings and Configuration Editor but they just have font size option, not icon size option.

How to change the desktop icon size?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Does this apply to all files put on the desktop or just the one icon you're showing? If the latter, that probably means you did it accidentally. Right click the icon, then select "Restore Icon's Original Size...".

The first one, I don't know (yet) how that would happen.

Also, maybe you could try "gconf-editor." In it, go to apps>nautilus>icon_view. There's a setting for icon size there. Maybe that's what you need.

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I did it. I go to "Nautilus/Preferences/My Icon View Default", it zooms 400%. Changing it to 100% solved the problem. Thanks for the tips nautilus > icon_view. – Emerald214 Nov 27 '11 at 7:04
I am not able to find nautilus after expanding the "apps" tree. Can you guide ? – zarpio Mar 19 '15 at 11:37
@zarpio This is because you're using the newer "dconf-editor." There's really very little reason to use this anymore for the same issue. There are better GUI fixes available like from the other answers. But if you must, since the editor controls offer more minutiae, the tree in the dconf Editor for nautilus has been moved to "org/gnome/nautilus." – kelvinilla Mar 20 '15 at 7:21
  1. Right click the icon you want to resize. Select "Resize icon..."

    Screenshot of mouse hovering over "Resize icon..." option in context menu.

  2. Hold-click and drag the handles that appear over the icon to resize it.

    Screenshot of mouse dragging icon handles to make icon larger.

You can revert to the icon's default size by selecting "Restore Icon's Original Size" in the icon's right-click context menu.

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Wow, I just found out this. Really cool feature. Thanks for sharing :D – Mythul Mar 21 '15 at 14:18

just open nautilus. Go to Edit → preferences and change the percentage of the symbolview oO ... sry german "Symbolansicht" (33%, 50%, 66%, 100%, 200%)

Why ever this setting affects the size of the icons on your desktop will be a mystery forever! But that is the easiest way to resize all icons on the desktop at once without using any tool like gconf-editor....

Edit: English "Icon View Defaults" group.

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thanks, that helped – Strubbl Apr 11 '15 at 8:43

-open a folder (any folder)

-go to menu -> preferences in the file explorer,

-change default zoom level to 100%.

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Max icon size

For desktop icons, there is a default size, which could be used as maximum size if you define smaller images than this value.

Using , this value is called: org.gnome.nautilus.icon-view thumbnail-size, but under , this value is called org.mate.caja.icon-view thumbnail-size.

You could show this by running command:

$ gsettings list-recursively | grep thumbnail-size
org.mate.caja.icon-view thumbnail-size 64
org.gnome.nautilus.icon-view thumbnail-size 64

and you can alter this by running:

$ gsettings set org.mate.caja.icon-view thumbnail-size 150


$ gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.icon-view thumbnail-size 150

depending on wich desktop environment you're using.


I use a little bash to render icons for my desktop like:

home.svg ( or with a bump filter: home.png )

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?>
<svg version="1.0" xmlns=""
   width="82px" height="82px" viewBox="-1 -1 23 23" id="dfPieSvg-HOME">
  <defs id="defs4">
    <style type="text/css"><![CDATA[
      text {
         font-style:   bold; font-size:      4px; text-align:   center;
         line-height:  100%; writing-mode: lr-tb; text-anchor:  middle;
         fill:      #ffffff; fill-opacity:    .7; stroke:       none;
         font-family:  Nimbus Sans L }
      text#t1 { font-size:    6px; }
      circle { fill:         #062; color:        black; fill-opacity: 1; }
      path { fill:         #800; fill-opacity: 1 }
  <g id="layer1">
    <circle id="gC" cx="10" cy="10" r="10" />
    <path id="rP" d="M 20,10 A 10,10 0 0 1 0.86473,14.06779 L 10,10 z" />
    <text x="10" y="12.2" id="t1"><tspan x="10" y="12.2">43.3%</tspan></text>
    <text x="10" y="16.7" id="t2"><tspan x="10" y="16.7">31.4G</tspan></text>
    <text x="10" y="7" id="t3"><tspan x="10" y="7">17.8G</tspan></text>

Of course, SVG width and SVG height (82px) is computed by my script, and stay smaller than 150.

You could find the full bash script there: dfpie.tgz

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Right click on the Desktop - select 'Change Desktop Background' this brings up the 'Appearance' window, at the bottom is 'Launcher Icon Size' move the slider

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-1 there is a difference between launcher icon and desktop icon – Bleeding Fingers Sep 1 '13 at 16:53

For others who may have the same question: 1- Open 'files' (the graphical file explorer in ubuntu) 2- edit > preferences 3- under "icon view defaults" change "default zoom level" and see the effect on the items on your desktop.

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