I have been using the default Ubuntu 11.10 with Unity for some time now and decided to start customizing it.

I have already been able to make some changes with the gnome-tweak-tool. However, there are many themes that I get from gnome-look.org that don't appear in the gnome-tweak-tool even after putting them in the /usr/share/themes folder.

Any idea why this is happening? Thanks.

  • Have you placed the Themes correctly? i.e. Theme_Name>Gtk 2,3 metacity-1 folders. Feb 5, 2012 at 16:18
  • i believe so. i used the command cp -rf ThemeName /usr/share/themes
    – nunos
    Feb 5, 2012 at 16:28
  • Take a look at the folder, and check the folder structure is correct. Feb 5, 2012 at 16:29
  • i have confirmed that i am copying the files for the right destination folder. but in /usr/share/themes, i have around 60 folders and on the gnome-tweak-tool i get very little themes
    – nunos
    Feb 5, 2012 at 16:38
  • Which themes aren't working?, try moving them to your home folder see if that works. Feb 5, 2012 at 16:59

3 Answers 3


How to install themes in Ubuntu:

When you download a theme for Ubuntu this come compressed into a .tar.gz file almost always. What you have to do is:

  1. Run the terminal Ctrl+Alt+T
  2. Enter cd ~ && mkdir .themes
    This command will create a .themes folder in your personal folder. The dot is necessary
  3. Enter cp files_path ~/.themes
    Replace files_path with the directory where are your zipped files. This command copy the compressed files into this folder.
  4. Enter cd ~/.themes && tar xvzf PACKAGENAME.tar.gz
    Replace PACKAGENAME with the name of the file. This command will unzip the theme file into the new folder.
  5. Enter gnome-tweak-tool

Finally will appears the tweak window (similar as the following) and you'll see the themes that you've previously copy in the themes folder and will be able to choice them!


For future themes, omit the second step


I installed a few themes from gnome-look.org

The site uses a special URL scheme. The URL handler comes in a package named ocs-url. Here are the instructions for installing the URL handler on linux-apps.com.

However, the installation method described on this site has an issue: it marks the dependencies as manually installed.

Therefore I recommend the following method instead.

My method will ensure that, when you uninstall ocs-url, its dependencies will be automatically uninstalled as well.

First download the ocs-url Debian package, then (filename and directory name might differ):

cd ~/Downloads
sudo dpkg -i ocs-url_3.1.0-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb
sudo apt-get install --fix-broken

Once this is done, all you have to do is click on install links on gnome-look.org and them click "OK" and the themes will be installed in ~/.themes.

Restart the Tweaks tool and your new themes should be available.

Tested on Debian.

  • 1
    Do I need to restart only after installing the deb file or each time I have to restart after installing new themes? Btw this works perfectly on my Ubuntu 18.4 Jun 26, 2019 at 10:32
  • @PratikSaluja Restarting the tweak tool was enough
    – Rolf
    Jun 26, 2019 at 12:56

I had the same problem when placing themes in /usr/share/themes. You need to make sure the permissions are set correctly.

Right click on the folder of your theme and select properties, go to the permissions tab and set it like this:

Image of Permissions

Now go back to gnome tweak tool and your theme should be there. Alternatively, you could create ~/.theme and put your theme in there.

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