I don't know what I did wrong in my Ubuntu 18.04 OS. For some reason some of my apps look like this:


This also happens to other gnome apps like pdf-reviewer and Logs. Window title, menu bar etc. are all blank, display only squares.

*Problem solved: I downloaded Google Fonts, saved them in a new folder, they can be applied system-wide, but after I did some font settings using Google Fonts it didn't work. I changed the font of Interface with Tweaks-Tool, that was what causing the problem.


3 Answers 3


Correct font permission issues, then rebuild the font cache:

find /usr/share/fonts -type f -exec sudo chmod 644 {} \;
find ~/.fonts -type f -exec sudo chmod 644 {} \;
sudo fc-cache -r -v

It seems that you configured a Font which does not include the necessary glyphs to display. With a look to your name... do you use a Chinese font?

Maybe changing the font will help you. (see Font Settings Design)

  • Yes I have Chinese font installed and added, and did some configuration with fonts. Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 10:57
  • can you change the font (may be to one with both – Chinese and latin glyphs)?
    – burghard
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 10:59
  • The link you sent helps me to figure it out. Turns out it is because I downloaded google fonts and applied them on Interface. After I changed interface font back to ubuntu fonts it works fine. Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 12:29

The 3 line previous answer doesn't work on 20.04, or at least didn't on mine. It looks like they moved the folder. I used dconf reset -f / and just reset the desktop to default.

  • Warning: This will nuke ALL settings
    – jhpratt
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 9:11

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