I was using some themes and wondered why there are two places where themes can be stored: /usr/share/themes and ~/.themes. What is the difference between those two places? In which of those should I install my themes?

2 Answers 2


The difference is that themes installed in /usr/share/themes are global, but the ones in ~/.themes are available only to the current user.

  • Does it has influence on system performance?
    – H. Najafi
    Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 12:07

By default, when you install a theme as we normally install any package, say using apt install <some-theme-package>, it is installed in /usr/share/themes. When you install a theme in this way, it makes it available to every user, but in itself this will not change the theme that is in use, for any user. Any user that wants to use this new theme, will have to select it using a tool such as gnome-tweaks. If you install it in ~/.themes, only you will be able to select it. Given this information, where you install it is your choice.

My philosophy is to install any package that I have modified or that I cannot easily find again or that I find special, perhaps not adequate for others, in my own home directory, but otherwise I see no point in polluting my own directory with standard packages that I can easily find again in public directories.

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