I'm using Gnome 3 with Ubuntu. I've manually replaced a few low resolution icons in the application menus. However, when switching between programs, some of the icons are still of low quality. Here's a screenshot. Emacs, Terminal and Chrome are fine, MATLAB apps are not, even though the MATLAB launcher is fine.

enter image description here

I'm not sure if this is related to the same problem in Unity. Also, I'm not sure if it's specific to those applications. If there's a way of fixing the icons manually (as I've been doing for the launchers), I'd accept that as an answer.

I've been trawling the Internet to try to resolve this but I really haven't come up with anything. Help appreciated and apologies if it's not Ubuntu-specific and thus off-topic.

2 Answers 2


As evident from the screenshot, the icons for Google Chrome, Terminal and Emacs are fine.

This means that the resolution of icons used in other applications is low. Hence when they are scaled to a bigger size, the quality degrades.

There is no problem in Compiz or any other package.

You can either manually replace the icons with higher resolution/scalable icons or use an icon theme.

Only for example: You can try Faenza Icon Theme. Instructions given on: http://www.liberiangeek.net/2011/11/install-and-enable-faenza-icon-theme-in-ubuntu-11-10-oneiric-ocelot/.

  • Is there a way of finding out which icon files are used in the application switcher?
    – Warrick
    Aug 21, 2012 at 9:39
  • If you're not using any icon theme, they must be stored in usr/share/themes/gnome. There are many categories (directories) based on whether a particular icon is for an application or a mimetype. You can search for the icon, and probably place the appropriate icon in the scalable or 96 subfolder. However, if the package, you want to change the icon for, is not too big I can help you.
    – green
    Aug 21, 2012 at 9:48
  • Well, what I mean is, how do I find out which particular file I need to replace? Say I wanted to replace the MATLAB switcher icons. There are only two matches for matlab anywhere in /usr/share/icons and none /usr/share/themes. Is there maybe an index for the switcher that tells it where to find the icons?
    – Warrick
    Aug 21, 2012 at 10:00
  • Sorry, that should be usr/share/icons/gnome.
    – green
    Aug 21, 2012 at 10:19
  • If the icon for matlab is located in, say, 24x24 then place an icon with same name in 128x128 and restart. Let me know, if it works, I've not tried it.
    – green
    Aug 21, 2012 at 10:24

The solution described in this post is explaining why you could get blurred (or pixelated) icons when doing alt-tab switching, and present a solution on how to solve it.

  • 1
    Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. Nov 30, 2013 at 18:36

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