I like Ubuntu and I don't use Windows except at office but I have always felt that every thing in Ubuntu/Gnome is a bit bigger than it should be i.e the fonts, desktop icons, the window borders and every thing else. This thing really annoys me when I am working in Eclipse. As a developer, desktop real estate is really important for me and I cant afford to waste it.

So the question is how can I make things look more like Windows i.e crispier and smaller?

I have attached the screen shot of same version of Eclipse running on Windows and Ubuntu at same resolution (1400*900)

Eclipse on Ubuntu 9.10

Eclipse on Windows 7

UPDATE: I am actually using Ubuntu 10.10 but at the time when I wrote this question I only had 9.10 machine available to me so I used it to get screen shot.

I want things to be compact, not exactly windows like. I say windows because it looks lot more space efficient and I don't like the wasted space. Also I know that I can tweak almost every aspect of GNOME seperately but I want something that can do this for me like some theme or some thing else that can later be easily undone (if I dont like it)

  • 1
    upgrade to 10.04 or 10.10 and everthing looks better.
    – Lincity
    Jan 27, 2011 at 14:57
  • 6
    Do you want it to look better, or do you want it to look more Windows? Pick one. You can't do both. ☺
    – frabjous
    Jan 27, 2011 at 16:35
  • 4
    I dont want it to look more like Windows. I want to have more space.
    – binW
    Jan 27, 2011 at 18:42

5 Answers 5


The GTK themes tend to have a lot of padding. A theme like Clearlooks compact gives Eclipse a whole new look. See here, for instance: http://martin.ankerl.com/2007/11/04/clearlooks-compact-gnome-theme/

On the other hand, you can hand-edit the files and achieve a customized look. See here: http://lj4newbies.blogspot.com/2008/02/make-your-eclipse-look-better-on-ubuntu.html

  • I will give it a try
    – binW
    Jan 27, 2011 at 18:44
  • It does save some space but fonts are still bigger and fat.
    – binW
    Jan 27, 2011 at 19:05
  • 3
    You can change fontsettings in Preferences -> Appearance -> Fonts tab Jan 27, 2011 at 19:54
  • clearlooks compact + Font DPI 82 did the trick for me
    – binW
    Jan 30, 2011 at 9:34

For font sizes and smoothing options, check the Appearance Preferences > Fonts tab. Then click on the "Details" button:

enter image description here

Play with the settings till you get what you like.

If I understand correctly, you're not really after the Windows theme. So you can keep the default gnome look, or - which most would probably prefer - try out different themes (and there are quite a few that are really good). Check out http://gnome-look.org/ and http://www.deviantart.com/. Both sites have some really good themes and other customization tools to make gnome look very different than the default.

  • 3
    Yes: Adjusting the dpi would really help in reducing the size of everything - it's one of the first things I do on a machine with ubuntu.
    – user6658
    Jan 27, 2011 at 18:55

Give a chance to Emerald, it is having a better customization engines which will allow you to have lots of themes and edit them with ease.

To install:

sudo apt-get install emerald

And to activate:

emerald --replace

You can also install fusion icon, which will allow you to manage your window managers and decorations with a click.

To install:

sudo apt-get install fusion-icon

And to activate:


Or find it in the menu under: System Tools.

BTW: There are themes which makes the windows decorations look like Windows, all versions.


Try Win2-7 Pack here: http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php/Win2-7+Pack?content=113264 which i normally install to some users if they really want to have it like that. I should warn you. It will REALLY look like Windows 7 so you might get confuse.

  • 3
    That's "wicked"...
    – Mussnoon
    Jan 27, 2011 at 15:13
  • That looks great. I will definitely give it a try.
    – binW
    Jan 27, 2011 at 18:58

To get a little more vertical space you can also try to put any menus, indicators, selectors, etc. on a single panel. I changed to using a single vertical panel just to generate space on my widescreen monitor. Vertical space is at a premium, horizontal space is abundant.

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