I would like to know where the image files for the Ambiance theme's buttons can be found. (The buttons that are used for dialong boxes and the like; not the window control buttons.)

I've tried /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-2.0/, but that doesn't contain a "buttons" folder like the normal themes do.
I've tried to puzzle out the gtkrc file, but to no avail.

Yes, I know you can just use a screenshot, but not for the purpose I need. (I need the correctly antialiased transparent edges.)
If somebody could explain to me where I might find those files, I would much appreciate it.

  • If the buttons are rendered using a set of hexidecimal colors, I just want somebody to tell me the hex names, and how, exactly, the button is rendered. Jan 23, 2013 at 2:43
  • Do you mean icons for apps or the buttons that appear in the title bar such as the minimize, maximize, and close buttons? If you edit your question to make that clear, it may help.
    – user25656
    Jan 23, 2013 at 3:21
  • @vasa1 Oops, I meant the normal orange/grey buttons, not the windows close buttons. Thanks for reminding me to clarify that! Jan 23, 2013 at 4:19

2 Answers 2


These buttons are rendered on-the-fly by the theme engine (Murrine for GTK+2, Unico for GTK+3, both created by Andrea Cimitan). There are no images.

But if you need to generate vectorized images of GTK+3 widgets, you can use the gtk-vector-screenshot tool.


Finding default icons used by themes

Most of the icons used in themes are part of icon sets, not the themes themselves. You can use any icon set with any theme.

To find the default icons for use with Ambiance:

1) View as text: /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/index.theme

You will see ubuntu-mono-dark listed as the default.

2) Go to /usr/share/icons/ubuntu-mono-dark

If you browse around the directories, you will Unity specific icons, but not the general application icons.

3) View as text: /usr/share/icons/ubuntu-mono-dark/index.theme

This line Inherits=Humanity-Dark,gnome,hicolor points to the icons.

You can ignore hicolor, which is for accessibility, but the application icons you are looking for are in /usr/share/icons/Humanity-Dark and 'usr/share/icons/gnome`

Most of the application icons will be in /usr/share/icons/Humanity-Dark/apps and usr/share/icons/gnome/apps

Themes for Buttons in Dialogs and Similar Objects

These elements are usually called widgets. The creation and use of widgets in code is controlled by a GUI framework. The two most common in Ubuntu are GTK and Qt, but there are others. Widget frameworks allow the programmer to essentially tell the program to, say, show a dialog with confirmation buttons and to then forget about what the buttons will look like because the GUI framework library handles all of that.

Information about how to style widgets is handled through various combinations of CSS files and XML files in the Gtk theme.

The screen shot you included had a a Gedit save dialog, which is a Gtk application.

I'm running 12.10, so the paths and actual files you find may be slightly different, but in /usr/share/themes/Ambiance where you were before, you want to look mostly in the gtk-3.0 directory.

The main files you want are:


and settings.ini, which gives the default color scheme.

These files will have the color and other information that you are looking for. They may not be easy to interpret, but there is documentation on Gnome interface design and on Gnome theming that may help.

I'm not sure what your ultimate purpose is, but if you are creating an application you can easily use Gtk widgets through a interface designer like Glade and let Gtk do all the work for you.

  • Your answer did not solve my problem at all. The button icons are not present at all ANYwhere in /usr/share/icons OR (as I just now discovered,) /usr/share/themes/. In fact, the folder /usr/share/icons/gnome/ that you referred to doesn't even exist. Jan 23, 2013 at 4:18
  • Each setup can be be a little different, especially since we may all have different themes installed. I'm sorry you haven't found what you need yet. I'm still not sure I understand which icons you need. Do you think you could post a screen shot so I can see them? Also, what version of Ubuntu are you running?
    – chaskes
    Jan 25, 2013 at 7:29
  • The "normal" buttons - imgur.com/bAGSClW Also, I'm running Ubuntu 12.04 Jan 25, 2013 at 14:34

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