Is there any way to reduce the opacity/brightness of launcher icons in Ubuntu 12?

They are too vivid and colorful, which distracts me a little. Coders will know.

It wouldn't bother me if the launcher was at the bottom or on the right, but it's not possible to move the launcher since version 12.

Reducing the icons' saturation could help a lot too.


You can do this with a new tool that several users here on Ask Ubuntu have made. Its called Unity Tweak Tool. It's still in early development but it is very stable from my testing.

To install it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:freyja-dev/unity-tweak-tool-daily  
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool  

Now open the dash and search for "Unity Tweak Tool". It looks like this:

searching for unity weak tool in dash

Open it up and navigate to Launcher.

Unity Tweak Tool, main window (Overview)

From there you can:

  1. Change the transparency of the launcher

  2. Change the color of the laucnher

  3. Auto-hide the launcher

  4. Or change the background for applications (This is closest to what you want I think)

    Unity Tweak Tool, Launcher tab

Another suggestion is changing your icon theme under Icons.

Unity Tweak Tool, Icons tab

You need to note however, you can't very well change icons of other applications.

Brightness is relative, but I got them this dark:

enter image description here

For certain icons, like the software center, you might have to change the actual icon, wherever the system stores it.

  • According to this statement, omgubuntu.co.uk/2013/02/…, Unity Tweak Tool doesn't work for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, which is the version I happened to have. Can't confirm or disprove this though, the tool won't even install, says W: Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/freyja-dev/unity-tweak-tool-daily/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/binary-amd64/Packages 404 Not Found. Feb 14 '13 at 20:50
  • You're right, UTT doesn't support 12.04, only 12.10 and beta 13.04. I forgot to mention that. I'm afraid this won't help then unless you upgrade.
    – Seth
    Feb 14 '13 at 20:55
  • But can the tool really make launcher icons less bright by changing their opacity level or by other means, or does it only affect the launcher's background, like CompizConfig and MyUnity do? Feb 14 '13 at 21:00
  • No, that itself is not possible. It would require manually editing each icon. The closest you can get is changing the launcher's opacity, changing the "backlight" or background and changing icon sets. You might consider looking at this Q/A.
    – Seth
    Feb 14 '13 at 21:12
  • 1
    Nah, no one's talking about changing actual icons here, just their opacity/brightness. Feb 14 '13 at 21:23

With MyUnity (http://www.uielinux.org/myunity) you can change these settings for the launcher:

  1. color
  2. transparency
  3. icon size
  4. icon "backlights"
  5. hide animation
  6. behavior by default (auto-hide or not)
  7. show device icons

Themes and icon themes can be also changed.

Check the demos in their webpage.

edit: Perhaps the best strategy is to adjust the appearance of the launcher (backlights, auto-hide, color) and select a more pleasing icon theme (any suggestion?).

  • Only affects the launcher's background... Feb 14 '13 at 21:00
  • Indeed, it affects the launcher's background, including the inside (¿transparent?) area of each app button. I don't remember the default setting for 12.04, but turning off the "backlights" might help diminish the discomfort expressed in the question.
    – carnendil
    Feb 14 '13 at 21:15
  • The "backlight" advice was actually helpful, thanks. But it's only a side-kick.. Feb 14 '13 at 22:21

You could just use the gnome/unity tweak tools to autohide/dodge the launcher, therefore not having to stare it in the face constantly~

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