In my quest of customizing the Ubuntu interface, I have stumbled upon a feature which seems almost impossible to change. The gnome-control-center (System Settings) window is UNRESIZABLE. If I rigt-click on the top bar, the Resize option is grayed out and the window size is fixed. I have 6 icons per row (6 personal, 6 hardware, 6 system) but there is another empty column which just hangs in there and I would like to find a way to shrink the default width of the main window.

After reading countless pages online, all answers boiled down to this solution:
* use sudo to open /usr/share/gnome-control-center/ui/shell.ui
* replace "property name="resizable">False<" with "True"
* add line property name="width_request">500
(the full explanation is here: How can I resize the System Settings window?)

Save, and.. nothing! I know this works if I increase the width, so if I say 1000 instead of 500 in width_request, the panel will extend to that width. The resize option is still unavailable, so this settings only help to increase or decrease the width, but once it gets to a certain value, the window will not shrink. It has an empty space, as if there is an invisible column there which must be displayed (see picture in the bottom link).

So yes, I can get any width value to gnome-control-center as long as it is BIGGER THAN 800px, but no less than that. I would need it to be about 700px, which would accommodate my 6 icons (categories) per row, instead of leaving a huge empty space now, as if it would wait for a 7th column to be put in, like it was by default, before I removed some of the icons I did not need.

Is there a way to decrease the gnome-control-center window width in Ubuntu 13.04 to something less than 800px, knowing that any higher values works, but not smaller than that?

See picture here:



1 Answer 1


You can try to edit the source code of "gnome-control-center".
There is a value named "UNITY_FIXED_WIDTH 850" by default.

NOTE: In this example I'm running Ubuntu 13.04 with gnome-control-center 3.6.3

1) Make sure you have enable the Source code repository

  • Open the Ubuntu Software Center
  • In the Menu Bar choose Edit -> Software Sources. Click to enable "Source code repository". Just in case I use the "Main Server" to Download.

enter image description here

2) Open a Terminal and install the necessary packages.

  • sudo apt-get install build-essential

3) Install build dependencies

  • sudo apt-get build-dep gnome-control-center

4) Create a folder to download the source code.

  • mkdir ~/Downloads/src

  • cd ~/Downloads/src

5) Download the source code.

  • apt-get source gnome-control-center

6) Edit the line 54 in the file "gnome-control-center.c". (My case I changed 850 to 650)

  • gedit gnome-control-center-3.6.3/shell/gnome-control-center.c

enter image description here

In one line would be.

  • sed -i '54s/850/650/' ~/Downloads/src/gnome-control-center-3.6.3/shell/gnome-control-center.c

7) Go to the "gnome-control-center-3.6.3" folder to build the deb packages.

  • cd gnome-control-center-3.6.3/

  • dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -uc -b

8) Now you can install the deb packages.

  • cd ..

  • sudo dpkg -i *deb

9) Finally you can logout and Login to see the changes.


enter image description here


enter image description here

Hope it helps.

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