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I want to change an icon of a specific theme. Where do themes save their icons?

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5 Answers 5

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Globally: /usr/share/icons/ or in your home folder : ~/.local/share/icons

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/usr/share/icons/ typically contains pre-installed themes (shared by all users) ~/.icons/ typically contains folders with the themes installed by the user.

Also, many applications have their icons in /usr/share/pixmaps/ or in the folder with the same name as the application under /usr/share/...

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  • 1
    I appreciate the mention of /usr/share/pixmaps/, that's more generic if you're copying icons for a specific application. Dec 29, 2016 at 14:44
  • @ryanpcmcquen Thanks, and yes, the accepted answer is quite limited, especially mentioning non-standard locations while missing standard ones.
    – Vadim
    Jan 10, 2017 at 8:35
  • @Vadim Are you shure that you did not create ~/.icons/ yourself? I never heard about that folder before. Jun 28, 2021 at 16:53
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    @JoKalliauer, check askubuntu.com/a/476710/879600, looks like it comes from freedesktop
    – manus
    Mar 31 at 3:21
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There are several places: (in bracets some examples)

  • /usr/share/pixmaps/ ( chromium-browser.png display-im6.q16.xpm firefox.png flash-player-properties.png gimp.xpm gvim.svg texstudio.xpm )
  • /usr/share/app-install/icons/ ( adobeflashplugin.png julia.svg texmaker.png thunderbird.png vim.svg vlc.png wine.svg grace.svg)
  • ~/.local/share/icons/ ( soffice.png java-lang-thread.png org-jabref-jabrefmain.png) one of the places where Ubuntu searches for icons, if you use relative path
  • /usr/share/icons/... and subfolders ( matlab.png .../hicolor/scalable/apps/chromium-browser.svg .../hicolor/scalable/apps/geany.svg .../hicolor/scalable/apps/okular.svgz .../default.kde4/48x48/apps/acroread.png)
  • /usr/share/... just subfolders ( .../vlc/vlc.ico .../gimp/2.0/images/gimp-logo.png ) but this one is more for icons used in the program that the logo of the program
  • /snap/... just subfolders ( .../inkscape/3080/meta/gui/inkscape.svg .../languagetool/10/snap/gui/icon.png )
  • ~/.icons related to freedesktop.org (source1, source2 )

Most of the folders are already announced here, all sources I used:

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As a supplementary for the accepted answer: If you don't find the ~/.icons directory, there may be a ~/.local/share/icons directory instead (PS: My distro is Ubuntu 16.10).

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  • I never saw icon stored in .local/icons and recognized
    – Anwar
    May 5, 2020 at 15:28
  • @Anwar It's a typo. Updated. May 7, 2020 at 13:04
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To add to some of the answers here:

The freedesktop.org standard requires programs to look for icons in multiple folders in this order:

  1. $HOME/.icons (for backwards compatibility)
  2. $XDG_DATA_DIRS/icons, which typically just means ~/.local/share/icons.
  3. /usr/share/pixmaps

So if you want a custom icon, your best bet is to find the icon name in /usr/share/pixmaps, and then create an image with that same file name in ~/.local/share/icons.

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