In Previous versions of Ubuntu, I used to go under the edit menu to set the background color of a Nautilus window. I have no idea how to do this in Ubuntu.


My problem with this new ubuntu 11.10 was the fact that i was not able to change the background color of the windows, that white color just drove me crazy; as you noticed 'appearance preferences' from the old ubuntu does not exit any more here; there is a way though (or maybe more):

Here's what you have to do to change colors in ubuntu 11.10:

Open the terminal, paste

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools



Browse to org.gnome.desktop.interface.

Locate gtk-color-scheme, don't click on it, click on the empty space on the right side to get a small box where you will paste the following:


Press enter, nothing else! The colors will change right away (this is just an example with my favourite colors).



If you wanna find your own colors, install gnome color chooser and play with the colors (the color palette will look the same as it did in 'appearance preferences in the old ubuntu) to find out the right codes (six digit hexadecimal numbers) for the ones that you like.

Once you find yours, paste the six digit code number into the right place in gtk-color-scheme and then enter again it is done.

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  • Seems this no longer works for Ubuntu 14.04 (and maybe even earlier versions). Users of 14.04 might find this answer useful: askubuntu.com/a/465968/334172 – MERose Apr 25 '15 at 23:06

For 11.04 and older

The source of this answer is this article.

Change Nautilus's Background

Many people don't know that you can change Nautilus's background to add a beautiful touch to browsing files. To change the background of a window, pane, or panel, perform the following steps:

1.Choose Edit ▸ Backgrounds and Emblems in any file manager window. The Backgrounds and Emblems dialog is displayed.


2.Click the Patterns button or the Colors button to see a list of background patterns or background colors you can use. 3. To change the background, drag a pattern or color to the desired window, pane, or panel. To reset the background, drag the Reset entry to the desired window, pane, or panel.


You can add a new pattern to the list by clicking the Add a New Pattern button when the patterns are selected. Locate an image file in the file chooser dialog and click Open. The image file will appear in the list of patterns you can use. I added an image as a new pattern and this is the result:


Editing Sidebars

To edit sidebars, you'll need some css programming features... "Gedit" your ~/.themes/nautilus.css and will find many .sidebar classes.

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  • Thats great info mate, can you also help me changing the nautilus sidebar color to a dark background ? – Kevin May 25 '12 at 18:50
  • @Kevin don't know corrlactly, just wait.... and i will find it – hingev May 25 '12 at 18:52
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    I don't really see that "Backgrounds & Emblems" Option. I did find another post about changing the color: askubuntu.com/questions/65759/… – itnet7 May 25 '12 at 18:58
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    I do not see Backgrounds and Emblems – Mitch May 25 '12 at 19:03
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    here is a solution for changing the nautilus sidebar background to a dark a color. askubuntu.com/questions/119123/… – Srinivas Gowda May 25 '12 at 19:08

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