(similar problem to one in a question I had before, but I need multiple solutions, and I felt they were better organized as separate questions)

Upgrading from 11.04 to 11.10 did away with my themes, without warning me. And I can't find any themes online. I'm not enjoying Ambiance, or Radiance, or any of the ones offered by default. I found a couple that I kind of like online, but they're not quite right. Instead of looking for somebody who coincidentally came up with the perfect theme for me, I'd like to find something close, and edit a few pieces to fit my tastes.

Particularly... I don't like gray. I get why sometimes you wand a bit less contrast, but most of the time, gray just makes me unhappy. So I want to give my theme much more contrast in colors, with perhaps some shade of blue where I feel actual color is necessary. These sorts of edits were simple enough back in 11.04. I can't find a way to make them in 11.10.

I can't seem to find any way to customize the themes. I really want to customize my themes. This is Ubuntu. I know I can. What's the simplest way for me to do it?

  • Duplicate of askubuntu.com/q/61567/22537?
    – danjjl
    Oct 18, 2011 at 19:45
  • 5
    This is not a duplicate. I am not asking how to install custom themes here. I am asking how I can customize my themes. That is, change a color, for example. Particularly, I'm looking to see if there is a GUI interface for such actions. This is not the same question as the one that has been linked.
    – Daniel
    Oct 18, 2011 at 21:31
  • You wanted to make a GTK and metacity theme ?
    – daisy
    Oct 24, 2011 at 1:31
  • I would rather not make one, but edit one that already exists. And I'd rather have a gui interface to edit it, and not have to learn a markup language and edit text files.
    – Daniel
    Oct 25, 2011 at 19:04
  • I edited your question a bit (for clarity), let me know if it's okay.
    – RolandiXor
    Oct 26, 2011 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


I copied a the theme from /usr/share/themes that is close to fit my needs to /home/user/.themes. After copying the folder I removed the settings for the window-managers that I don't use. Now I used that copy to edit the appearance of the theme.

I changed the gnome-shell.css file in the folder of the specific window-manager. (here gnome-shell folder of course) So far I played around with the size of the icons and their spacing in the application overview. The file itself has a few comments which hint to functionality and to the purpose of the parameters. Just look there and play around... if you mess it up just replace it by the original theme. Hope that at least leads into the right direction.

  • Thamks. I mostly got it to work. There's an odd red glow around some input boxes, even though there's no red anywhere in the stylesheet I made, but it's at least significantly better than before.
    – Daniel
    Oct 27, 2011 at 0:43
  • NOOO! My minesweeper theme still involves lots of gray.... and so do context menus in programs other than unity itself. Crap. I need to find more of these css files, buried somewhere, and figure out what I'm doing wrong...
    – Daniel
    Oct 28, 2011 at 3:56

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