I know how to set and display most themes, however I can find anything about how to turn the Global Dark Theme on and off through Terminal, I can only find the option in the gnome-tweak-tool. So is there not a way to turn it on and off through Terminal? I am running Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 with GNOME 3.18.


2 Answers 2


To set the global dark theme from the command line, first navigate to a Terminal of your choice and then from within the shell emulator ...

Navigate to your home directory:

 cd ~

Create a new file called settings.ini inside of the GTK 4 directory:

 nano ~/.config/gtk-4.0/settings.ini

Enter the following fields into the configuration file:


Write the changes to disk by pressing control + x, then press y, then enter.

  • 1
    I did it, but didn't work...
    – Guilherme
    Feb 24, 2019 at 14:51
  • Well, you need to leave way more information than that if you want help! @Guilherme
    – oemb1905
    Feb 24, 2019 at 16:33
  • 2
    Confirmed that even on Ubuntu 18.04, ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini has no effect on "dark mode" (rebooted after change as well to restart display manager).
    – tresf
    Jun 3, 2019 at 16:40
  • 2
    @tresf's comments are useful to others (hi!) since they at least mention an alternative solution to get a dark theme on Ubuntu. In contrast, this answer isn't useful to anybody anymore, assuming nobody runs the deprecated Ubuntu 15. Please update your answer to mention that this doesn't work for Ubuntu 16.04 and above (it's a conditional subjective) Apr 30, 2020 at 9:57
  • 1
    @RobinMétral in case the GTK version was the source of confusion, it is now changed.
    – oemb1905
    Apr 30, 2020 at 20:59

For modern Gnome desktops:

  • Tested: Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04; Fedora 27, 32, 36 enter image description here

Default dark mode:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface gtk-theme 'Adwaita-dark'

# Fedora 36 and above
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface color-scheme 'prefer-dark'

Default light mode:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface gtk-theme 'Adwaita'

# Fedora 36 and above
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface color-scheme 'default'

Getting a list of available base theme names:

ls -d /usr/share/themes/* |xargs -L 1 basename


Ideally, a technique to invoke gnome-tweak-tool through CLI would cover most scenarios holistically. Gnome-tweak-tool is written in python3, so this should be theoretically possible to someone familiar with Python.

Fedora 36 introduced a new preference, color-scheme that is required to change theme for some apps (files, settings, software, …) and gtk-theme doesn’t work anymore for these apps.

  • Nothing "modern" here, just use Gnome's gsettings tool to edit the configuration files instead of a text editor.
    – oemb1905
    Jun 17, 2021 at 17:44
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    This worked GREAT with Firefox. I used /usr/bin/gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface gtk-theme 'Adwaita-dark' to automatically set dark mode near sunset. askubuntu.com/questions/742870/…
    – Ray Foss
    Aug 7, 2021 at 19:07
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    @Victor perhaps this? reddit.com/r/i3wm/comments/kiy0v0/comment/gngcb5r/…. Just a guess though. I would strongly recommend you start a new question so that users running i3 can work together to find out a solution.
    – tresf
    Mar 9, 2022 at 2:42
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    Follow up: I noticed this message went away when I switched from flatpak to package version of dconf-editor, even though the flatpak had access to all system libraries and gsettings-desktop-schemas is installed. But anyway, package version seems to "like" 'prefer-dark' just fine, flatpak might be working despite error message but not sure (nothing changed other than changing out flatpak for package). May 24, 2022 at 7:19
  • 1
    this answer is better than the accepted one. Love it.
    – xdavidliu
    Sep 3, 2022 at 21:24

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