Install GTK/Mutter Themes in Gnome Shell ~ Gnome 3 Ubuntu 11.04

  • Theming Gnome 3, not counting theming Gnome Shell, is a huge pain. It is alot more complicated than it was with Gnome 2.x. UPDATE: You can install GTK themes easier using the Gnome Tweak Tool. Check out my post about it here.

    To begin, place the theme you want to use in the /usr/share/themes/ folder.

    Install Mutter (Titlebar) theme

    To change the Gnome Shell Mutter (titlebar) theme you need to change the theme name in gconf. Press ALT + F2 and run:


    Navigate to desktop > gnome> shell > windows. Double click the “theme” value and change it to the name of the theme you want to use:

    Press ALT + F2 and run “r” to restart Gnome Shell, and apply the change.

    Install Gtk3 Themes

    To change the GTK theme in Gnome 3, you will need the Gnome Tweak Tool installed. If you do not have it already, check out my post here, or run the following command in your terminal:

    sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

    In the Gnome Tweak Tool, under Interface, select the Gtk theme to the theme you wish to use.

    While you have the Gnome Tweak Tool open, you can change the icon and cursor themes if you like.


    July 12th, 2011 | Joe Steiger | 6 Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Joe Steiger

The owner and chief editor of Ubuntu user, android fanatic, tech enthusiast, Baltimore Ravens fan,...

  • Charles Bowman

    Actually changing the mutter/metacity theme is easily done with gnome-tweak-tool.

  • I know. I will be covering that method next.

  • Charles Bowman

    Sorry, didn’t mean to jump the gun. ;-)

  • No problem. I probably should have done the easy way first.

    There is so much I want to cover, it’s just, I can only work so fast. I’ll get to everything eventually hopefully.

  • Charles Bowman

    LOL!  I already did everything the hard way, now I want to make it easy on everybody.

    It amazes me how many people still say that G-S can’t be customized.

  • I prefer the hard way. :) Makes me feel geeky.

    Yeah, gnome 3 is customizable. I think it’s great.